After the Arizona Diamondbacks overhauled their front office and tabbed Chip Hale as manager late last year there was a general consensus around the baseball community that it would take time to build a winner in the desert.
The so-called experts were in many ways correct, although the D-Backs have made significant strides in 2015-staying in the playoff conversation through the end of July.
So what is at the top of the to-do list this winter when analyzing the roster?
It’s pretty apparent according to one baseball insider.
“They need a veteran to lead this rotation,” ESPN’s Pedro Gomez told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat during his weekly interview Wednesday morning. “That’s the biggest thing they need right now. You can’t have five inexperienced, even though there’s talent, younger players who have never gone through it.”
Gomez cited a similar situation in Chicago where the Cubs inked Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal this past off-season. While his record is only 10-10, he’s helped young fast-rising stars like Jake Arrieta succeed in the “Windy City.” He believes, whether it be via free-agency or trade, adding a top-end ace is a must if the franchise hopes to be back in the playoff discussion late next summer.
Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir or Yovani Gallardo are veteran starters who could help Arizona’s young group featuring Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley, Zack Godley, Robbie Ray and others.
Under Hale’s guidance Arizona has become a top 10 offensive team in hitting, doubles, triples and stolen bases. They’re also among baseball’s best in fewest hits and home runs allowed.