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The Athletic grades D-backs’ early offseason moves, Bumgarner signing

Newly aquired Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner, center, holds his new jersey with general manager Mike Hazen, right, and manager Tory Lovullo during a team availability, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

It feels early in the offseason to be judging MLB teams, but with Winter Meetings in the rearview mirror, many of the highest-profile free agents have signed with new clubs.

Jim Bowden of The Athletic released his annual midterm offseason grades for all 30 teams.

He graded the Arizona Diamondbacks as a B+. They are one of four teams to receive this ranking.

So far this offseason, Arizona has signed left-handed starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $85 million contract, catcher Stephen Vogt to a one-year deal worth $3 million and relief pitcher Junior Guerra to a one-year, $2.65 million deal.

Guerra can help beef up the bullpen. Vogt will take the backup spot previously held by Alex Avila. Those aren’t major moves in the grand scale of the league. The signing Bowden focused on, the one that took MLB by storm, was Bumgarner.

Bowden writes not about Bumgarner’s stats in the blurb about the D-backs’ offseason, but about how his attitude can help the young pitchers.

“Bumgarner joins Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, Mike Leake, Luke Weaver and Merrill Kelly in what is becoming a very solid rotation. Bumgarner’s competitiveness is off the charts and his attitude will help the team’s young pitchers develop.”

He believes Bumgarner will be able to transition into the second phase of his career, a new team beginning with his age-30 season, with the help of a former Diamondbacks pitcher employed by the team.

“Don’t be surprised if Dan Haren — the former major-league pitcher turned front-office analytics nerd — doesn’t help Bumgarner reach another level in this next era of his career.”

The Diamondbacks joined the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox and Atlanta Braves as the four teams who received grades of B+.

Only three teams ranked higher: The New York Yankees, who got an A due to the Gerrit Cole signing; the Los Angeles Angels, who got an A- after signing third baseman Anthony Rendon; and the Philadelphia Phillies, who have received an A- from their myriad of moves including hiring Joe Girardi as head coach and signing pitcher Zack Wheeler and shortstop Didi Gregorius.

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