D-backs GM Mike Hazen doesn’t anticipate ‘major’ overhaul to team

Sep 30, 2020, 7:26 AM
Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen (Matt Bertram/Arizona Sports)...
Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen (Matt Bertram/Arizona Sports)
(Matt Bertram/Arizona Sports)

The Arizona Diamondbacks will have changes this offseason, but after failing to meet expectations for the 2020 season to such a high degree, how big will those changes be?

General manager Mike Hazen answered that on Tuesday.

“I don’t believe it’s major, from an overhaul standpoint of the lineup,” he said.

“We have good baseball players. We have good hitters in our lineup. Some of those hitters … we tailed backwards a little bit as a group.”

The question needed to be asked because all of the D-backs’ 2020 starters are under team control for next season. The team, of course, will need to replace some of the pieces they gave away at the trade deadline, like Starling Marte in center field and Archie Bradley and Andrew Chafin in the bullpen.

While hitters like David Peralta and Christian Walker recovered in the second half of the season to put together decent years, others still continued to struggle. Ketel Marte (.732 OPS), Carson Kelly (.649 OPS) and Eduardo Escobar (.605 OPS) all saw major dropoffs in production. The cut, in fact, of that trio’s combined OPS from 2019 to 2020 was 652 total points.

“It’s hard to put exactly a finger on (it),” Hazen said of the offensive struggles. “Looking at the 60-game season from the individual players’ standpoint, it becomes a little more difficult to put the 60-game season into context in my mind.

“I think we need to do a better job of night-to-night consistency, and that is going to be (not only) a continued area of focus, but an area of focus going into the offseason.”

As far as the starting pitching goes, Hazen doesn’t see a ton of shuffling there, either.

“I feel pretty good about the starting pitching,” Hazen said. “We got off to a little bit of a rough start in that area.”

The biggest concern for the front office has to be the performance of ace Madison Bumgarner, who even after 10 scoreless innings to close out the year ended the season with an ERA of 6.48.

One young starter performed strongly in Zac Gallen (2.75 ERA) but another in Luke Weaver (6.58 ERA) had a turbulent season coming off injury in 2019. Robbie Ray was traded after a disastrous seven starts and Merrill Kelly pitched five outings before a nerve issue in his shoulder required thoracic outlet surgery that ended his season.

Ray’s rotation place could be filled by Caleb Smith, who came over in the Starling Marte deal and posted a 2.45 ERA over 11.0 innings.

Regardless of the personnel, Hazen saw the same problem this season he’s seen in the past few.

“We go into these periods during the course of the season where we need to start shortening down times of the year that are costing us in the end,” he said. “And that has happened over the last couple of years where we’ve gotten into these ruts … and we need to do a better job of getting ourselves out of those ruts and back into more consistent play.”

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