Hazen expects D-backs to be active at Winter Meetings

December 1st, 2022

The D-backs head to the Winter Meetings next week in San Diego with a list of needs to fill and some coveted trade chips to offer as they look to take another step forward following a 22-win improvement in 2022.

General manager Mike Hazen said trade and free-agent talk had picked up quite a bit recently, which could mean the D-backs are able to pull off a move or two at or just after the Meetings.

"I think we have an opportunity in front of us to improve our baseball team, and that makes me excited," Hazen said. "I don't know what we're going to end up doing. And managing expectations here in terms of what the Winter Meetings actually mean -- in some cases, I've been to plenty of Winter Meetings where a lot of things haven't necessarily happened, but they've happened right after or they happened in January. But yes, I get the sense that there's a lot of potential activity, and we could be involved in some of that activity."

Key events

Sunday, Dec. 4: HOF Contemporary Era Ballot results released (Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling)
Monday, Dec. 5: All-MLB Team announced
Tuesday, Dec. 6: Inaugural Draft Lottery, AL/NL Relievers of Year announced
Wednesday, Dec. 7: Rule 5 Draft

Club needs

Improving the back end of the bullpen remains a priority for the D-backs, who struggled in that area this past season despite adding veterans Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy. They would also like to find a right-handed bat to help balance out the lineup a bit, and that could come in the form of a third baseman. Finding a backup for catcher Carson Kelly or someone to push him for the starting job is another area of need, as is starting-pitching depth.

Potential trade candidates

The D-backs have continued to receive a steady stream of calls about their young group of outfielders -- Daulton Varsho, Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy. They have let teams know that Carroll is unavailable, but they seem open to trading one of the other three in the right deal.

While the outfielders remain their highest value assets, the D-backs could look to move Madison Bumgarner, who still has two years and $37 million left on his contract. They would likely have to pick up a large portion of the money remaining or find a team looking to dump a player making similar money.

Prospects to know

The D-backs' outfield prospects have gotten the most attention, but the organization has some young pitchers who also debuted in 2022 and are loaded with talent.

Tommy Henry, Ryne Nelson and Drey Jameson were among the starters who got a look in the Majors last year, and the organization's Pitcher of the Year and No. 4 prospect, Brandon Pfaadt, is likely to battle for a spot in 2023.

Rule 5 Draft

Two players the D-backs did not add to the 40-man roster who are now eligible for the Rule 5 Draft are outfielders Dominic Canzone and Wilderd Patino. Arizona likes both players, but given the depth of outfielders in the system, it simply did not feel there was room.

The D-backs may end up making a Rule 5 Draft selection, but it would have to be a player who really jumps out at them, Hazen said, given how many young players Arizona already expects to have on the roster.

Burning question

Will the D-backs trade one of their young outfielders, and if so, which one? This has been the hottest topic for the club since the final month of the 2022 season as McCarthy finished off a strong second half.

Dealing one of the outfielders seems like a given with all of them being left-handed hitters, but choosing which one to move is an even bigger decision, with no easy answer.