Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen spoke with reporters on a phone conference this afternoon to discuss the trade of David Peralta to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league catcher Christian Cerda.
Mike Hazen audio
Can you take us through your thinking on the trade today?
Mike acknowledged that where they are in the standings dictates the move they made today. While he hopes they won’t continue to have to make these type of moves the reality of the current standings situation, and the team’s depth chart could not be ignored.
Given where we stand today we still have to make decisions that in the best long term interest of the organization.....David is an impending free agent . The one area of our operation that you could pretty much confidently point to that we have more than our fair share of is left hand hitting outfielders, especially those that will play a corner. So it made a lot of sense for us to make sure that A.) we made a trade to get a good player back, and B.) Open up opportunity for others that need to play that position as we move into the second half.”
What can you tell us about Cerda, and was the philosophy to go for a player with more upside?
“We talked a lot about that. We have made an effort to recognize that a lot of the trades we have made over the last few years in some of these types of deals we wanted to round out guys that would be contributing on our team or near to our team . We may still do some of those things because they’ve been valuable trades for us. We still want to try to take shots at guys that have a chance to be an every day catcher at the major league level.
[Cerda] Is a 19 year old kid who’s having a very good season. Our scouts that we recently ran in there like a lot about what he brings to the table. As a catching profile I think sometimes these can be a little further away than other positions just because that catching position demands so much. It’s not an area in our organization that we have guys moving up through the system as rapidly as we like. We wanted to continue to find opportunities to acquire these guys when we could.”
Later in the call Mike spoke further on Cerda. They went after him when he was an international amateur at 16-17, despite being born in the Bronx. That’s where a lot of these evaluations do start. Things change from the time they are 16-17 years old to when they are older in somebody’s else’s system. Their international scouts and cross checkers and kept going back and looking in on his growth.
They like his makeup, which is key to catcher, He’s bilingual, he’s got power, can control the strike zone. Catching takes more projection at that age and development.
What Peralta meant to franchise:
“He meant a lot. It was a tough conversation, an emotional conversation. He brought energy, enthusiasm, an he’s a really good player for us. When I talked to him on the phone we walked through the thought process here and he understood that. There’s the thought process in trading one of your players that we know is a fan favorite. Those are not easy trades to want to sign up for. But having to remove that at times , with the thought being that there’s a new generation of fan favorites that I hope are starting right now. I hope people see that on a nightly basis with some of the guys that are going out there and competing the way they are today, and knowing that there’s more coming in those particular spots. It doesn’t make it any easier to tell David Peralta that we trade him. The way we’re trying to put this back together again in the immediate future, that position is a tough position for us, given where a lot of our really good young players are.
David and I joked about I need to do a better job of getting pitching instead of left handed hitting outfielders. “
Other Trades ? Nothing else pending or imminent, but that could change. This trade came together quickly in the last 24 hours.
Jake McCarthy: is going to get the lion share of the opportunity in the outfield. I was told separately, off line, that Seth Beer is a candidate to return to the DH role as well.
Trading players under control for the next few years?: Due to time pressure it didn’t sound like any of those types of moves are pending, as they take more time to evaluate. But there is still a lot of interest in many of their players.
Was trading Peralta always most likely ?
“Nothing is ever for sure. Trading the younger guys is just more complicated. The deadline no matter how you slice it up is designed for this to be the transaction that’s most likely to take place. I think the ones where you’re trading prospect for prospect are a little more challenging”
Did you discuss the opportunity for David to play for a contender ?
While Mike would not say specific details of his conversation with David and made clear he was offering his own opinion, he said: “ David in his career has been to the playoffs before, now given another chance to go to the playoffs and play on that stage, be a hero potentially, yeah...why wouldn’t you want to go do that. It’s what the best moments of our game are built around. I personally look at it that way. This is a person that is going to get a chance to perform on a stage that we might not be able to provide immediately.”
How much is positional depth a factor in deciding who to move if they do move a player under control for several more arb years?
Creating holes that I can’t fill is going to be a complicating factor in a trade, for sure. It’s not going to be the only factor. If there is a really good baseball trade that I feel like organizationally we need to make, and roll the dice on what that’s going to be, we’ll have that conversation.
There is still a huge value in what we’re going to do in the next two months with the 3rd hardest schedule in baseball. We play almost every one of the playoff teams. There is a value in how we are going to continue to play a good brand of baseball. So these young kids experience that. So the 2022 team is still of a lot of importance to ME and others I know, but the 2023 team is important as well.
Creating a bigger to do list in the off season is not exactly what I’m looking to do. I’d like to be able to knock some of those things off going into the off season. But we’re not going to be closed minded.