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3 things on D-backs' to-do list for 2019

December 20, 2018

PHOENIX -- As the calendar flips to 2019, the D-backs are a team in transition.Though they've gone out of their way to say they aren't planning a total rebuild, they will certainly have a different look in the coming year with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and left-hander Patrick Corbin already

PHOENIX -- As the calendar flips to 2019, the D-backs are a team in transition.
Though they've gone out of their way to say they aren't planning a total rebuild, they will certainly have a different look in the coming year with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and left-hander Patrick Corbin already gone and center fielder A.J. Pollock likely right behind them.
But it hasn't just been departures for the D-backs this offseason. They re-signed Eduardo Escobar and inked right-hander Merrill Kelly to a contract, and they also acquired a pair of players for Goldschmidt that should play big roles next year in catcher Carson Kelly and right-hander Luke Weaver.
Their work, however, is not done. Here's a brief look at some things still left on general manager Mike Hazen's checklist before Spring Training.
Deciding who's on first
The D-backs seem to be leaning toward moving third baseman Jake Lamb across the diamond and pairing him up with a right-handed hitter like Christian Walker or Kevin Cron. That would mean that Escobar would become the primary third baseman.
However, the D-backs could also look to acquire a first baseman either via trade or free agency. That would leave Escobar to play second base if Ketel Marte is the answer to No. 2 on the checklist.

Deciding on a center fielder
The D-backs have said they are staying engaged with Pollock on a return, but given the dearth of center fielders on the free-agent market and Pollock's performance when healthy, he is likely going to get a deal outside of Arizona's budget.
The D-backs have two players on the 40-man roster -- Jarrod Dyson and Socrates Brito -- who have played center, but judging by Hazen's comments, neither will likely be an everyday player. With the free-agent market thin and the trade market pricey, the D-backs could move Marte from second base to center.
That would mean that Escobar would probably shift to second base, leaving a hole at first or third.
Add to the bullpen
Hazen is of the opinion that a team can never have too much depth in the bullpen, so this is always going to be an area he's looking to bolster.
Manager Torey Lovullo said he's leaning towards Archie Bradley being the team's closer, but that could change depending who Arizona adds between now and Spring Training. Two years ago, the D-backs held off on announcing a closer, and because of that, they were able to entice Fernando Rodney to sign for less money since they were able to sell him on the fact that he'd be their closer.
So while you shouldn't expect the D-backs to bid big money for Craig Kimbrel or Adam Ottavino, they will likely add an arm or two, and if a closer should fall through the cracks, they will be ready to swoop in.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.