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Mike Hazen discusses the return of Zach Davies

The signing sets the stage for the Spring Training competition for the final spot in the rotation.

Zach Davies, wearing the beige Serpentines jersy tags out a Miluwakee Brewers player as he is heading towards first base Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

A couple hours after the team made it official, Mike Hazen spoke with the media to discuss Zach Davies’ return to the desert, as well as a couple other topics that came up along the way.

On Davies

  • “He really stabilized things in the rotation last year, especially from a consistency standpoint. And we love the guy, felt like he was a pro, fits in great in the clubhouse”
  • The team likes how he handles himself on the mound and throws strikes. He specifically mentioned that Brent Strom is a fan of his.
  • Even with a lot of young prospects, the team felt that they needed another starter to at least start the season. It allows more of a runway for the prospects leading into them taking over roles in the rotation.
  • Hazen doesn’t envision the team’s perspective on moving one of the young pitchers to the bullpen. He prefers to avoid that decision at the beginning of the season due to the time it takes to stretch the player back out if the team decides to move them back to starting. However, he didn’t rule out making that decision at some point if the team felt it was the right move.
  • Adding Davies allows the team to hold the starters to a higher standard of competition. He adds depth to the roster, which means if a pitcher struggles, there are more options to handle the situation. Hazen specifically discussed this in the context of the prospects and used Tommy Henry’s initial success and subsequent struggles as an example. However, personally, I wonder if the team feels this idea also applies to certain veteran pitchers who shall remain nameless.
  • A six man rotation is also a possibility at different points in the season, depending on the schedule and if the team needs to get some of the pitchers extra days off. Didn’t specifically commit to anything, just that it was on the table and he believes it could be an option, with the caveat that injuries would change the situation.

Other offseason questions

  • Hazen was asked a few questions about the team’s general approach to signings, as well as the rumors of the team being involved in higher dollar amount contract negotiations. The team went into the offseason aware that there were several holes to fill and avoiding “falling into the trap of thinking we were one player away from being in the playoffs.” Hence the focus on more, small dollar amount contracts.
  • In the near future, if the young players pan out as expected, the team might be in a better position to spend more of their offseason budget on a bigger ticket FA.
  • However, he did address some of the rumors regarding the Diamondbacks being involved in higher level negotiations. He didn’t confirm any specific player, i.e. Dansby Swanson, but he did say that Kendrick had been open to expanding payroll for a “unique” player. Hazen cautioned that this did not mean that they still had another $25 million to spend, as that money would have been specifically for a player, rather than general payroll.
  • Bullpen remains the focus, and they intend to continue to be aggressive. At this point the team is mostly looking at trade options, which makes sense given the remaining options.
  • Payroll “a little north” of $115 million currently.
  • Currently no update on Kristian Robinson, but hopefully they’ll know more in the coming weeks.