PHOENIX -- The D-backs followed up a surprise 2017 postseason berth with a 20-8 start to the season, and after a disappointing May, they rebounded to go 19-9 in June to show that they have what it takes to contend again.The organization went all in financially this past winter, as
PHOENIX -- The D-backs followed up a surprise 2017 postseason berth with a 20-8 start to the season, and after a disappointing May, they rebounded to go 19-9 in June to show that they have what it takes to contend again.
The organization went all in financially this past winter, as it opened the season with a payroll of around $135 million -- more than $20 million more than the franchise record.
General manager Mike Hazen traded some of his young capital in February to acquire outfielder Steven Souza Jr., making it clear the that team will do all it can to take the next step this year.
Last year, Hazen pulled off the trade of the non-waiver Trade Deadline when he acquired outfielder J.D. Martinez for a trio of Minor Leaguers. He'll be hard-pressed to top that one this year.
Here's a look at where the D-backs stand at the season's halfway point.
Current status: Buyer
With left-hander Patrick Corbin and outfielder A.J. Pollock set to become free agents after this season and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt after 2019, plus a thin farm system, the D-backs' window to contend is clearly right now. They will look to maximize it as much as they can.
What they are seeking
The D-backs' bullpen has been one of the best in the National League, but it has also been overworked of late. Adding an arm to provide depth would be nice. Meanwhile, the starting staff is already without Taijuan Walker for the season, and Shelby Miller suffered tightness in his right elbow as he attempted to come back from Tommy John surgery. Arizona doesn't have a ton of starting pitching options at the top level of the farm system, so it could use some help. A bat for the lineup or the bench could also be in the cards.
What they have to offer
This is where it gets tricky for the D-backs. Since his hiring, Hazen has stressed the importance of having a consistent pipeline of players coming through the system. Arizona has some intriguing prospects, like shortstop Jasrado Chisholm (No. 3), but it is only likely to part with top talent if it acquires either Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, or a player that is controllable past this season.
It's always hard to predict what the D-backs will do, because the organization does a good job of keeping things quiet. It's possible they could decide that they are looking at a rebuilding situation after 2019, so it might sense for them to go all in for '18 -- and make an offer for Machado that Baltimore can't refuse.
More likely, though, the D-backs might look to acquire a controllable starting pitcher, and if the price is too high, they make a move instead at the margins, acquiring a left-handed arm for the bullpen.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.