D-backs GM talks expectations for 2023

February 20th, 2023

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.

The media got the chance to talk to D-backs general manager Mike Hazen late last week, and I wanted to circle back to a couple of things he said: 

1. Madison Bumgarner is in the Opening Day rotation

Hazen was asked a couple of different ways about whether or not a poor spring could cost Bumgarner his spot in the starting rotation given his struggles last year. I’ll let you judge for yourself, but to me, Hazen was pretty emphatic. 

“He’s going to get the ball again,” Hazen said. “He's going to get the ball again this season. Yes, we're penciling him to be in our rotation, and he's going to be in our rotation. Like I said, like with all the other veteran guys, I’d like to see him really step up and model -- all the great things that the [Evan] Longorias and the [Mark] Melancons and the Bumgarners have done in this game, who have stood on the mound and [won] World Series. I hope that that is going to really help propel our younger players.”

2. What constitutes a successful season for the D-backs?

Look, every team wants to win the World Series. And during Spring Training, just about every team can come up with scenarios in which everything breaks just right and they find themselves playing deep into October. 

But, Hazen was asked, what are his “reasonable expectations” for this year’s team? 

“Being in the position to be aggressive at the [Trade] Deadline to buy, and play meaningful baseball games in September,” Hazen said. “That's what I would constitute to be a successful season this year. I don't know what's going to happen after that. Nobody does. The competition in the National League is pretty stiff. There’s a lot of teams that improved quite a bit. I think we improved. 

"But I believe those are the markers that I want us to, at least from a long-term standpoint, put down. But that starts by winning Day 1. But we're not thinking about that right now. We're thinking about making sure that on Day 1, we play the best baseball that we can, and then we'll worry about Day 2.”