D-backs open to every avenue to improve team

December 6th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- The rumor about the D-backs' interest in free-agent shortstop started last week when ESPN's Jeff Passan reported it.

Monday, the first day of the Winter Meetings, MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi said the D-backs were "among the most serious Xander Bogaerts suitors."

Given that another free-agent shortstop, Trea Turner, signed an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies and the D-backs already have a pair of shortstops in and along with top prospect Jordan Lawlar not far away, it seemed a bit farfetched.

But is it?

General managers rarely, if ever, comment on rumors like this, and Arizona's Mike Hazen declined to address Bogaerts specifically or even the shortstop position in general, but his answer to the question about him was enlightening.

"I will continue to reiterate that we are exploring every avenue to make the team better," Hazen said. "Just because something may look on the surface like it’s not a fit doesn’t mean we’re not engaged in that market. We have explored a number of different things that maybe don’t fit the blueprint we talked about maybe in the end-of-the-season press conference through today."

The blueprint that Hazen referred to was his stated desire at the end of the season to improve the bullpen, find a right-handed bat to add to the lineup and increase the team's depth at catcher.

Hazen at the time indicated that third base was a likely place where a right-handed bat would fit, but in the two months since, the organization has had some discussions about other ways to fill that need that may be a bit out of the box.

"We’re still engaged in all that stuff -- how we make this team better," Hazen said. "I don’t think we have the ability to have a checklist and walk down the checklist with the needs that we have. I think potentially opening up needs or filling or creating areas of surplus in [some] ways may be avenues for us long term to make our team better. So we’re exploring those things. There’s multiple positions where I think that fits some of the work we’re doing, but I don’t have anything overly specific on this just yet. That’s the way we’re kind of looking at constructing the team. All options are on the table."

While it still seems unlikely that the D-backs could commit the type of dollars it would take to land Bogaerts and still have any payroll flexibility, it sure seems like something they are exploring depending on how Bogaerts' market shakes out.


Desperate for bullpen help, the D-backs have added a trio of relievers so far this offseason in Miguel Castro, Cole Sulser and Carlos Vargas, and they are not done adding relievers, with some options via free agency and others in potential trades.

"I think we have probably one or two we could do is the way I would look at it right now," Hazen said. "I do think there are going to be opportunities to do that."

Both Castro and Vargas are hard throwers, something the D-backs have lacked in the 'pen over the past few seasons, and whomever they add, they want them to have the ability to miss more bats.

"More swing and miss," Hazen said in terms of what he was looking for. "I think we put a lot of pressure on our team by [allowing] a lot of balls in play late in games."


For the first time, Major League Baseball will hold a lottery to determine the first six picks in the 2023 MLB Draft. The lottery will take place Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. MT on MLB Network.

By virtue of their 74-88 record, the D-backs have a 1.4 percent chance of landing the No. 1 choice.

Vice president/assistant GM Mike Fitzgerald will represent the D-backs at the lottery. While all the teams in the lottery want to win it, the D-backs are trying to not get greedy.

"Fitz is going to bring us good vibes," Hazen said with a smile. "He’s the luckiest guy in our office. So he will take it home. He wants to go fourth. He thinks if we get too greedy and try to go first ... greed doesn’t get rewarded [long term] in this world. We’re trying to show gratitude to the universe and we think four is realistically not greedy."