D-backs mull options at Winter Meetings, Yanks reportedly eye Corbin
A bit is known about the Arizona Diamondbacks at the opening of the MLB Winter Meetings on Monday.
The front office led by general manager Mike Hazen doesn’t have an exorbitant payroll at its fingertips. That means it’s unlikely the D-backs can retain free agent slugger J.D. Martinez.
Forgetting that, limitations remain in considering the need to shore up the bullpen, the outfield depth and the catching rotation after Chris Iannetta left in free agency.
In short, Arizona needs to be frugal but has holes to fill if it wishes to remain in contention. Remember, the team will need to pay Paul Goldschmidt in two years.
During interviews Monday night with reporters at the Winter Meetings, Hazen expressed the need to think outside the box, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.
“I think we’re semi-open-minded to that we’re going to have to be creative for the long term,” Hazen said. “That means we may have to consider some things that you wouldn’t necessarily consider if you were putting all your eggs into 2018.”
Hazen isn’t giving off many clues to how he’ll act, but he’s looking at all options.
While it’s seemingly quiet on that front, there are reports circling about the D-backs’ free agents — and players like Patrick Corbin, who along with A.J. Pollock will be the biggest hit to the team’s payroll and is projected to receive upwards of $8 million through arbitration.
YANKEES HAVE CORBIN ON RADAR
The New York Yankees, fresh off trading for Giancarlo Stanton, are looking to shore up their rotation, and Corbin is on their radar, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
There is no rumored interest in making a deal from Arizona’s end, as Hazen told reporters that he anticipated Corbin and Pollock will be with the D-backs in 2018.
The Diamondbacks may be open to parting with a starter thanks to last year’s emergence of Zack Godley, and if they believe Shelby Miller can recover from Tommy John surgery. New York offering young prospects or rotation players to plug Arizona’s several holes could make a trade appealing.
That’s a lot of ifs.
TEAMS INTERESTED IN MIDDLE INFIELDERS
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that, in addition to the Yankees’ interest in Corbin, teams are calling about the availability of Arizona’s middle infielders.
One can assume that includes the shortstop position, where Arizona has options in Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte.
It was Marte who finished the year starting at shortstop after injuries struck Owings and Ahmed. At 24 years old, Marte is the youngest and by slashing .260/.345/.395 showed flashes of producing at the plate and on defense.
Owings, 26, hit a career-high 12 home runs and 51 RBI despite playing just 97 games, while the 27-year-old Ahmed is the best of the three manning the infield. He also put together career-best batting numbers, producing a .251/.298/.419 slash line.
THE LATEST ON J.D.
The Martinez sweepstakes hadn’t quite kicked up yet at the start of the week, and the D-backs remained in consideration to keep their outfielder if at all possible.
“We’re staying engaged in the entire market as best we can,” Hazen told MLB Network when asked if they remain in the running to keep Martinez. “We’re looking for every opportunity we can to get better.”
“We’re staying engaged in the entire market as best we can.” – @Dbacks GM Mike Hazen on free agent J.D. Martinez #MLBNHotStove pic.twitter.com/gXHlBRryDP
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) December 11, 2017
FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Monday that the D-backs believe they won’t come out on the winning side, however, if they get involved in a bidding war for Martinez.
Heyman reported Tuesday that he is expected to meet with the Red Sox.
BULLPEN A FOCUS
Forty-year-old free agent closer Fernando Rodney, whose 12.60 ERA in April marred an otherwise strong season, is in Florida speaking with teams about his options, reports Heyman.
The Twins and Rangers are also interested, per Heyman.
The Diamondbacks have been tied to other relievers as they look to continue adding to the bullpen after trading for Brad Boxberger in November.
Arizona is one of several teams that inquired about reliever Brandon Kintzler, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. A first-time All-Star in 2017, the 33-year-old recorded a 3.46 ERA with 29 saves last year — 28 were with the Twins before he took on a setup role after being traded to the Nationals.
Kintzler was reportedly an interest of the D-backs before that trade.
FanRag’s Robert Murray reports the D-backs have also expressed interest in 35-year-old reliever Seung Hwan Oh, who recorded a 2.13 ERA two years ago but struggled with a 4.10 ERA last season with the St. Louis Cardinals.