After Souza Jr.’s injury, D-backs on constant lookout for upgrades
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen isn’t wanting to stand pat following a season-ending injury to outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
Even with capable fill-in options as things stand a day before the season begins, the D-backs will pursue additions to make up for the loss of Souza, who on Monday tore his ACL, LCL and posterolateral capsule; and suffered a partial PCL tear in his left knee.
Because the injury happened three days before 2019 Opening Day, Arizona finds itself in a difficult position, Hazen told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
“The unfortunate part about having an injury at this point in time is there’s not a lot out there because teams are going into the season and you rarely see trades in April and May,” Hazen said on Wednesday. “I think when we did the Jon Jay trade (on June 6) last year, I mean, that’s about as early as I can remember a trade like that happening, at least as far as I was involved with. It’s not really typical that you’re going to have trade opportunities, even with dead-selling teams, early on in the season.”
Arizona was set up to at least somewhat absorb such a big blow to its roster.
The Diamondbacks inked veteran outfielder Adam Jones on March 11, and that appeared to push infielder Ketel Marte back to the infield after he spent spring training practicing in center field.
Now that Souza is out for the year, the right field position opened up. Jones can slide there, while Marte and Jarrod Dyson can now be the main center fielders.
The timing of Souza’s injury was also unfortunate in another way.
The D-backs were unable to consider Socrates Brito as an option after putting him on waivers before Souza hurt himself. Brito was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, reports AZCentral.com’s Nick Piecoro.
As is, Arizona will now rely more on unproven players. Marte’s athleticism and a strong spring of fielding in center may end up working out, but he lacks MLB experience at the position.
The D-backs moving him off second base hurts a team known as one of the best defensive squads in MLB. Veteran Wilmer Flores can play second but isn’t known as a defensive ace, and Ildemaro Vargas, who presumably will make the roster because of Souza’s injury, has just 26 games of major league experience.
“I think we are going to be constantly looking to upgrade the roster because of what just happened, starting on Day 1, no matter what,” Hazen said. “Having said that, I do think with the signing of Adam Jones … we are a little better situated to withstand this.”