Mike Hazen has been handicapped by irresponsible contracts handed out from past regimes ever since he has taken over GM duties in Arizona. This year for the first time he’ll have a little bit of financial breathing room and a strong farm system, so it’ll be interesting to see how he uses these newfound resources at his disposal.
His best moves in the past have typically come from making trades, timely extensions and value signings, so now that he will have a chance to add at least a couple mid-to-high level impact players via free agency it’ll be interesting to see what type of player(s) he targets.
This is a team that is very young but are coming off an 85 win season so making a playoff run and improving off last season should be the ultimate goal all while keeping financial flexibility for the future.
Here are five realistic moves I’d like to see them make this offseason.
#1: Trade for Starling Marte
I’m not sure what exactly Pittsburgh would want in return for their 31-year-old all-star outfielder, but he would be a terrific fit in this Diamondbacks offense. A lineup that features Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Starling Marte at the top of the order would be potent.
Starling has 2 years left on his contract (assuming his team option is picked up) so it wouldn’t be a huge financial burden long-term or anything either. The Dbacks farm system is considered top 8 or so by many, so I’m sure they could find a way to put together a strong enough offer to entice the Pirates into trading their star as they enter a rebuild.
#2: If they fail to acquire Starling Marte, sign Avisail Garcia.
The Dbacks priority this offseason needs to be adding some outfield help, so as you can so my first two priorities were figuring that out, then going from there. Mookie Betts is another option I’d love, but I don’t think Hazen would want to destroy the farm system he worked so hard to build up along with paying Mookie the monster contract extension that would follow.
Giving Avisail Garcia a one year “prove it” type of deal in a hitter-friendly park could benefit both sides. Garcia could secure (more or less) $10-12 million + incentives on a one year deal and bet on himself to have a breakout year in the desert then go get rewarded next offseason in free agency. I’d be willing to give Garcia a two year deal as well, as he’s still just 28 years old. Garcia– when healthy — has proven to be one of the better hitting outfielders in baseball these last few years, but his track record of health is certainly up and down. Either way, this would be a good gamble and something I can see Hazen getting on board with.
#3: Stack the pen: Sign Steve Chisek and Daniel Hudson to 2 year deals each.
From what I’ve learned from Mike Hazen over the years is that he isn’t into overpaying relievers and looks more towards finding reclamation projects or steady veterans that may lack upside, but have a track-record of getting the job done.
Chisek and Hudson both fit the mold of being the steady veteran bullpen arms that won’t dominate, but offer value and can get you outs late in games when you need them. Bringing Daniel Hudson back home would have some sentimental value as well, as he was a fan favorite in his time in Arizona, and coming off a World Series run I’m sure he’d enjoy coming back home (he lives here during the offseason).
#4: Sign utilityman Brock Holt to a 1 year contract.
This one isn’t a headliner by any means, but Holt makes a ton of sense for the Dbacks and offers them some versatility around the diamond as he plays a million positions. This wouldn’t be a sexy move and it’s not even something I’d do, but more-so what I’m predicting them to do with the Boston-connection.
#5: Don’t give out another Greinke-type contract.
I doubt this is something Hazen even entertains after finally getting rid of Zack Greinke and it should go without saying, but that’s the last thing this team needs right now. I’ll keep this segment short since it’s probably not something I have to worry about Mike Hazen doing.
Adding one of Marte/Garcia to solidify the outfield, Holt to fill some depth/versatility needs and Chisek and Hudson to strengthen the bullpen would overall be considered a successful offseason in my opinion.
In doing this, you are also keeping that flexibility open to make a splash at the trade deadline if they are in striking distance.