Hazen: D-backs itching to be aggressive at trade deadline, attack pitching

Jun 9, 2023, 11:57 AM | Updated: 1:32 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 on October 2, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are in a position at the trade deadline that has not been seen since J.D. Martinez came to the Valley in 2017 and that is in the position to be buyers.

Arizona sits at 37-25 and 1.5 games above the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline.

With a combination of a drafted young core, offseason trade pieces and a sprinkling of crafty veterans, the D-backs have found the right mixture to exceed all expectations in 2023.

“Our fans and our team deserve for us to be aggressive,” general manager Mike Hazen told Arizona Sports’ Bickley and Marotta on Friday.

“We need to be right. We can not be giving away future long term impact players for the Diamondbacks. But, we are not going to shy away from being aggressive and making trades. … We traded our best player from last year. We are willing to look at those things and make decisions for the long and short term.”

The D-backs turned heads this offseason with the trading away of Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

It was an aggressive move at the time, and is likely a sign of what’s to come as Arizona looks to remain atop the NL West.

Hazen joined New York Post Sports’ The Show Podcast and talked about where the team will be more aggressive to make a run at a championship.

“Certainly at this date we are (buyers). We have played pretty good baseball at this point in the season,” Hazen told Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman. “Historically, this is a good marker for what you’re going to have to do for the rest of the season. … Those conversations are happening and were certainly leaning on the buy side.

“We have needs that we are going to need to shore up, but we play hard every single night. … Look, over the last few years and what we have been through, we are itching at the opportunity to stay in this thing, push forward and make August and September very meaningful from a baseball standpoint around here.”

Hazen reiterated the message on the podcast that the D-backs were more than one player away from playing competitive playoff baseball this offseason.

But, with how Arizona has jumped into the “contenders” category across the league, the timeline of young prospects in the minor leagues has been accelerated and many of the guys that could have been a part of the future teams may be in jeopardy of being traded for pitching talent.

“Certainly pitching. We have been playing either win-it or lose-it type baseball in the ninth inning,” Hazen said on The Show podcast.

“We are going to need to address the pitching. From a starting depth standpoint, just getting through the season and/or shoring up our bullpen because we play good defense. I’m not sure if our run scoring will stay at the clip it is at right now and that will put more pressure on our pitching staff. That is an area that every contender will address.”

Hazen also mentioned adding one more power bat that could increase the team’s slugging but does like the current formation of the team 1-9.

The GM has positioned Arizona to not only be successful and compete now, but have years of success down the line.

He mentioned that signing rookie phenom Corbin Carroll to the eight-year extension was because he wants the young core to compete with each other for years to come.

Prospects Jordan Lawlar and Druw Jones are the D-backs’ two highest rated minor leaguers but both are still a couple of years away from the bigs.

Hazen was frightened that Carroll could have walked in free agency years down the line, never getting the opportunity to play with Lawlar or Jones.

But for now, that contract looks like another ingenious move by the Arizona general manager.

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