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D-backs GM Mike Hazen ready to find the ‘next Zack Greinke’ after trade

Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen joins The Doug & Wolf Show for an interview on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Feb. 14, 2019. (Arizona Sports/Matt Layman)

It was a MLB trade deadline that Arizona Diamondbacks fans won’t soon forget.

After dealing their best starter in Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros, the D-backs have cleared a lot of money and add several new prospects.

According to MLB Pipeline, Arizona acquired three of Houston’s top five prospects in first baseman/outfielder Seth Beer, right handed pitchers J.B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin and Astros’ No. 22 prospect infielder Joshua Rojas.

The D-backs also sent $24 million in cash to the Astros to help pay a chunk of Greinke’s hefty salary.

After dealing Greinke, GM Mike Hazen joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns and Gambo to discuss the trade and which prospect they’ve been trying to get for a while now.

“Losing Zack Greinke was painful, he was our best starting pitcher, he was our staff leader,” Hazen said. “We have to find the next Zack Greinke, but we also had bigger holes than just that one spot on the roster.”

Perhaps that pitcher could be the newly acquired Martin.

At the Triple-A level this year, he had a 3.13 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 37 innings before needing Tommy John Surgery after an elbow injury in early July.

He had similar success in Double-A with a 7-2 record, 2.97 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 103 innings last season.

Despite the injury, Hazen sees a lot of upside in Martin and that’s why they wanted him included in the trade.

“We feel like he can pitch in the middle and upper end of the rotation,” he said. “I’m a firm believer that you earn in the big leagues, the monikers of the ones and the twos, and that you kind of come into the big leagues at the bottom, and you sort of prove that your Zack Greinke over time.”

He also mentioned that Martin might not have been included in a trade if it weren’t for the injury.

“We’ve liked him for a long time,” Hazen said. “We liked him in the draft. He shot through the Astros system.

“He ended up getting hurt, unfortunately. Unfortunate for him, possibly a different story outcome for us, who knows if he is even available in a trade like this if he is in their rotation.”

A trend in the four prospects coming to Arizona is that all of them are close to major league ready.

The D-backs also made a trade early Wednesday that got them Miami Marlins right-handed starter Zac Gallen for Arizona’s top prospect shortstop Jazz Chisholm.

Gallen, who has seven major league starts this season, is 1-3 with a 2.73 ERA and has 43 strikeouts. The 23-year-old is another prospect the team got that is just getting started at the major league level.

However, Hazen said it wasn’t the organization’s goal in the beginning to only get players who are close to joining the club.

“We didn’t set out that way, honestly,” he said. “I think it’s probably a matter of most teams and most GMs probably say that you prefer to acquire players closer to or at the major league level.”

Despite Greinke’s contract taking up almost a third of the D-back’s salary, Hazen said he didn’t feel restrained with the amount of money he could spend.

“I don’t think it necessarily hand cuffs you, we’re going to have star players and we’re going to need to pay star players,” Hazen said. “I would contend that I had a number one starting pitcher on the roster for two and a half years. And the inherit value of that is there is something to that.”

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