The Arizona Diamondbacks landed Madison Bumgarner on a five-year, $85 million deal on Sunday.
Arizona have been one of the most active teams in baseball over the last couple of seasons. A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin left in the 2018/19 offseason, and franchise star Paul Goldschmidt was traded to the Cardinals. Midway through the year, Zack Greinke was flipped to the Houston Astros.
The return for Greinke – who was enjoying a great season – stocked the Dbacks’ farm. It stocked it to such a degree, in fact, MLB Pipeline put them in the top 10 farms in baseball. The signing of Bumgarner – on a much lower AAV than Greinke – replaces his spot in the rotation.
The players received for Greinke are all set to contribute. Josh Rojas could be an important player in 2020, Seth Beer hits for power, and Corbin Martin and J.B. Bukauskas will likely pitch in the Majors in 2020. A wildcard spot looks to be well within reach for Torey Lovullo in 2020, and they are set to make it four straight seasons over .500. Mike Hazen deserves enormous credit for the work he has done in the desert.
Despite a farm system that lacked talent just 12 months or so ago, and murmurs of a rebuild, the Diamondbacks have avoided bottoming out. So many franchises – through luck or judgement – end up going that route.
Good player development and shrewd acquisitions can help a team remain competitive despite losing stars. Ketel Marte is perhaps an example of both – he was playing at a near-MVP level in 2019. Christian Walker exceeded all expectations to hit 29 bombs last season. Eduardo Escobar isn’t a big name, but his three-year, $21 million contract has already proven to be one of the better free agent contracts in recent years.
The Zac Gallen for Jazz Chisholm trade wasn’t one many saw coming. It’s too early to judge, of course, but Gallen was superb in his handful of starts last season. Getting Luke Weaver in the Goldschmidt deal gives them another young arm with tremendous upside.
It’s not taken vast spending. There’s a bit of luck, sure, but it’s really down to judgement and thinking outside the box. Hazen has transformed this roster in a short period of time, and rebuilt the minor league system in the process. Don’t be surprised to see some more eyebrow raising moves from Chase Field before opening day.