Last week, the Reacts Survey posed two questions to Diamondbacks fans, both rather open-ended ones. Firstly, did the team do “enough” during Free Agency? The answer to that likely depends on what your definition of that word might be. While they certainly did not make the same splash as other teams in the market this winter, they did seem to address the most obviously problematic areas. Those would be: strengthening the bullpen, getting help at third-base and becoming less heavily skewed towards left-handed hitters. Was that “enough”? Again, it depends. The D-backs would appear a better team now, than they were at the end of last year. But competing in the NL West still seems optimistic.
In the end, a small majority - 54% - of respondents did think Mike Hazen and his front-office staff did meet the criteria of “enough”. I think another factor in that is likely one of timing: this is still a team which finished 13 games out of even the last wild-card place last year. On that basis, what was “enough” in terms of positioning the team for a 2024 push, is different from what might be expected from the team next winter. If all goes well, Arizona should have a good idea of exactly what they have from the next wave of prospects, and know what areas to target more aggressively in free-agency. We’ll cross that bridge when, hopefully, we come to it.
The other question was what grade you would give the team for their off-season? This is one which has been discussed in depth by some of our writers. Makakilo was considerably happier in his assessment than James Atwood in his. There are no wrong answers, with the grade being something which depends on your expectations going into this winter, as well as your perception of the moves. We likely won’t have an objective idea of how the trade of Daulton Varsho worked out, for several years into the future. Could end up being anywhere on the spectrum from great to terrible. Even time may not tell. Look at the strongly-held and divergent opinions about the Goldschmidt trade, and that took place back in 2018.
Still, considering the five possible alternative answers, it’s impressive that “B” came close to getting a clear majority, garnering 48% of the votes. “C” was not that far behind, on 35%, and together they represented five out of six answers. “A” and “D” had similar numbers, at 9% and 7% respectively, while “F” barely made it into the results, scoring just 1%. Speaking at least for myself, I think a positive factor is what we didn’t see: any panicky moves, which could potentially backfire and hurt the team financially for years to come. Next winter, Nick Ahmed and Mark Melancon (almost certainly) come off the books, and Madison Bumgarner will cost significantly less. That freedom was not compromised this off-season.