It has been a very productive offseason for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have captured the attention of the baseball world with some stunning moves that they feel will help them make a playoff push for years to come. The organization feels these moves can finally take them from being a middle of the road team to turning them into perennial playoff contenders.
In what many consider to be the most shocking move of the hot stove, the D-Backs were able to land the biggest free agent pitcher on the market, Zack Greinke. The two sides agreed to a historic contract worth $206 million over six years. This move was crucial for many reasons. The first being that Greinke immediately steps in as the top pitcher in a rotation that has lacked a top-line starter for years. Zack gives them a reliable and durable starter to give the ball to every five days. He pitches deep into games, and always gives his team a chance to win on any given day.
Another reason why this move is critical is that they were able to take away a star pitcher from a division rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers. This now splits up what was the most dynamic pitching duo in the majors in the past few years. Now Arizona has someone who can go head-to-head with Clayton Kershaw in their divisional match-ups.
The move was also key because they showed the Dodgers and Giants, who were attempting to sign Greinke, that they are serious contenders in a division that has been dominated by L.A. and San Francisco. Even more surprising is that Arizona showed that they were not afraid to spend money like their division counterparts to contend.
Aside from Greinke, the front office was then able to execute a trade to bolster their pitching staff further. They acquired 25-year-old Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves. Last year, Miller posted a 6-17 record with a 3.02 ERA. 2015 was a standout season for Miller as he became an All-Star for the first time in his young career. However, the trade did come at a price. The D-Backs had to part ways with outfielder Ender Inciarte, as well as prospects Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson, the number one overall pick in the 2015 draft.
With the likes of key players such as Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and Yasmany Tomas expected to heavily produce offensively, and an overhauled pitching staff, the Diamondbacks look to second-year manager Chip Hale to put these pieces together to form a contending team on the field.
Hale, who graduated from the University of Arizona in 1987, led the team to a 79-83 record in his first season. He is certainly looking to build upon his first year experience and build a team that can make strides toward competing in October.
Hale has other successful experiences he can reference to. He has had a taste of the postseason while he was with the Oakland Athletics as a third base coach when the team reached the playoffs for three consecutive years from 2012-2014. Chip was also a member of the 1986 NCAA championship team at Arizona.
All in all, Hale now has an excellent opportunity with a roster of young and experienced players to perhaps finally breakthrough and make the franchise a contender.