Mike Hazen continues to walk the tight rope that is being the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. First, he had to start rebuilding a farm system that ranked near the bottom of the league when he took over in 2017. He's done that, and the Diamondbacks now rank near the top of the league according to most MLB experts. Then, he had to unload certain players he felt were earning more than their play justified, based on mid-market franchise standards. He did that, with Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke trades. Last but not least, he had to replenish roster talent with similar production, but more reasonable and well-distributed contracts. With the additions of Kole Calhoun, Madison Bumgarner and Monday's trade for Starling Marte, he seems to have done that. Hazen had to walk that tight rope with about half of the resources he experienced as a front office executive for the Red Sox.
What this means for the Diamondbacks is simple. It means Ketel Marte, the Diamondbacks most valuable player, gets to play second base full-time. That means no more running around in the synthetic turf at Chase Field, which may or may not have led to some of Marte's injuries. It also means Eduardo Escobar can be locked down at third base, and Jake Lamb can be moved into a sub and utility role, playing between third and first base. So, not only is Starling Marte, a former All Star and 2x Gold Glove winner, now the Diamondbacks' centerpiece in the outfield, he also works as a linchpin for the stability in their infield. All this, and Hazen only gave up his 7th and 9th best prospects, and will pay the 31-year-old Marte just $24 million over two years.
In a league with no salary cap, where large market teams regularly spend up to $170-240 million in payroll, Hazen's had roughly $100-$140 million to work with. There is no wiggle room. For the Diamondbacks to compete, in the same division as the Dodgers, takes constant maintenance, continual shrewdness and tireless opportunism. Hazen's been able to practice all three. He's walking the tightrope, and building one of the most impressive resumes in Major League Baseball.