Arizona Diamondbacks: Hazen earning fan accolades
By Trisha Garcia
Just over a year ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks optioned a struggling Shelby Miller to the Reno Aces. Since that event, Arizona first-year GM Mike Hazen has seemingly erased fan frustration that was derived from the deal that brought Miller to Phoenix.
As a flashback, the trade for Miller cost the Diamondbacks their 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson, as well as outfielder Ender Inciarte and prospect Aaron Blair.
The baseball world called the trade “a clear, obvious mistake,” “the worst trade I’ve ever seen” and even, “the worst trade in the last 25 years.”
It’s hard to say whether or not the trade cost then-general manager Dave Stewart his job, but he has since said he regrets the trade.
The trade looks even more lopsided considering Swanson has seen almost a year of action, while Miller has spent most of that time in the minors or on the DL. Going forward, Hazen seems to be erasing memories.
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Still, Hazen continues to build the Diamondbacks in a structure he believes is destined for post-season play.
With the trade for Tigers’ outfielder J.D. Martinez, Hazen filled an obvious hole in the outfield and added a significant right-handed power bat.
The internet, specifically Twitter, responded accordingly.
In a poll created by AZCentral on Twitter, 79 percent of fans said the Diamondbacks won the trade.
Fans have momentarily forgotten the Swanson-for-Miller trade from 2015. They may have even forgiven the organization. With thanks to Hazen, deals to get the Diamondbacks into post-season 2017 play isn’t done yet.
At the same time, Hazen mentioned that the team will continue looking for ways to improve before the deadline.
Fans might be happy with the trade for Martinez, but they still agree that the team needs bullpen help.
Coming into play Friday at home against Washington, Diamondbacks relievers are averaging a 3.77 ERA and totalling 12 blown saves in 35 opportunities. However, the bullpen still holds the second lowest ERA in the NL.
While the Diamondbacks have Fernando Rodney (5.58 ERA/1.34 WHIP) in the closer spot, Archie Bradley has been the best reliever in the bullpen (1.45 ERA/0.95 WHIP).
Currently in a rehab program, right-hander Rubby De La Rosa has struggled recently (5.40 ERA/1.20 WHIP), but should return from the DL any day now. Meanwhile, Jake Barrett fills his spot.
If the acquisition of Martinez is to help the offense, Baltimore’s lefty Zach Britton, who is being called the “Andrew Miller of 2017,” could be a strong left arm in the bullpen. The price would be high, and the Diamondbacks are thin in the area of prospects to trade.
Rumors imply that the Dodgers are showing interest in Britton, a one-time American League All-Star, but an injury that sidelined him for two months
The Diamondbacks could risk the concern and potentially steal Britton from their NL rivals, but he likely would not come cheap.
The biggest trade pieces the Diamondbacks have, and could part, are outfielders Yasmany Tomas and A.J. Pollock. Both have suffered from injuries this season, but also haven’t provided much value to the team while they were healthy.
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Throwing in Tomas, cash considerations and maybe even a few prospects, the Diamondbacks could land Britton in Phoenix, That would earn Hazen even more accolades from fans.