D-Backs “open-minded” to all possibilities of commercial deadlines
With 10 days to the no-waiver trade deadline, Diamondbacks have fewer questions about their status as buyers or sellers than they did when preparing for a recent deadline. They also seem open to more possibilities, i.e. in terms of who they might deal with, who they might acquire and what that might mean for the trajectory of the organization.
In a meeting with reporters on Tuesday, Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen appeared to avoid making many grandiose statements. He didn’t rule out much either, leaving open the possibility, for example, of moving one of his main players or even taking a step back from the organization’s membership in trying to field a competitor every year.
“We have to be open to all possibilities because of our current position,” Hazen said. “The idea that we’re one player away from catching the Giants just isn’t true. We need to be open-minded to whatever lies ahead. “
The players most likely to be moved are probably the same as usual. That is, the impending free agents – notably infielder Eduardo Escobar. But Hazen also mentioned how most teams’ approach to the deadline has changed over the years, to the point that while there may still be buyers and sellers, there are Also has a growing number of teams doing a little of both, clubs that see the week ahead and more as one of the few times during the year that roster redesign is possible.
“I think you see the 30 clubs really involved in a lot of different things,” Hazen said.
Under Hazen’s leadership, the Diamondbacks tended to target advanced prospects or young majors when they were handing out veterans. This was particularly the case in the big deals (Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke), but also in the more modest ones (Archie Bradley). But Hazen now seems more willing to accept prospects at different points in their careers, saying this kind of approach could allow them to “take out, in any deal, as much value as possible.”
“The further you get away from (the majors) the more access you sometimes have to more players,” Hazen said. “We will be attentive to the location of our system. We will be attentive to where the major league club is located. But I think trying to improve our talent base as much as possible will be the goal. “
He didn’t give the impression that the Diamondbacks were entirely likely to move a baseman – think Ketel Marte, Zac Gallen or Carson Kelly – by saying that while teams do ask about these players, ” I wouldn’t really say this is very serious. conversation at this point with anyone. And although he said the team had to be “open-minded”, he also said it was important to “anchor yourself around certain players”.
“So that means we’re not just looking to make massive changes to the whole roster,” Hazen said, “but we have to be open-minded about what the next (winning) team will look like and how we’re getting there as quickly as possible.
As for how long that could happen, that was something Hazen didn’t want to address, a noticeable change in approach from the past. For years, the Diamondbacks have tried to “spin the needle” by fielding competing clubs and rebuilding their farming system at the same time. Things did not go as planned this year; just as the Diamondbacks have weakened over the past two years – they entered Tuesday with the worst majors record at 28-68 – the National League West became increasingly competitive, the San Francisco Giants and Padres de San Diego becoming legitimate contenders.
“I’m not ready to answer that question at this deadline,” Hazen said, when asked if he still expects to try to compete next year. “I’ll get back to you at the end of the year. What we do at this time could have an impact on this issue. “
Hazen was also asked about the status of manager Torey Lovullo, whose job security is in question as he completes the final year of his contract. Hazen seemed to be more inclined to take the blame from a list-building standpoint, saying it was “hard for me to figure this out on just one thing.”
“I think when I watch us play in the bullpen when the moves have all been done correctly, it comes back to me,” Hazen said. “We need to do an assessment of what we’ve done with a baseball operation and from a talent acquisition perspective and how it all comes together. Given the depth of our current situation, we’re going to take a step back at the end of the season and take a close look at everything we do. “
Hazen said he knew Lovullo and the coaching staff put the right things first, but had no answer as to why this had not translated consistently into matches, in particularly from a defensive point of view.
“It’s the execution part that we need to understand more than anything else, in my opinion,” Hazen said.
Center fielder Ketel Marte’s follow-up MRI exam on his left hamstring “looked good,” Lovullo said. Marte is expected to step up his running and baseball activities in the coming days.
* The Diamondbacks selected left-hander Alex Young at Triple-A Reno to open a berth on the roster for Tuesday night starter Taylor Widener.
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