D-backs’ Hazen walks tightrope in trades; Shelby Miller not written off
PHOENIX — Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen saw the Los Angeles Dodgers upgrade their lineup and bullpen before the MLB trade deadline on Tuesday. He saw other Wild Card contenders push into the playoff race full bore.
None of that, he said, changed Arizona’s tightrope walk that shared the same philosophies as the competition.
If it costs something to continue improving during a successful season, so be it.
The D-backs followed earlier trades to fortify the lineup with Steven Souza Jr., Jon Jay and Eduardo Escobar by adding bullpen-bolstering relievers Matt Andriese, Jake Diekman and Brad Ziegler in the last week. Even though the price points of four of those six key players were reduced because they will be free agents after 2018, the hit to the farm system is noticeable.
It’s a tightrope act of committing to a playoff push while retaining enough talent deep in the farm system.
“Accomplishing all those things is maybe not the best approach, trying to do all those things at once. But you also have to recognize who you are, and we feel like we’re in a pretty good spot,” Hazen said Tuesday after a busy MLB trade deadline.
“I think that’s the tricky part of building long-term sustainability and balancing the short-term, current situation. I think it’s our job to do all those things at the same time. I don’t think we’re ever not going to be in that situation.”
Hazen said Arizona’s pricey investment of upgrading the bullpen was just that balancing act for a team that also considered an upgrade for its rotation. While starting pitchers were dealt at the deadline, the team didn’t feel dipping into its top prospects was the wisest move for the long-term plan.
“We made some bets. Those bets may not pay off for us but we had to make bets in certain areas,” Hazen said.
Not shutting the door on Shelby
Ever-optimistic, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo isn’t ready to wrap Shelby Miller’s 2018 season.
The starting pitcher threw four games each over the past two seasons with a year-long recovery from Tommy John surgery in between. But after he returned in 2018 and went 0-4 with an 11.40 ERA, inflammation in the same elbow looked like it’d ended his season once again.
Arizona on Tuesday placed Miller on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to July 12, which didn’t put a potential return this season out of the realm of possibility.
“He’s just going to continue to get treatment, sit in the weight room, get his work in there for the time being,” Lovullo said.
“Once everything was OK and intact when there was discomfort in there, I thought it was a safe bet to shut him down and take time to get him back to full health, and that’s where we’re at right now.”
Lovullo even discussed the possibility of Miller having a role — starting or out of the bullpen — if he’s able to return to form.
“If we need him as a reliever, if we need him as a starter, I’m sure he’s going to transition to whatever we want him to,” Lovullo said. “It has been a frustrating year for him, but it’s not a lost year.”
Other injury notes
– Results of a second evaluation on third baseman Jake Lamb’s shoulder by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles could be known Tuesday night, Lovullo said before the Diamondbacks’ game against the Texas Rangers. Lamb hurt himself Thursday, injuring the same left shoulder that suffered a sprained AC joint earlier this year. He was out of the lineup from April 3 to May 16.
– Third baseman Deven Marrero (oblique) has played as a designated hitter twice for the AZL D-backs in the last week. He’s been out since June 27.
– Outfielder Jarrod Dyson was throwing and swinging on Tuesday but was not set to run after suffering a groin injury that has kept him out of action since July 4.
– Injured Sunday, David Peralta (shoulder) was again out of the lineup but “available if needed” for the second day in a row Tuesday.