MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Hot Stove
It’s going to be another interesting hot stove season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have already made moves under the new leadership of Tony La Russa, Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson. Chip Hale was named Manager in October and Hale wasted no time rounding out his staff. Mobile Bay Bears Manager, Andy Green, will be the new third-base coach, Mark Grace will be the assistant hitting coach for 2015. Glenn Sherlock, who has been with the organization since its inception, moves from third-base coach to bench coach, with Henry Blanco shifting from assistant hitting coach to a dual role as a bullpen catcher/coach, which is something this organization really needs. Pitching coach Mike Harkey, bullpen Coach, Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., hitting coach, Turner Ward, and first base and running coach Dave McKay will return for the 2015 season.
Former closer J.J. Putz will be re-joining the organization, not as a player, but as special assistant to team president and CEO, Derrick Hall. Putz will fill a variety of roles, assisting not just Hall, but other departments on both the baseball and business sides of the organization.
As far as the hot stove season for player decisions, they picked up 2015 contract options on pitchers Daniel Hudson and Matt Reynolds. Both spent most of last year working their way back from Tommy John surgery and both will be invited to Spring Training. They also reinstated Patrick Corbin, Bronson Arroyo, and David Hernandez from the 60-day disabled list.
Will Harris was put on waivers and claimed by the Astros. Harris appeared in 24 games for the Diamondbacks during the 2014 season and had a 4.34 ERA. Joe Paterson left the team and signed with the Royals. With several prospects in the minors, Harris and Paterson were going to have a hard time getting roster spots. They out-righted catcher and corner-infielder, Jordan Pacheco, to the minors and he was removed from the 40-man roster. The team would like to bring him back, but he is eligible to sign with any MLB team. With Pacheco’s versatility, it is possible he will be signed by another team and not be with the Diamondbacks for Spring Training 2015.
The Diamondbacks will make some trades during the next few months. They have already mentioned that both Aaron Hill and Miguel Montero are available and that they would like to obtain a pitcher in return for either. They have an excess of shortstops and could move either DiDi Gregorius or Nick Ahmed to obtain catching or corner outfield prospects. As far as signing free agents, catching help will be needed if Miguel Montero is moved. Russell Martin is the top catcher in free agency, but the Diamondbacks will be competing with several teams and will not be able to pay top money after they announced that they would be slashing payroll. After Martin there are not many choices at the catcher position. J.P. Arencibia, John Buck, Chris Gimenez and Nick Hundley are not considered everyday catchers.
When it comes to free agency for pitchers, Stewart said they will not be bidders for Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or James Shields. Those are the top free agents at the pitching position, but there are some other pitchers available that the Diamondbacks might consider. Brett Anderson, who has already been mentioned as a great fit for this team, could be an option. Other options might include, Josh Johnson, Kyle Kendrick, Brandon Morrow, Colby Lewis, Justin Masterson, Edison Volquez, and Ryan Vogelsong. Even Chad Billingsley or Aaron Harang might get some consideration.
Dave Stewart said last week that Mark Trumbo will move to right field in 2015. This is the third time in four years that Trumbo will open the season at a different position. He played 65 games in right field in Anaheim, but has not seen any time at Chase Field. The club plans to use Ender Inciarte and David Peralta as a platoon in left field for 2015.
One other thing to consider during this hot stove season is salary arbitration. Salary arbitration is important part of every team’s off-season budgeting, and the Diamondbacks have several players eligible for arbitration. And, although it does not start until January, the team must exchange yearly contract figures for Cliff Pennington, David Hernandez, Daniel Hudson, Mark Trumbo, Addison Reed and Wade Miley.
With Tony LaRussa, Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson now running the show in the front office, this team should finally find some direction, after some questionable moves in the recent past.
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