The 2023 Arizona Diamondbacks were a fascinating team that will undoubtedly be talked about and referenced for a long time. Never have the Dbacks made it to the World Series and not won. You learn the most about people when they are met with adversity more so than success, and if that’s the case we should learn an awful lot about Mike Hazen and Ken Kendrick this offseason. I feel the need to clarify, I definitely do not believe under any stretch of the imagination that 2023 wasn’t one of the best seasons in Dbacks history.
I actually believe it was THE best season in the history of the franchise due to the fact that this team is still so young, controllable, and showed up a season or two early and proved so many people wrong. Seemingly on a daily basis which was just so much fun to be a part of as a fan. However, I can’t seem to shake the sick feeling in my stomach when I think about all that had to go right to get to the opportunity that we had and how every other team in the national league will be doing everything they can to see that the Dbacks aren’t representing the National League in the World Series again. The fact is we are going to see other teams aggressively improving this offseason. And if Kendrick and Hazen are going to stand by their words of trying their best to give this team the same opportunity this next world series, they have work to do.
How much work is likely controversial amongst Dbacks fans. I believe we can break down the engaged Dbacks fan of 2023 into 2 categories:
1. The fan that can remember back to the Parker and La Russa regime that did silly things like trade their #1 pick because they were "going for it". This group of fan is hesitant to see an over mortgaging of the future and probably prefers to stick to the long term plan.
2. The other category seems to be fueled by the idea that Arizona sports owners are greedy and simply do not spend enough money. This group seems to think that spending money will transform this team and chooses to ignore the Padres and the Mets examples.
I believe I am right in between. I think every fan agrees this team needs another top of the rotation arm. Given the free agent market has several of them, I think that should be the most likely avenue of acquisition. More interesting to me is what to do with a lineup that cost this team game 5 along with several games in July and August when all run production would completely cease to exist. To me, this is the most crucial part of the offseason plan.
No matter which camp you fall into, I think fans of this team need to be prepared for another major trade of MLB level talent this offseason much like the Dalton Varsho trade last year. The fact is, as the goalpost moves, the caliber of the player that you need to acquire to meaningfully move the needle shifts. This team already has a foundation. They don’t need to acquire 6 or 7 major league contributors. They need 2 or 3 legitimate impact players. There is likely not going to be enough money in the bank especially with the question marks surrounding the teams TV deal future to acquire all of the needs of this team via free agency.
I feel the need to start this plan off like it has been started every year since I can remember, the bullpen! This may in fact be the first time I can remember being a Dbacks fan where building a bullpen isn’t one of the major focuses of the offseason! Wow! Did you guys ever think you would live to see times like this? I know I didn’t. The 3 headed monster of Sewald, Ginkel, and Thompson gives this team one of the most formidable back ends in the league. Add another year of improvement from Frias and Saalfrank, not to mention Justin Martinez who legitimately came up and dominated last season in stretches like I have never seen from a reliever on this team ever. This should be a strength of this team.
The most common theme I see in many offseason plans is centered around the rotation. For me, it really comes down to who do you believe Pfaadt really is. Watching him in person this postseason I am sold on the postseason version. A 1,2,3 of Gallen, Kelly, and Pfaadt id put right up there with any team in baseball. That being said may as well put an exclamation point on an already relative strength and be in on Yamamoto and Snell. Maybe Kendrick pulls off a Greinke signing. More realistically we get Sonny Gray which I am totally fine with at 3 years 70 million then let the kids fight it out for the number 5 spot.
Most of the focus this offseason has to be on the offense that was literally one of the streakiest I can remember. Like when we were 0-11 with RISP while your ace was throwing a no hitter in the world series. Fortunately, the foundation is there and I think injecting some slug in the remaining areas will make this offense much less susceptible to the streaks where they couldn’t get the big hit. Can you believe that our postseason DH literally had a lower OPS+ in his time with the Dbacks than Perdomo?! (Pham 95 and Perdomo 96 OPS+) The DH spot is easy upgrading that to a 128 OPS+. Jorge Soler at 3 years 40 million.
Third base is the next obvious hole. Part of me really wants to see what Perdomo and Lawlar can do when given free reign over on that side of the infield. Despite what many on this site will argue both Perdomo and Lawlar clearly have the arm to play third. And its not even really a question. However I also don’t know if I saw enough from Lawlar last season to put that kind of pressure on him. Especially when I think there is an opportunity here to be had, and im not talking about Justin Turner. I said this team needed impact remember?
Lets take that 2 years and 30 million it would take to sign him and put it towards the 4 years left on Arrenado’s contract which might I add was significantly front loaded. Cardinals have a surplus of bats but in desperate need of some pitching before they are going anywhere. Trade Slade Cecconi and Blake Walston for Nolan Arenado. Trade values simulator actually has this favoring the Dbacks by 2 value points. Even with a down year last year, he still sported a 109 OPS+. Id definitely take that over the average 88.5 OPS+ from the platoon of Rivera and Longoria. Not to mention all those years of watching him play 3rd for the Rockies. I’ve always liked him.
Outfield with the departure of Gurriel and my belief that some team is going to value him way more that the dbacks will, this leaves an offensive hole after he put up a 108 OPS+. A slightly better option is Lane Thomas with a 114 OPS+. Trade Dominic Fletcher and Jansel Luis for Lane Thomas. Trade values simulator also has this trade favoring the Dbacks by 2 value points. Luis could be replaced by many other prospects all with about the same amount of worth as the Nationals try and retool and Fletcher just doesn’t look like he has much of a long term home here. Also allows me to have Thomas squared back to back in the lineup! One Thomas is good, 2 is better!
- Carroll RF
- Marte 2B
- Arenado 3B
- Walker 1B
- Soler DH
- Thomas LF
- Thomas CF
- Moreno C
- Perdomo SS
Rough estimate of Added 2024 Payroll: 68 Million