The trade deadline came and went with the Diamondbacks only making two trades. On Wednesday they traded Eduardo Escobar to the Brewers for two minor league prospects, 26 year old Outfielder/Catcher Cooper Hummel and 18 year old infielder Alberto Ciprian. Jim covered that trade HERE. Today, just a little while before the official 1 P.M. deadline they consummated just one other trade. Closer Joakim Soria was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays for two players to be named later. In both cases the teams receiving the D-backs players are taking on all of the contracts, about $2.8M for Escobar and $1.3M for Soria.
Mike Hazen addressed the media via ZOOM this afternoon to answer questions about the trade deadline moves that were and weren’t made.
Joakim Soria Trade:
Hazen could not discuss the two PTBNL however he said there were a number of players they would be scouting over the remainder of the minor league season and they would have to make their decision on which players they take around that time.
On Lack of trade volume:
It didn’t sound like he had a lot of interest (or bandwidth) to get much done especially in this trade environment we just saw.
I didn’t necessarily anticipate there would be a mass of trades. I think as you saw on the market that there was a flood of activity coming out of a handful of teams. .......we had some similar players in some similar areas......
We went into this and we talked to Ken and Derrick about it we made the decision we weren’t just going to make trades to move money or do things like that. We were just going to make trades if the trades presented themselves. We didn’t really chase a lot of things just to do stuff like that. We had the opportunity to do those things, we just chose not to do it.
With the trade deadline behind us you’re going to see others coming up behind and having opportunity in the bullpen and on the field, younger guys having opportunity to come up and play. But going out there every night and playing a certain quality of baseball is still important to us.
On off season trade possibilities:
Anything long term that we talked about before, none of those things really manifested themselves. I didn’t really chase a lot of those bigger things either. Anything with longer controllable guys, guys that we get hit on all the time , that take a lot of leg work to do the right deal, those things didn’t really have a lot of legs to them at this deadline.
On Not giving guys up for “little to nothing”
Look, the decisions you have are to just sometimes just move on from a player for little to nothing, and we chose not to do that in a couple cases.
What does Derrick Hall’s comment on hitting the “reset button” mean to him:
He acknowledged the past strategy was to stick with their veteran players and try to compete while trying not to block young players as they come up to date. However that may shift in the near term. However we should expect some “veteran presence” to remain on the roster.
“I still don’t think we have the entirety of our system ready to come up and perform at the major league level to the point where you’re going to see a completely young roster one through 26. There’s going to be veteran presences and players that we obviously have on the roster now that we value.”
From there he seemed to be reaching for words to complete the thought. But he alluded to the team’s position in the division and their relative chances of getting to the playoffs, but finally settled on “Clearly we have to move in a different direction. We have the lowest amount of wins in baseball and it’s not acceptable”
By the time the off season comes around he does anticipate the roster turnover to be more substantial than it’s been at this deadline, and also alluded to the possibility of trading prospects for major league players as well:
I think that there are going to continue to be more and more opportunity for younger players to join the roster. We are going to have to at some point , I believe with the aggregation of young players we have in our system, use some of those players to acquire younger major league players that are going to come onto our roster.
He seemed like he definitely wants to protect the “core” young players that are on the roster now, while at the same time restating the concept of nobody is untouchable
We are going to anchor around some players that are going to be here for a while, but I don’t think we’re going to be in a position to rule out any sort of shift or more aggressive position in the trade market to improve our club because we have to improve our club dramatically.
Could that mean clearing space for some of the young players that need to come up ?
Certainly.................we’re going to take a hard look at this roster.
The Escobar Trade
That trade came about out of a longer term process. We had been talking to [The Brewers] a while and they ended up wanting to move a little quicker so that ended up working out well for us. We got a couple players that we really like that I think fit both ends of the spectrum of long and short term.
Eduardo and Joakim both represented this team with professionalism and class. We knew this day was coming.....because of the way we were playing.....it’s still not easy to watch those guys go. But they are moving to playoff contenders so you feel good about that.
I asked him about the value of getting young players playing time over these last two months and the challenges in doing that with so many veterans still on the roster.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that challenging frankly. Most of our younger players are playing almost every day to begin with . Whether there’s another wave coming up from Reno...we’ll see. I think a lot of those guys, from a position player stand point are still playing every day in Reno and a lot of those guys are just getting to Reno for the first time. There’s going to be more guys coming up and getting opportunity. On the pitching side I feel like as fluid as the pitching has been this year, everyone has gotten the opportunity to come up and pitch.”
I followed with specific, such as what about reduced playing time for Daulton Varsho and with Carson Kelly and Ketel Marte coming back.
I totally get it. I think there is going to be some decrease. Anyone playing every day is probably not in the cards for guys used to playing 6 or 7 days a week of the veteran group. I think there’s a lot of at bats that are out there every day for that group still to maneuver, given the versatility that they have and the opportunities that will be out there.
Hazen knew some things of course that I did not know when we spoke, such as the Covid-19 outbreak on the team that was announced minutes after the call:
The other piece to it, knock on wood, we’ve yet to be healthy to any degree for four straight months. So expecting full health for the entirety of the team for the next two months will be new for us unfortunately.
What has Drew Ellis shown you these last couple of months and how has he improved his stock
We didn’t bring him to the alt site last year and he showed us a lot. He went out to Indy ball and played really really well. It was one of those unfortunate right at the border of where we had to make choices on who was going to be at the alt site and who wasn’t.........he came into spring training and had a great attitude. I don’t think he was happy about that , but he explained the frustration and what he set out to do, and then he’s gone to AAA every day and basically been the same guy. He’s played very well defensively. That is going to be good to see. He’s a right handed bat with some power and done a good job of getting on base. I think he deserves that opportunity. It’s nice to see the entirety of that 2017 draft now on our roster as well.
Hazen said he will get to play, “We want to see what they can do”
Regarding goals for the rest of the season and how that impacts draft position
Wherever we pick in the draft, we’re going to get good players. Getting the first pick in the draft is not a goal of mine. Playing good baseball ......this group of younger players that are on our roster , and there’s a number of them that are going to be here, that are going to be contributing to what we’re trying to build.... playing good baseball is important to me and I don’t think you just turn it on and off. I think going out there to win baseball games every night is important.
Yes, there is a balance there between getting the younger guys...opportunity to go play, vs. guys that might not be here a year from now, yes we have to balance all that out. I think we’ve seen it a little bit this year, even with this group to some degree......you can fall into a rut on the field in the way you’re playing baseball that has some carrying effect, hangover effect. I think playing baseball and pushing to win every game you can is important because I don’t think you just turn it back on when you decide , ok...now were’ gonna compete.
Wishing Mike, his family and all on the team the best of health and a few moments of peace in the coming days.