‘Tis the Season: Dbacks Remain Focused on Off-Season Blueprint

Arizona Sports News online

Changes were inevitable.

It happens when your organization has failed to gain traction in the standings and the community over the past three years.

From the front office, to the coaches, to the players the Arizona Diamondbacks’ overhaul started in late September and continued into the holiday season with handful of signings and trades over the past few weeks.

The goal being to improve the overall dynamics of the team with an eye on the future, while trimming salary off the ballooned $112 million 2014 payroll of a team which lost close to 100 games. Arizona believes they accomplished that dealing veteran catcher Miguel Montero ($40 million salary) to the Chicago Cubs and left-handed starter Wade Miley to the Boston Red Sox for a pair of high-end prospects.

“The Dbacks are just not the type of franchise that can continue to just pile on when it comes to these big contracts,” ESPN baseball insider Pedro Gomez told Cesmat in a recent phone interview. “They had to [shed]. They [shed] $40 million.”

New general manager Dave Stewart believes the off-season, to this point, has been productive and successful.

“Our goal starting out was to build more starting pitching organizationally,” he explained to Cesmat from the Major League Baseball Winter Meetings late last week. “We’ve essentially done that. We’ve padded our minor league system with some good prospect arms and at the same time at the major league side.”

Stewart is referencing the deal which brought former American League Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove winner Jeremy Hellickson via trade from the Tampa Bay Rays for a pair of prospects. He also mentioned guys like James Shields, Ryan Vogelsong, and Chad Billingsley as free-agent starters who Arizona has been keeping close tabs on. 

“We have to continue to look to make our team better, without a doubt,” he said.  

It’s a trend many inside baseball circles believes will continue this month.

“I’d be surprised if the Diamondbacks aren’t still busy for the next couple weeks,” Gomez explained.