D-backs fill big need as Winter Meetings wrap

December 7th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Like many of his counterparts, D-backs general manager Mike Hazen arrived at the Winter Meetings Sunday night expecting there to be a flurry of moves made.

And though it was mostly a a quiet week at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the D-backs made noise late Wednesday night, agreeing on a four-year, $80 million deal with free-agent left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The club did not confirm the deal. 

While much of the baseball world seems to be waiting for free agent Shohei Ohtani to make a decision before committing to big deals, the D-backs moved to add another high-end starter behind Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly.

The end of the Winter Meetings is not the end of the Hot Stove season, but merely the midway point, so it’s natural to expect more activity from the D-backs over the next six weeks.


1. Right-handed bat
The D-backs already picked up a right-handed bat via trade in Eugenio Suárez late last month, but they are still in search of another one. While they have three left-handed-hitting outfielders at the moment, Hazen has said that the additional right-handed bat does not need to be an outfielder and could be a full-time designated hitter.

2. Bullpen help
For the first time under Hazen, the D-backs are not looking for a closer during the winter as they have right-hander Paul Sewald, acquired from the Mariners at last year’s Trade Deadline, under contract for next season. While the bullpen was much improved and an area of strength for the D-backs in the second half of 2023, Hazen always looks to build as much depth in that area as possible.


The D-backs did not make a selection in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, but they did lose Minor League third baseman and No. 5 prospect Deyvison De Los Santos to the Guardians, who had the eighth overall selection. Cleveland, which paid $100,000 to select De Los Santos, must keep him on its active roster for the full 2024 season or he’ll be offered back to Arizona for $50,000. 

With their first pick in the Minor League portion of the Draft, the D-backs took right-hander Darlin Pinales from the Dodgers organization. Pinales made a combined 20 appearances (four starts) at the Rookie and Single-A levels last season. He posted a 9.16 ERA across 38 1/3 innings with 45 walks and 47 strikeouts. 

The D-backs also selected second baseman Andy Weber and right-hander John Matthews later in that Minor League phase. Weber, a fifth-round pick by the Cubs in 2018, slashed .237/.335/.333 in 106 Double-A games last season. Matthews allowed 40 earned runs while walking 35 and striking out 44 across 44 2/3 innings in Double-A in 2023.


Before the Rodriguez agreement, Hazen was quick to point out that the D-backs have been far from inactive this winter. The trade for Suárez filled a hole for them at third base, which was their second-biggest priority this winter after finding starting pitching help.

“The penalty of doing it before Thanksgiving is that [people] forget about it,” Hazen said. “By the time we got to the Winter Meetings, we already did something, and it was a pretty significant thing for us.”