PHOENIX -- There are about two weeks until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but with his team firmly in the hunt for a postseason berth, D-backs general manager Mike Hazen began talking to teams about possible deals weeks ago.Things figure to intensify as it becomes more clear which teams
PHOENIX -- There are about two weeks until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, but with his team firmly in the hunt for a postseason berth, D-backs general manager Mike Hazen began talking to teams about possible deals weeks ago.
Things figure to intensify as it becomes more clear which teams are buyers and which are sellers. There's little question in which category the D-backs fall.
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"This is a strong club," Hazen said. "I do think it has some depth to it. We don't feel the need to go out there and do anything, but we're going to take every opportunity to improve it. I think that's our responsibility."
The team's most pressing need looks to be a power right-handed outfield bat. Especially with Yasmany Tomas on the disabled list, the lineup has proven to be vulnerable against left-handed pitchers.
The D-backs won't talk specifically about how much money they are willing to add to their payroll at the Deadline, but ownership has always found a way to stretch the budget if it believes it has a chance to make the postseason.
The key for Hazen and his staff will be balancing going for it now without harming the club's ability to compete in the future.
The development of Minor Leaguers like outfielder Marcus Wilson and Jon Duplantier along with what they feel was a strong 2017 Draft have given the D-backs more depth to deal from in the system. Still expect them to be careful with how much they give up. One of the words Hazen repeated often in his first months on the job was "sustainability" and after the past three regimes have gone for broke and then regretted it, the D-backs are not likely to empty their Minor League cupboard for a rental player.
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What are they playing for?
When they went all-in last year in signing Zack Greinke, the D-backs figured they had a three-year window to compete before beginning to lose core players like outfielder A.J. Pollock. That is still the case, but again, they are going to be careful not to hurt themselves for the future.
The road ahead
August is going to be an important month for the D-backs. They have six games against the Cubs, who are too talented to continue playing .500 baseball, four with the dominant Astros and three with the contending Twins. They also have six games against the Giants, who will be getting Madison Bumgarner back and most importantly, they have six games against the National League West-leading Dodgers.
Closer Fernando Rodney had a remarkable run of success after blowing back-to-back saves at the end of April. He stumbled again before the break and the team needs him to right himself, because with him locking things down in the ninth, it keeps Archie Bradley in the setup role in which he's been dominant.
Prospects to watch
While he's been up a few times, right-hander Braden Shipley has not gotten an extended look this year. That could change quickly if the D-backs suffer another injury in the rotation.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.