Mike Hazen refuses to be a Disneyland dad. He's making us eat our veggies. Now, we'll have to swallow the bitter taste of a losing season, mourn the departure of the only recognizable baseball star in Phoenix and search for any reason to watch the 2020 Diamondbacks.
During this pandemic when fans just want satisfaction, Hazen is acting brutally shrewd. Good.
The small-market Diamondbacks need Dave Ramsey, not Tony Robbins. They're not getting rich any time soon. It's not about reaching for the stars. It's about being practical. Phoenix is the fifth-largest city by population in the US, but its sports fanbases are transient and preoccupied. In the salary-cap-less MLB, a growing coronavirus-induced wealth gap is squeezing the middle and working-class. The Diamondbacks are a plumber making $50k. Hazen is giving them their Total Money Makeover.
The reason Hazen was correct in trading Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke is the same reason he was justified in trading Robbie Ray, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin and Starling Marte, along with any chance the Diamondbacks had to compete for a playoff spot in 2020. We don't know if what they got back will be any good, but you needed to get something.
Bradley and Ray were due to be free agents at the end of the season. Marte was to be due $12.5 million in 2021 if he returned. Chafin was no longer any good. Mike Hazen correctly performed a cost-benefit analysis, and came to the conclusion that the ceiling of keeping those guys wasn't worth the hole in his pocket they were creating.
This small-market franchise is about getting the most out of young talent, selling to-be expensive players at the peak of their value, and creating a slow, incremental trajectory upward. Hazen, with the spectacular Ketel Marte deal he had the foresight to get done, a top-5 farm system and young pieces accumulated through trades, is doing just that.
But, eating your veggies isn't immediately gratifying. Sometimes, it's straight up nauseating. Today was. Next year might be too.
A word of advice to Diamondbacks' ownership? Don't be fad-dieters, going from keto to vegan to Atkins. Stick with Hazen.