MLB: Rating the front offices of the NL West

July 17, 2020; Los Angeles, California, United States; Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman watches game action during an intrasquad game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
July 17, 2020; Los Angeles, California, United States; Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman watches game action during an intrasquad game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

Arizona Diamondbacks

Mike Hazen, Executive VP and GM: -2.1 games

Hazen is the guy who signed that five-year, $85 million deal with Bumgarner. One look at Arizona’s payroll does make you wonder what the D-Backs’ overall plan is.

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In 2020, the team’s 10 highest-paid players included Mike Leake (did not play), Starling Marte (traded to Miami), Robbie Ray (traded to Toronto), and Jake Lamb (released). Absent them, the five remaining best-paid were Eduardo Escobar, David Peralta, Nick Ahmed, Bumgarner, and Kole Calhoun. The cumulative short-term impact of those five upper-crusters? It was -0.8 WAA.

Therein lies the problem for Hazen: finding a reliable core. That frustrating process grew more problematic each time Hazen let a D-Backs player leave either by trade, sale, waiver or free agency. There were 15  such departees in 2020, nine of whom produced positive value for their new teams.

Those values were never substantial, but the cumulative impact was 1.1 WAA weighted against Hazen’s Diamondbacks.

It is possible that some of Hazen’s moves may pay off over time. Not every deal is designed to produce immediate payback. The Marte trade, for instance, brought pitcher Caleb Smith to Phoenix. Smith is a quality arm whose 2020 season was interrupted by COVID. Limited to three starts and 11 innings with Arizona, he presented a 2.45 ERA.

MLB: Rating the front offices of the AL East. dark. Next

Here is a summary of the performance of the Arizona Diamondbacks front office since Mike Hazen became an MLB general manager prior to the start of the 2016 season.

  • 2017:     -1.1
  • 2018:     -1.8
  • 2019:     +1.9
  • 2020:     -2.1