ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS OFF-SEASON OUTLOOK
Last year the Arizona Diamondbacks were the “winners” of the off-season. When it came to the regular season they weren’t on the winning side very often. At the end of the year they finished with the sixth worst record in all of baseball. During the off-season last year they dished out a whole lot of money to sign Zack Greinke and paid a hefty price to acquire Shelby Miller and Jean Segura. The Diamondbacks should indeed take a much different approach than last year if they plan on making the playoffs in the 2017 season.
TRADE AN OUTFIELDER
The Diamondbacks have a problem in their outfield that many teams wished they had: too many outfielders. The smart thing and the likely thing for them to do is to get rid of one. When next season comes they will have A.J. Pollock and David Peralta coming back from injuries. Pollock will take over the center field position, while Peralta will man one of the corners. That leaves Brandon Drury, Yasmany Tomas, Socrates Brito, Peter O’Brien, and newly signed Jeremy Hazelbaker to compete for one corner outfield position. Of course they would like to have some depth so they will need to keep some of them.
The most likely candidate to be traded is Tomas. He is probably the best hitter out of this group, but he will give the Diamondbacks the best return in a trade. Tomas is signed through the 2018 season and then has player options in 2019 and 2020. His contract begins to exceed $15 million per year in each of those option years. The Diamondbacks can get a quality arm in return for Tomas and that is exactly what they need. They can also live without Tomas by deploying Drury, who hit .282 with 16 HR and 53 RBI, out there. Drury can be a solid everyday outfielder while Socrates Brito gets some experience and develops. Tomas is the likely candidate to be moved and I expect him to be gone by the time opening day rolls around.
ADD PITCHING DEPTH
The Diamondbacks tried to bolster their rotation last year by signing Greinke and trading for Miller last off-season. Both of them were truly disappointments this year. However, I expect them both to bounce back next year. If they can get back to form next year, Arizona will find themselves with a nice 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. If Robbie Ray can continue his development he is a solid arm to follow those two up. After those three it falls off. Archie Bradley, Patrick Corbin, and Braden Shipley have not met expectations up to this point. Th Diamondbacks need to add one solid arm to that rotation without overpaying.
They can add an arm via trade (trading Tomas) or signing someone in free agency. They can probably get a better arm in a trade, but there are still some reliable options in the free agent pool. A guy like Bartolo Colon is a perfect fit for them. They get a reliable innings eater who will not require a lengthy contract. However, if they add an arm in free agency it will be to bolster their bullpen.
Add A Closer
The Diamondbacks do not have a true closer and they have absolutely no depth. They could add two or three solid arms in free agency without overpaying. Three names they should be targeting are Greg Holland, Travis Wood, and Brad Ziegler. Greg Holland is coming off a year without baseball and will not be receiving a huge contract from any team. However, he is definitely worth the risk. He was dominant before his injury and there is a chance he can return to that form. Wood is great against lefties and every good bullpen has a lefty specialist. Wood is another guy who will not be going at a substantial price. Ziegler will cost more than Holland and Wood, but he will not cost as much as the top relievers on the market. Ziegler was very good for the Diamondbacks before they traded him and they should try to bring him back for next year. A bullpen that contains Ziegler, Holland, and Wood is a definite upgrade from last year and it should not cost them too much.
DO NOT OVERPAY FOR ANYONE
This section would be to sort out the front office and managerial position, but they already got that done. The Diamondbacks recently agreed to contracts with Mike Hazen and Torey Lovullo. Hazen will become the new general manager, while Lovullo will be the man in the dugout as the new head coach.
The biggest thing the Diamondbacks should do, or not do, this year is to not overpay for anyone. This can be either giving away too much in a trade or giving away too large of a contract in free agency. The Diamondbacks will be looking to bolster their roster this year and there are some names that can definitely help.
In trade talks there are names such as Chris Archer or Chris Sale that will be thrown around all off-season. Both of those guys would be a fantastic addition at the top of that rotation to go along with Greinke. However, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago White Sox will be asking for too much for those arms. The Diamondbacks gave up too much in a trade for Miller last year and they cannot afford to do that again. They need to play it semi-conservative in any trade talks they engage in this off-season.
When it comes to the free agency the field is not deep, but there are some big names out there. Some of those names include Yoenis Cespedes, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, and Kenley Jansen to name a few. All of these players will require a big contract and the Diamondbacks cannot afford to pay another big contract after throwing a lot of money to Greinke last year. The Diamondbacks can add a few mid-level players this year and it would be enough for them to make the playoffs.