Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen addressed the team’s general plans for the July 30 trade deadline this morning with 98.7 FM Arizona Sports (h/t to Zach Buchanan of the Athletic). Unsurprisingly, he confirmed the 20-48 club has been fielding offers from contenders with the trade deadline coming up.
The Diamondbacks will almost certainly move some veteran players for younger talent in the coming weeks, but Hazen didn’t sound as if he felt the club needed to embark on a full rebuild. He pushed back against characterizing the organization’s approach to the deadline as akin to “open season” and reiterated his belief in the long-term potential of the club’s young, controllable position players. Hazen acknowledged that, given their standing at the bottom of the league, the D-Backs aren’t “in a position to say ’never’ to anything” but quickly added the front office is hoping to “anchor” around a group of core players moving forward.
Asdrúbal Cabrera and Eduardo Escobar look extremely likely to wind up elsewhere before the July 30 trade deadline. The same could be true of fellow impending free agents Stephen Vogt and Joakim Soria, although neither has been especially productive this season. Arizona has also reportedly taken offers on corner outfielder David Peralta, who is under contract through 2022.
Kole Calhoun, controllable via $9MM club option next season, is a plausible trade candidate if he continues to produce once he returns from the injured list. Starter Merrill Kelly is having a bit of a down year but he’s affordable enough (due the balance of a $4.25MM salary this season, with a $5.25MM club option for 2022) to draw some interest. The same is true of swingman Caleb Smith, controllable via arbitration through 2023.
Given Hazen’s comments, it seems more likely the Diamondbacks move those complimentary types rather than part with highly-performing, controllable players like Ketel Marte, Carson Kelly and Josh Rojas. Hazen wouldn’t definitively rule out a deal involving any of that trio (baseball operations leaders don’t tend to think in such absolutes) but his desire to “anchor” around a group of young, productive big leaguers suggests the D-Backs aren’t looking to tear the roster to the studs.
With the deadline approaching, Hazen told 98.7 FM the D-Backs expect to add veteran executive Allard Baird to their baseball operations department in the coming days. Baird spent the early portion of his career in Kansas City, where he ascended to general manager in 2000. He was let go after six seasons as Royals GM but quickly found a role in the Red Sox front office. Baird spent more than a decade in Boston, where he overlapped with Hazen and D-Backs assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye. Most recently, Baird spent the past two seasons with the Mets, but he departed amidst the New York organization’s ownership and front office shakeup last winter.
Hazen took a physical leave of absence from the team last week to spend more time with his family while his wife Nicole battles brain cancer. He remains in consultation with the rest of the front office, with Sawdaye taking control over day-to-day baseball operations. Baird will help shoulder the workload as the club tries to bring back the best possible returns for some of their veteran players.