What's next for D-backs after Soria signing?

February 8th, 2021

PHOENIX -- The D-backs introduced reliever to the media on Monday after signing the right-hander to a one-year deal for a base salary of $3.5 million with appearance incentives that could add another $500,000 to the total.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

The D-backs had a home-field advantage in signing him
Soria, who was born in Monclova, Mexico, makes his home in Scottsdale, Ariz., which made pitching for the D-backs even more attractive.

"They have always been a team that I put in my mind," Soria said. "The fact that we’re a Hispanic community. I think I can have an impact in the Hispanic community, not just playing baseball but outside, too. Being close to Mexico, I like the fact that I can see my parents coming to the stadium and see all the people there. Plus, I live here in Arizona, which makes it way easier for my family, especially in these times. It’s crazy, the world is a little crazy, I’d rather be with my family than be out there."

Soria is likely to be the closer, but they're not saying that yet
The 36-year-old Soria has 223 saves over 13 seasons and seems a natural fit in the closer's role, but the D-backs are going to head into Spring Training saying that he will compete with for the role.

The D-backs turned to Crichton late last year and he compiled a 2.42 ERA over 26 games.

"I would say that he certainly has the most experience," D-backs GM Mike Hazen said. "I think he is going to have every opportunity to compete for that role or get into that role. I would be shocked if he doesn't get appearances in the ninth inning. We want to see how guys come in. You know Crichton finished up the season in that role. I don't want to just strip that away without having seen him pitch again coming into Spring Training. I don't think that's entirely fair."

They worked the trade market most of the offseason
The D-backs made contact with Soria early in the offseason and, while they stayed in touch, it was more over the past few weeks that something finally came together.

In between those periods, the D-backs were involved in a lot of trade discussions.

"We were focused a lot of our offseason on the trade market," Hazen said. "We had been [called] a lot, we were exploring opportunities to try to figure out ways to make our team better. Trading for a reliever was part of some of those discussions and so if we end up making a trade for a reliever, that's going to block off what you need to do or want to do in the free-agent market."

They aren't giving up on 2021
Yes, the Dodgers and Padres both got a lot better this offseason. And yes, the D-backs did finish in last place last year. But Hazen wants to give the 2021 team a chance at competing for a postseason spot, so he didn't elect to deal off veterans.

"We want to continue to go out there and compete," Hazen said. "So trading older players for prospects wasn't really all that high on our list, but I felt like it was part of my responsibility to listen to those things. So the trade market was a little challenging for us because if you're not going out rebuilding, it wasn't as definitive of a path for me to identify certain deals that we had and feel like I was [also] making the Major League team -- the 2021 team -- better. Doing it to make the 2023 team better wasn't necessarily a goal, and that was probably more [of what] we had available to us in this offseason."

They might not be done yet
The D-backs would still like to add a veteran bat off the bench if they could and maybe another reliever to add to the competition and depth in the 'pen.

"If we find something that's going to help us then, you know, we'll go to ownership and make the case to see if it's something that fits," Hazen said.