Hazen, Lovullo reflect on '21, discuss future

October 4th, 2021

If you thought that the D-backs front office was going to just ease into the offseason and take some time to get away from a 52-110 record, well, you were wrong. Very wrong.

A determined Arizona general manager Mike Hazen in his annual end-of-season media session Monday morning said there is plenty of work that needs to be done and there is not any time to waste.

"We're starting with meetings this afternoon," he said. "So this isn't going to linger. We need to take these problems head on. We need to take these problems on in October, not in December or January, and we need to start working towards these things today. The test starts today. As much as I know everyone's been grinding and there's a [need for] some downtime. In some cases, we need to get started on this stuff."

Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo both met with the media, and here is what you need to know from their sessions:

No decisions on the coaching staff
While Hazen ended the speculation around Lovullo's job status a couple of weeks ago by signing him to a one-year extension with a club option for 2023, Lovullo's coaching staff is in limbo, with all their contracts set to expire.

There were no announcements made Monday, and none were expected. Lovullo is trying to balance being thorough in his evaluations with not wanting to leave his staff wondering about their futures for very long.

"I don't have a timeline," Lovullo said. "My starting point is that we won 52 games, and I need to examine everything from A to Z inside of the coaching staff."

The Giants might be a model
The Giants, who captured the NL West with 107 wins, have the largest coaching staff in baseball, and they've filled it with some non-traditional hires from a variety of backgrounds.

The D-backs have certainly taken notice of that and while they might not expand their coaching staff to the same degree, they will certainly take a hard look at making additions.

The biggest thing that Hazen wants to see changed is how the organization collaborates on and communicates a consistent message that will help players improve. This is an area where Hazen took responsibility and accountability for, specifically.

"I'm not sure that from top to bottom the consistency through which we are executing and helping our players is being done to the level that we should be doing it at," Hazen said.

Call it what you like
Hazen avoided words like "rebuilding" when talking about next year, while all but saying that's what the D-backs will be doing.

Coming off a 52-win season, Hazen said he will listen to any offers he may get on players in the offseason and that a number of the young players who have gotten their first taste of the big leagues the last two seasons will continue to get opportunities.

"I'm not going to sell the team short, but I'm also not going to be unrealistic about realizing that we are a 52-win team," Hazen said. "And you might get tired of me saying that but I'm going to keep saying it because I want us all to remember where we are right now, and it's easily the worst place that I've ever sat, and I'm responsible for it, so it's even more painful."

Areas for improvement
Rebuilding the bullpen will be a priority for Hazen this offseason, and he will look to add pitchers with velocity and swing-and-miss stuff more than he has the past few years.

Finding someone to play third base may have to come from outside the organization as well, but again, when you only win 52 games, there are not going to be a lot of players assured of jobs.

Hazen and his staff are going to be prepared to look at a number of different ways to put together next year's club and there are not a lot of players who should assume anything at this point.

"I envision going into Spring Training with a lot of competition," Hazen said.