PHOENIX -- There’s no way to get around the fact that 2020 was a disappointing season for the D-backs, who opened it expecting to compete for a postseason berth and finished it in last place in the National League West with a 25-35 record.
That doesn’t mean, though, that the D-backs feel they need to start from scratch or make major overhauls this winter.
“I don’t know where the offseason is going to take us on a very micro level because I never do,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. “But I do think this team still, in my mind, has the building blocks of being a good competitive baseball team that is capable of making the playoffs [and advance], and we’re going to start from that base position.”
What are the D-backs' biggest needs heading into 2021, and what moves have they made to address them? MLB.com is keeping track here. As the offseason continues, be sure to check back for updates.
In each of the past three seasons, the D-backs' offense has gone quiet at crucial times, and Hazen and his staff are determined to figure out why. It could be a change in approach at the plate, but also look for the D-backs to somehow change the offensive mix. Whether they are able to do that through free agency or trade remains to be seen, but it appears to be the club’s top priority this offseason.
Back end of the bullpen
The signing of Joakim Soria helped bolster the back end of the bullpen and he likely will be the team’s Opening Day closer. That’s something the D-backs needed after they dealt closer Archie Bradley to the Reds and Andrew Chafin to the Cubs just before last year’s Trade Deadline. They also did not pick up the contract options on Hector Rondón and Junior Guerra, which left them inexperienced at the back end.
The D-backs have some depth in the rotation, but with Robbie Ray and Mike Leake gone, and the struggles of Luke Weaver in 2020, they may look to add a starter. It won’t be a high priority, especially with prospects like Corbin Martin ready to make his big league debut in '21, but Hazen always is on the lookout to add pitching where he can.
Feb. 6: Soria signed
By signing Soria to a one-year, $3.5 million deal that includes $500,000 in appearance incentives, the D-backs added a proven veteran to the back of the bullpen. One of the things that appealed to the organization was the positive influence they believe Soria’s presence will have on the younger relievers.
Dec. 2: Kelly, Smith and Weaver tendered contracts
The D-backs tendered contracts to all three of their arbitration-eligible players -- catcher Carson Kelly, left-hander Caleb Smith and right-hander Luke Weaver. That initiates the arbitration process for the trio, who can reach a deal with the team at any point leading up to their scheduled arbitration hearings.
Nov. 20: 40-man roster adjustments
The D-backs selected the contracts of shortstop Geraldo Perdomo (No. 3 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 Prospects list), outfielder Stuart Fairchild (No. 13), and right-handers J.B. Bukauskas (No. 10), Matt Peacock and Luis Frias (No. 8), protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft.
The club claimed right-hander Rogelio Armenteros from the Astros and designated right-handers Junior Guerra and Joel Payamps for assignment, removing them from the 40-man roster.
Nov. 1: Merrill Kelly option picked up
Kelly was a bright spot for the D-backs in 2020 before undergoing thoracic outlet surgery in September. Expected to be fully recovered for Spring Training, Kelly’s $4.25 million option was picked up.
Oct. 30: Kevin Cron to Japan
First baseman Cron, who saw limited action for the D-backs in 2019 and '20, was released by the team so he could sign a contract in Japan.
Oct. 28: Declining options
The D-backs declined the club options for relievers Rondón and Guerra, along with starting pitcher Leake. Rondon received a $500,000 buyout, Guerra a $100,000 buyout and Leake a $5 million buyout, which was paid by the Mariners as part of the trade that brought him to Arizona.