The general consensus around baseball is that the Diamondbacks are among the league’s most improved teams. Because of the nature of their improvement– giving out the largest average annual salary in baseball history and trading several key prospects– it’s reasonable to think that this is a “win now” team in a “win now” situation.
Diamondbacks brass, however, would beg to differ.
Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said that the team has a long-term blueprint in mind and that immediate success is not necessarily what they are looking for.
“Our plan is like five to six years, not two to three,” La Russa said on Tuesday.
“We’d like to get to the playoffs,” Hall said. “But it’s not just about this year. You look at it, and it’s a five, six, seven-year deal. People look at some of these trades that we’ve made — we’ve brought in an equal number of players that we’ve sent out in all these deals.”
So La Russa and Hall said virtually the same exact thing. This likely means that this is the clear consensus in the front office, and that the team has at least some sort of rough plan for the future.
While the Diamondbacks may be saying this publicly, the team’s farm system is simply not in good position for the future. They traded away their two top prospects in the Shelby Miller deal and gave away even more in the Jean Segura trade. Hence, a relatively weak farm system. ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the team’s system 24th in baseball.
Most of the team’s key players also have contracts expiring after 2018. Shelby Miller, Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock will all be impending free agents after that season and Zack Greinke will be 35 years old. Paul Goldschmidt will have just one year of team control left.
Maybe they do have a long-term plan. But from an outsider’s perspective, the 2016 Diamondbacks are as close to a “win now” team as they come.