Hazen says D-backs may not be done adding, eyeing encore in '24

February 17th, 2024

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs general manager Mike Hazen met with the media Friday following the team’s third pitcher/catcher workout of the spring. Here is what you need to know about what he said:

The D-backs might not be done adding players
With a number of free-agent bats still unsigned, Hazen did not rule out adding even more pieces to Arizona's roster.

“I don’t have anything to report on that,” Hazen said. “But [managing general partner Ken Kendrick] has told me to continue to improve the team any way that we can, within the bounds that we kind of have. And so we're still out there actively trying to do that.”

It’s time to turn the page
Like manager Torey Lovullo a couple of days before him, Hazen made it clear that the team needs to turn the page from its 2023 World Series run.

“My message is that I'm very proud of what we accomplished last year,” Hazen said. “There were a lot of incredible moments for us as a team and for this franchise. And it's over. It's over. We had our moments, our chance to enjoy it through the offseason, through that whole process, and rightly so. Now we have a lot of things to improve upon.”

Hazen went on to cite the fact that the D-backs won 84 games and qualified for the playoffs by just a single game, something that he doesn’t feel is sustainable and counting on good fortune to clinch a postseason spot in the final days of a season is not what they consider the standard.

“Torey's talked about a standard,” Hazen said. “We've talked about holding that standard at a place that is worthy of being a perennial playoff contender and I think that's where we’re going to shoot for year in and year out.”

Watching the young players perform on the game’s biggest stage during the postseason was encouraging
Hazen was already confident in the ability of his young players heading into last season, but he couldn’t be sure how it would translate in postseason moments.

Now he knows.

“Where I do have a slightly different perspective is [from] watching Alek Thomas hit a home run off of Craig Kimbrel in [Game 4 of the NLCS],” Hazen said. “To do that in that environment, you never know that that's in there, until you get to see it.”

Hazen went on to cite a key home run by Corbin Carroll in the Wild Card Series, Gabriel Moreno’s big hits in the Division Series and right-hander Kevin Ginkel getting huge outs late in games.

“That was all done by young kids and those kids are all still here,” Hazen said.

There will be a real balance between bringing guys along slowly this spring and being ready out of the gate
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo talked about bringing aces Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly along a little slower this spring after they both pitched a lot of innings during the regular season and postseason last year.

Come Opening Day, though, everyone needs to be at their best, a lesson learned from last year’s pennant stretch.

“There's a fine line between wanting to take care of [them] physically and doing the right thing -- we don't exactly have the answer for that so we shoot in the dark a little bit using the best intelligence -- and having these guys ready to go out and compete,” Hazen said. “Last year came down to one game, and Opening Day could be that one game. We'll forget about it at the end of September, but it could be, and we need to be ready to play on Opening Day.”