Arizona Diamondbacks – Hazen seeks pitching at Winter Meetings

Brandon Drury (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Brandon Drury (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Could Mike Hazen, general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, be in a position to deal Jake Lamb at the winter meetings

At this point in the off-season Mike Hazen, general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, seems to cleaning the cupboard.

Thus far, one promise appears on the way to resolution. That would be dismantling an unproductive bullpen here at the start of the Winter Meetings in suburban Washington, D. C. So far,  Hazen has kept his promise. Several of whom Hazen concerned as marginal in the 2016  Arizona bullpen is gone.

At this point, Hazen said good-bye to pitchers Edwin Escobar, Dominic Leone, Daniel Hudson, and Rubby De La Rosa. Added was right-hander Taijuan Walker and at the meetings, Hazen could likely lay the groundwork for additional transactions.

At the meetings, Hazen still needs to restructure the 2017 Diamondbacks and help create an identity. That would include finding an everyday spot for Brandon Drury, who hit .282 with 31 doubles, 16 homers and knocked in 53 runs.

In Drury’s case, this is how he finished the season. After Aug. 25, the native of Grants Pass, Ore. hit .365 and that was the third best in the majors behind the Reds’ Joey Votto (.375) and the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina (.370). In his final 46 games, Drury hit.350 with Runners-In-Scoring-Position, and that was after starting the season going 3-for-39 (.077).

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A third baseman by trade, Drury was thrust into the outfield by then manager Chip Hale last season, but would be an ideal fit at third. Blocked by Jake Lamb there, Hazen might consider moving Lamb, whose value now is likely quite high. That would free Drury to play third and eliminate guessing where to place his productive bat in the line-up.

In concert here, that would create competition for second base between Chris Owings (.277, career high in hits and stolen bases) and newly acquired Ketel Matre, picked up from Seattle in the Walker trade. Throw in for added competition Jack Reinheimer, Ildemaro Vargas, Phil Gosselin, Domingo Leyba and Dawel Lugo, and Hazen could identify a starter as well as create depth. This is predicated on the fact that Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo decide to go with Nick Ahmed at shortstop.

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Given his acumen, intelligence and judgment, Hazen will likely go after pitching in the meetings this week. There’s no question Diamondbacks retain a lethal offense but, to no one’s surprise, pitching, as in starters and the bullpen, remain a principal priority.