Q&A with Mike Hazen: Where do D-backs stand?

May 22nd, 2024

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert’s D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Prior to Tuesday night’s game in Los Angeles, I spoke to D-backs general manager Mike Hazen to get his thoughts on a few topics. Below is the transcript of the conversation edited in some spots for clarity:

MLB.com: How do you assess where you guys are right now?

Hazen: We're grinding right now. I feel like we're capable of playing a lot better than we have. I know we've had some struggles individually, but the guys are working at it, so that's the biggest deal to me and us that they're working to put it together. We just have to find a way to play more consistently. We need to have more consistent at-bats, and pitching-wise, we've had some big innings that we need to figure out a way to try to avoid those big moments. Hopefully we can start to put that together going forward.

MLB.com: Do you feel better knowing that in the race for the final couple of National League Wild Card spots, no one has really run away with it?

Hazen: Not really. I mean, we’re lucky that's the case, given the way we’ve played. We were lucky last year when we lost all those games after the Trade Deadline and no one ran away with [the final Wild Card spots]. We benefited from that opportunity last year because we did something about that opportunity last year. So hopefully we can do something about that opportunity this year. But no, it doesn’t make you feel better, because to get where we hope to go, it’s going to require us playing better.

MLB.com: Does the fact that the offense has been so inconsistent surprise you?

Hazen: Yeah. On a night in, night out basis, it’s been hard for us to put together consistency in terms of obviously run scoring, but even getting on base. Our offense has struggled this year, and we hope as guys start to come out of it, we’ll have better days ahead of us.

MLB.com: Having Geraldo Perdomo and Alek Thomas on the IL for much of the year has seemed to have really challenged you. How important will getting those guys back be?

Hazen: I think Alek and Perdomo have been big losses for us, for sure, but that’s not the only answer. Putting Perdomo and Alek back in our lineup isn’t going to change everything that’s happening for us offensively. So the thought that that’s the main reason for our struggles, I don’t buy that. I think it’s part of the difference in who we are offensively, but I don’t know that it’s so significant that bringing those two back is going to change the seven guys hitting ahead of them in the lineup.

MLB.com: It seems like Corbin Carroll is starting to swing the bat a little better. Have you seen that as well?

Hazen: I definitely think when you step back and take a wider view, he’s hitting the ball harder on a nightly basis now. I think that’s a good sign. I’ve watched some of his batting practices and I think he’s hitting the ball better. It seems like it’s coming for him. He’s going to figure it out. He’s too good of a player not to figure it out, and he works his butt off, so it’s going to come together for him at some point.

MLB.com: How big has Brandon Pfaadt’s emergence been for you this year, especially given the injuries to Merrill Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez?

Hazen: He’s done a really good job for us. He minimizes damage and has settled in, which has been great. I think we need to see continued growth from the rest of our young starting pitching group. There’s an opportunity for them here with Eduardo and Merrill down. Again, I bring this up all the time, guys just say they just want a chance, they just want an opportunity. Well, they're all getting their opportunity. We are definitely looking for a couple guys to step into those roles for us.