Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers met with the media a day after the team finished up the 2012 season. It is an important offseason for the Diamondbacks as the team failed to meet the post-season but is optimistic about the core of players the organization has. The following is a summary of the different area’s the Diamondbacks will look to address.
The left side of the infield:
Towers said that this is priority number one. However there is one problem, there is no depth via free agency at either third base or short stop. Towers said that means they will look more to acquire via trade as a result.
“The left side of the infield is probably the area where there is less inventory,” explained Towers. “As we approach the GM’s meetings this November, we definitely know the guys we have interest in…It takes two to tango in a trade.”
“To me it (shortstop) is an area we need depth in our system other than Chris Owings,” Towers added. “We really lack depth throughout our whole system so if you go out and acquire a major league guy, there is still a need too if we needed to move young pitching to add to our depth in the middle part of the field, we’re looking at that as well.”
Both Towers and Kirk Gibson mentioned that Chris Owings is MLB ready in the field, but still about a year away with the bat. If his option is not picked up, Towers mentioned that Stephen Drew could be at the top of the list of free agent short stops but he doesn’t think the team will bring him back.
One thing the Diamondbacks will need to figure out who is going to be in their outfield in 2013. It is a good problem to have being to overloaded, but the problem lies on which makes the team better in 2013. Currently the team is looking at Upton, Young, Kubel, and Parra along with Eaton and Pollack who Towers says their days are done in the minors.
“I don’t think we will go into spring training with six outfielders,” said Towers. “Pollack and Eaton have probably done all that they can do at the triple A level. It’s my job to clean up what I would say is a good mess because we have a lot of talented players but we have players that really want to play and I think especially our veteran players, they are only going to be better with at bats.”
Who the odd one or one’s out remains to be seen. The way the organization has spoken of Eaton, it doesn’t seem he is going anywhere. Towers has also mentioned that the trade offers for Upton have never been substantial enough so it may not be likely he is traded this off-season.
Starting Pitching depth:
Another good problem the Diamondbacks have going into the off-season is the amount of starting pitchers good enough to make the five-man rotation. Kennedy, Miley and Cahill are automatic but who between Corbin, Skaggs and Bauer will make up the final two spots. With those last three being so young, could the team look to make a deal for a veteran?
“We love our young pitching but the more and more we look at it and after we have had these meetings, we might be looking for more of a veteran guy,” Towers mentioned. “We want it to be competitive. We’ve got a lot of young starters that will be vying for positions, you throw a veteran in there it makes it more competitive.”
Daniel Hudson is not a forgotten man. However, the team learned recently that he might not be back until as late as August next season coming back from Tommy John surgery. If not August, definitely after the all-star break. Oakland proved they could win with a young staff and win a division, but is that the route the Diamondbacks will look to go?
The Diamondbacks have had a very strong bullpen over the last two seasons. J.J. Putz has a club option for $6.5 million but could be bought out for $1.5 million. Towers mentioned how valuable Putz has been to the bullpen and also the entire team as a leader and thinks with the number he will need to reached, he thinks it is likely he will be back.
“This year was even better than it was last year,” said Towers. “To me, as long as you have a strong bullpen you can develop young pitching and you can stay competitive. We have seen organizations that have not had a good pen, and they have not been a successful club. It’s paramount to keep the pen together and to build on it going forward as well.”
Towers would also like to add an arm or two that can shut down left-handed hitters. Towers believe this team has lacked the left-handed specialist and hopes to bring in someone reliable in that facet.