“Don’t forget to call in this afternoon at 6:30PM MST to listen to an exclusive conference call with D-backs Executive Vice President and General Manager, Mike Hazen. Hazen will be answering questions previously submitted by Season Ticket Holders regarding the state of the team, his plans for the future, and more.” the email read. Listeners were automatically put on mute. I took notes by pen and paper as I watched my youngest play in the backyard. I may have been enjoying a slim-can of Michelob Ultra at the time as well. Below are what I took away from Hazen’s Q&A session.
I do not remember the interviewer’s name but this person referred to Hazen and “The Architect”.
Question 1: Thoughts on the current state of the Bullpen?
Hazen immediately stated the BP has provided strength to the D-backs season and commended their work. He feels that the new BP acquisitions will “settle in” but recognized that the BP vets have carried the team thus far. He specifically named Chafin, Bradley, and Hirano. Hazen said Torey decides how and when to use the BP. Hazen went on to say he hoped the September callups could “ease the burden”.
Question 2: Buchholz Extension?
Hazen appreciated the question but deflected into the usual GM speak, “it’s very complicated in September during a playoff run” and he would not discuss publicly or privately an extension at this time of the season. He notes that both parties have a advantage in talks. Hazen went on to report that a Buchholz extension has been discussed internally within the front office but he does not want that type of talk to become a distraction during the fight for the division and postseason.
Question 3: Looking ahead to possible Peralta and Goldschmidt extensions.
Hazen would not grace this question with any definite answer. Once again Hazen said he would not comment publicly or (even) privately about this topic. He went on to talk about how these types of conversations typically are best handled in Winter and that MAYBE if the D-backs were in a different place in the standings right now, with regard to contention, that the team may be more aggressive with these extensions. But that it is his wish to keep “most of the team together”.
Question 4: Explain the 3 catcher thought process.
Neither the interviewer or Hazen made mention of a 4th catcher....Hazen went on to respond “at a minimum JRM was out of options after we signed Jeff and Alex”, and he did not want another team to claim JRM. Hazen also recalled that having 3 catchers worked out when Avila went down and that a roster move or acquisition was not necessary to go after a catcher during this time. Hazen kicked aside the 2nd part of the question something about “wouldn’t it be better to have 2 catchers and a FT PH instead of carrying 3 catchers?” Hazen offered up his wisdom by stating that #1, “being a good PH is extremely difficult”, and #2 “it’s better to have a PH in September and October” when rosters expand.
Question 5: Will the D-backs spend more in 2019 off season?
As of now the D-backs organization is focused on last minute signings and Hazen said he is more focused on the 8-31-18 midnight “deadline”. Hazen also recalled that the team “spent heavily” in the last few season to get where they are today and followed by saying it was “too early” to think about it.
Question 6: Why was Bracho sent down (when he is one of the best in the BP)?
Hazen seemed to sigh and take a moment before he answered this question. He was blunt and said Bracho “had options” when the “team needed flexibility”. Hazen did express that Bracho “is one of the best”, but in the end it was between Bracho and McFarland and he was unwilling to expose TJ to waivers. Bracho will be back in September as he will be needed in the pennant race. Hazen claimed there was many complicating factors.
Question 7: Farm system is ranked in the low 20s, what are we doing to improve the farm?
Hazen was quick to reply he “does not put stock in rankings” and that he considered those rankings more of a snap-shot. Basically that 18 year olds were too young to rank and that things change over night. He went on to admit that there was still a lot of work to do and he was unwilling to deplete the farm to acquire players. Hazen went on to say that the ultimate “goal is to win the WS” and “not have the #1 ranked farm system”. He also called Taylor Widener “The Future” of the D-backs.
Hazen’s final thoughts:
“Looking forward to an exciting September”, with an “unbelievable schedule and challenges”. Hazen ended the session by saying the team was focused on winning the division.
Suppose you could ask Mike Hazen one question... What would you ask?