Hazen making moves to improve pitching, OF defense

New GM already active before Winter Meetings

Hazen making moves to improve pitching, OF defense

PHOENIX -- New general manager Mike Hazen did not wait until the Winter Meetings to get started on his plan to retool the Arizona Diamondbacks, but there is still much work to be done when Major League Baseball's decision-makers gather next week.

On Thanksgiving Eve, the D-backs pulled off a five-player trade with the Mariners that netted right-hander Taijuan Walker and infielder Ketel Marte while jettisoning infielder Jean Segura, outfielder Mitch Haniger and lefty Zac Curtis.

Prior to that deal, Hazen made a smaller move when he claimed outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker from the Cardinals off waivers.

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The two transactions -- while different in stature -- reveal what Hazen's top two priorities are this offseason: improve the pitching staff and the outfield defense. Look for the D-backs to continue to try and do that during the Meetings.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8 at 7 a.m. MT.

"We're still going to work on the bullpen," Hazen said. "We'll see how everything shakes out. We still have a long way to go between now and even Spring Training starting."

The D-backs' pitching staff ranked last in the Majors in ERA (5.09) in 2016. The addition of Walker gives Arizona depth and a host of young pitchers like Robbie Ray, Archie Bradley and Shelby Miller -- to name three -- that the club hopes will continue to improve.

D-backs trade for Walker, Marte

The bullpen remains very much a work in progress.

After dealing their primary setup man Tyler Clippard and closer Brad Ziegler prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the D-backs were left with a lot of youth and a whole bunch of question marks when it comes to the late innings.

Free agent Daniel Hudson could be a candidate to return, but aside from him, it would seem any help will come via trade rather than free agency given that the payroll budget will remain relatively flat. When it comes to trade chips, the D-backs do have them.

There has been speculation that the team could look to deal ace Zack Greinke, who is 33 and enters the second year of a six-year, $206.5 million deal signed last offseason.

Hazen told reporters at the GM Meetings earlier this month that he was "fully anticipating" that Greinke would be back with the team next year. Whether he is or not could depend on what other teams are willing to give up in what is a thin pitching market.

Hazen on new role with D-backs

Another name you can expect to hear come up next week is outfielder Yasmany Tomas.

While he showed improvement offensively and worked hard on his defense in his second year since defecting from Cuba, Tomas is still a better fit as a designated hitter for an American League team. Trading him would not only free up more money to pursue pitching but also instantly improve the team's outfield defense.

The D-backs still have depth in the infield with Jake Lamb, Chris Owings, Brandon Drury, Nick Ahmed, Marte and Phil Gosselin to deal from.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.