The Arizona Diamondbacks shocked the baseball world last week by landing the big fish.
The normally cautious club signed free agent pitcher Zack Greinke to a massive six-year, $206 million deal late Friday, sending a message to the rest of baseball that the D-backs are pushing to compete for a World Series title now.
But the signing of Greinke, despite its enormity, isn’t necessarily the end of the D-backs’ wheeling and dealing. Arizona has been linked to trade rumors involving Atlanta starting pitcher Shelby Miller and Miami right-hander Jose Fernandez. Free agent right-hander Mike Leake, who finished 2015 with the San Francisco Giants, has also been mentioned as a possibility for the Diamondbacks.
Arizona could still be big players at the Winter Meetings going on in Nashville, Tennessee.
“We’re in a wonderful position. Our ownership has put us in a position to come to the meetings not desperate,” chief baseball officer Tony La Russa told Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “We needed to add a pitcher of significance — or plural — and so we walked in here and we have Zack and we’ve been flooded with requests because we have position players that are very attractive to teams that have pitching.
“And we’re being very careful, because you want to do something that, in the end, gives you a better chance to win, so we’ll be looking at it.”
The D-backs do have a glut of talent, mostly in the middle infield and outfield positions, that is highly regarded by other organizations. But, as La Russa stated, they’re using caution moving forward and don’t feel the need to make further deals.
“If we do nothing, we’re in a position to be very competitive and get into October with a chance to win,” he said.
Outfielder A.J. Pollock figures to be a popular target at the Nashville meetings. The 27-year-old center fielder is coming off a breakout season in which he posted a .315/.367/.498 slash line. He clubbed 20 home runs, drove in 76 runs, stole 39 bases, made his first All-Star team, won a Gold Glove and finished 14th in the National League MVP balloting. He made only $519,500 last season, and isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2017.
“Your door is open, the phone is open and we have fielded a lot of calls on our players,” La Russa said. “Obviously, A.J., with what he’s done throughout his career and the continued improvement, has been a item. People want what A.J. is and we’re resisting them fiercely.”
The Winter Meetings run through Dec. 10.