Ken Kendrick: D-backs look forward to competition with Dodgers

Feb 20, 2020, 6:52 PM | Updated: 10:35 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers stretch during spring training baseball practice, Sunday, Feb. 16, 20...

Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers stretch during spring training baseball practice, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

There’s a sense of optimism around the Arizona Diamondbacks as spring training gets underway in the Valley.

And why wouldn’t there be?

After a 2019 season that saw Arizona playing meaningful games in September, D-backs general manager Mike Hazen showed he’s ready to compete with offseason acquisitions such as Madison Bumgarner, Kole Calhoun and Starling Marte, to name a few.

“The one thing you see out of [our front office] that’s unique to them versus my longtime being involved in the sport is a true spirit of collaboration in the decision process,” D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo on Thursday.

“When you’re a leader, you’re given the authority to make decisions and often you get caught up in your own opinion. If you’re a really good leader — and I think Mike [Hazen] is clearly that — you listen to your colleagues and you make decisions based on the collaborative advice that you’re given as well as your own judgment. It’s a group I’m really proud to be associated with.”

Kendrick added that the team knows it can’t survive solely on big-name contracts such as Zack Greinke — who Arizona traded to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline last season in exchange for four prospects — but certain situations can allow for splashy signings.

So when a decision had to be made whether or not to sign the likes of Greinke or Bumgarner, keeping them off the roster of NL West division rivals also became a factor.

“You need to give the freedom of action to the people that you’ve hired to do the job,” Kendrick said.

“My view of the way I’ve described my role with these guys is, ‘Look, you have the authority to make all the decisions, but I have the opportunity to evaluate your decisions.’ And so we’ve gotten to a place where that gives me comfort. I think they have comfort, too.”

Only time will tell who ultimately ends up “winning” the Greinke trade as the D-backs continue to develop the four prospects they received in return for their former ace: first baseman Seth Beer, INF/OF Josh Rojas, and RHPs J.B. Bukauskas and Corbin Martin.

But this much is certain: The Diamondbacks are making a push forward to compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division crown — and at the very least — an NL Wild Card spot.

“That’s the feeling around our clubhouse, it’s the feeling here in my office,” Kendrick said.

“They’re a very strong club, they’ve improved their club. But we look forward to the competition.”

Arizona Diamondbacks

(Arizona Sports' Jeremy Schnell photo)...

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