D-backs still in flux as Deadline approaches

July 29th, 2019

MIAMI -- D-backs general manager Mike Hazen is not ready to officially call his team a seller before Wednesday’s Trade Deadline, but he did admit that the team’s disappointing play of late has changed the equation with the team receiving more calls about its players than it is making.

“We’re still engaged on both sides of things,” Hazen said. “I will concede that our recent run of games has put us in a more adverse situation than the last time we spoke.”

It still seems that the players with the greatest chance of being dealt are left-hander , lefty reliever and outfielder .

Hazen and his staff are also looking to see if there might be opportunities to buy before the Deadline, pulling off something similar to what they did with Paul Goldschmidt last offseason -- trade a veteran with dwindling years of control for one or two players who are less proven, but have upside and more years of control.

“I think we’re still going to be engaged any way we can to make the team better,” Hazen said. “I don’t know how that’s going to play itself out yet. Anything that we can do short- or long-term to make the organization better. I think the focus is more on long-term at this moment in time, but I’m not going to rule out that there might be other opportunities to get better in the short-term as well.”

Hazen has given this team every opportunity to prove itself a postseason contender and therefore a buyer at the Deadline.

Three weeks ago, he noted the D-backs were entering an important stretch during which they had three games against the Cardinals and four against the Brewers, a pair of teams they are battling in the National League Wild Card standings.

The D-backs, though, lost two of three to the Cardinals and three of four to the Brewers.

Still, Hazen wanted to see how Arizona did with seven games against a pair of last-place teams in the Orioles and Marlins. The D-backs took two of three from the Orioles, but have dropped two of the first three games against the Marlins, leaving them once again at .500.

That likely makes the D-backs sellers at the Deadline even if Hazen doesn’t want to come right out and declare it.

“Sitting here three weeks ago, I think a large percentage of us would have preferred a different outcome in terms of where we’re standing today,” he said.

Some starting pitchers have started to come off the board in the last two days in Marcus Stroman, Jordan Lyles and Jason Vargas. How that impacts the demand and cost for Ray, who is under control through next season, remains to be seen.

“I think each one of these is pretty individualistic,” Hazen said. “Each guy is different, each situation in the market is different, the two teams are usually different. I don’t think there’s any broad generalizations to take away from any trade.”

Since he took over as GM prior to the 2017 season, Hazen has resisted the temptation to do a full-scale rebuild of the team. That approach paid off with an NL Wild Card spot in '17 and a first-place team for much of '18.

Even this winter following the trade of Goldschmidt and the departures of outfielder A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin via free agency, Hazen preferred to try and retool rather than rebuild.

So, it should come as no surprise that his preference is not to sell so much at the Deadline that it impacts the D-backs' ability to at least be competitive in 2020.

“I think there is going to be a core of players here, regardless of what decisions we make, that we will have the opportunity in the offseason to piece back together again,” Hazen said. “That’s sort of how I see things right now. Now, in the end, if you make more trades than you anticipate, that may not become the reality.”