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Thoughts from Newsmakers Week Day 1: Hazen and Chayka speak

Coyotes general manager John Chayka (left) and Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen crossed paths during Doug & Wolf's Newsmakers Week on 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station on Monday, February 12, 2018. (Photo: Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

Newsmakers Week 2018! It’s the ninth straight year and 10th overall on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Every day this week I’ll give you a quick rundown of my thoughts on the comments of each guest throughout the week. Arizonasports.com is the place to go for a more complete rundown of the exact quotes from each newsmaker.

(Click on links to listen to each interview)

MIKE HAZEN

To be fair, I may change my tune five years from now because sustained success in professional sports is nearly impossible, but it’s very difficult to sit in a room with Mike Hazen and not believe in his vision.

He’s a former minor league player so he knows the dynamic of a positive clubhouse and has seen what selfish cancers can do. On the other side, he’s a heavy analytic disciple of World Series champion Theo Epstein. Very few GMs can marry both dimensions of the sport. Hazen does.

My big takeaway from the Hazen conversation was his comments on Paul Goldschmidt. The D-backs do not need to pay him. Too many fans think Goldy is getting the wrong end of the deal. That’s totally false. By baseball’s CBA, Goldy was actually paid more than his worth early in the contract. The D-backs could have waited years before offering him a long-term contract. They offered it early to Goldschmidt and Goldy accepted because he wanted that certainty of knowing it will be years before he ever has to worry about a contract.

What made Hazen’s comments so strong is the length he went to describing Goldy’s worth to the organization. General managers rarely gush that strongly on any player closing in on the end of a contract. They usually prefer to use their “right to remain silent.” Any strong praise from a GM is normally used by the agent during negotiations. Fans and media will use Hazen’s words against him if Goldy ever plays in a different uniform. A GM isn’t saying words that strongly if he’s afraid to lose him.

This is completely putting words into someone’s mouth, but I believe Mike Hazen will make sure he’s not the reason Paul Goldschmidt ever plays somewhere else.

JOHN CHAYKA

I liked our time with Chayka. He’s not someone I’ve spent a lot of time with so I was interested in getting to know him. When he first started in Phoenix, he was pretty busy so we didn’t talk much. To be honest, I haven’t reached out much in the last seven months. I’m still pretty bitter about the “dumping Doan breakfast.” It was good to have him in studio. I haven’t totally moved on from what happened last summer, but if I’m ever going to get over it, more in-person meetings are a good thing.

Chayka stuck to the rebuild mantra he’s been articulating throughout his tenure. The problem is fans feel like the rebuild has been going on for five years, but Chayka has only been totally in charge for the last eight months. I can look at the number and agree eight months aren’t long enough to judge Chayka. However, I still believe when you move on from Shane Doan and Dave Tippett, in the manner they did, you’ve destroyed any honeymoon period.

Chayka used the Maple Leafs as an example. He said Toronto never completely accepted the rebuild efforts and were always middling just under the playoff radar. Once they accepted that the young guys need to play and grow together, Toronto was able to move up to a Wild Card team and now the Leafs are a few points away from home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Chayka said they can’t and won’t shortcut the process. Logically, I accept what he’s saying. I actually agree with it, but probably like you, I’m tired of hearing it.

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