Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen focuses on pitching in quiet offseason
In what has been a quiet offseason for Major League Baseball, Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said most of the calls he’s been fielding are about pitching.
Teams around the league have been inquiring about trades for D-backs pitchers, while Arizona has been making calls of its own to address potential additions to the bullpen as the Winter Meetings come to a close.
If Arizona were to actually deal a pitcher away, Hazen says it would be a challenge and there needs to be a back-up plan as the league enters a (hopefully) normal season schedule again.
“I think going off of a 60-game season and launching into a 162-game season from a pitching standpoint is going to present a uniqueness that we haven’t seen before,” Hazen told reporters via Zoom Thursday. “We do have to be mindful of where both our rotation is going to be and our depth underneath that rotation is going to be. To move a starting pitcher, we’re going to have to have a plan for that.”
If games began today, Arizona’s starting rotation would likely include Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver, Merrill Kelly, Alex Young and Caleb Smith, based on the team’s depth chart.
Bumgarner and Weaver notably struggled, Kelly was shut down with an injury and Smith only saw three starts after being acquired from the Marlins in a trade deadline deal for Robbie Ray.
Gallen was a bright spot in the D-backs’ struggles, posting a 2.75 ERA in 72 innings pitched.
Hazen says the 2020 season just needs to be put in perspective.
“We finished in last place in those 60 games. We can’t be so arrogant as to think that we shouldn’t be looking at other ways to improve our roster,” he said. “There were reasons why we finished where we finished. … I do think we have to be somewhat mindful of not overreacting to what that 60 game schedule looked like.”
When looking for pitchers to aid the bullpen, fan-favorite Archie Bradley could be in the mix to come back to Arizona after being non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds.
However, Hazen wouldn’t address any of the rumors.
“I love Archie Bradley. I don’t think that’s a secret,” he said. “I love what he did for us for so long but I’m not going to get into any specific conversations or strategy for the offseason.”
Pitching isn’t the only element for the Diamondbacks to consider too.
Hazen is looking to reinvigorate an offense whose bats were often left quiet last season. The team ranked 19th in league batting average (.241).
Several key starters struggled offensively, but Hazen hopes to give them one more shot to return to previous form.
“I think in general the market for us has been centered around pitching in a lot of ways, but we’re still being mindful of where we can add to our offense and improve our offense,” he said. “With regard to getting our guys back to where they were, where we were wrapping up in ’19 and looking for ways to supplement the offense if we can.”