GM Hazen confident about ‘stronger’ D-backs team after Marte trade

Jan 27, 2020, 7:54 PM | Updated: Jan 28, 2020, 2:44 pm
General manager Mike Hazen of the Arizona Diamondbacks watches batting practice during a postseason...
General manager Mike Hazen of the Arizona Diamondbacks watches batting practice during a postseason workout at Chase Field (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have had a terrific offseason thus far. They added an ace in Madison Bumgarner, gave their bullpen more depth and addressed their biggest needs of two outfield spots in Kole Calhoun and Starling Marte.

They’ve certainly made their team better, and general manager Mike Hazen agreed and sounds mighty happy with the work he’s done this winter.

“We feel like we are stronger,” he said on a conference call Monday.

“We think we have a very deep roster at this point. I think our pitching staff is deeper with a little bit more experience top to bottom. I think our bullpen is going to be stronger and deeper. That’s always something we need to address every season.

“I think our lineup is better. It’s going to have more depth one through nine.”

As has almost always been the case with Hazen’s time as general manager, he proved he had a plan in place that he could execute. Hazen assured Bumgarner that he could make his team better in 2020 if the high-priced free agent took on less money this upcoming season and more later.

“We were going to be exploring any way we could to improve the roster,” he said of conversations with Bumgarner.

Bumgarner signed for only $6 million in year one of his five-year deal.

That opened the door for Hazen to bring in a bat that would be his highest-paid position player, which is what Marte turns out to be at $11.5 million.

“Fantastic baseball player,” Hazen said of Marte. “He fits a lot of what we’re trying to do.”

But we shouldn’t gloss over that there was over a month in-between Bumgarner signing in mid-December and the acquisition of Marte in late January. Hazen’s foresight in being able to bring in a high-quality player like Marte was also the product of trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates improving on the third go-around after things fizzled in late November and again in mid-December.

“Little bit probably through the winter meetings, died a little bit after that and then we picked it back up probably about 10 days ago I would imagine,” Hazen said.

“We sort of picked up contact again for whatever reason. It sort of just came back around, we connected on a few things and were able to get a deal done.”

Marte gives the D-backs an ideal leadoff hitter who can get on base and also run, but Hazen said that because of the ability of their other Marte, Ketel, that they can do a whole lot of different things with their batting order.

“I think we have so much flexibility with our lineup,” Hazen said. “I don’t think we really have a traditional lineup in the sense that our best player could probably hit in any of the top five spots in the lineup and it would make sense.

“Guys are just going to fit in and around how Torey wants to do something on a daily basis and I like that. I think it gives us flexibility with the two switch hitters specifically.”

As far as if this Marte move is it for the wheeling and dealing, Hazen will never say never, but this appears to be the logical conclusion of big moves in an offseason that had a few.

“Yes, I would think the majority of the heavy lifting has been completed,” he said. “I would still not rule out things that we may do around the edges. We will still stay engaged in the market and see if there are things that are going to make our roster but I would imagine a majority of the heavy lifting is probably done.”

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