PHOENIX – Even before he officially lashed out at his own trade finale at a posthumous news conference, Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen had regrets.
“One thing I didn’t get back was a starter, I wish we had,” Hazen said in batting practice before Game 1 of the World Series. “Having Jordan Montgomery would have helped us a lot.
“I wish we could do more. … You want to cover every hole you have on your roster. i do. That’s my job, and we didn’t do that. We went into the NLCS without a fourth starter, now we go to the World Series. We’ll see how we do in Game 4, but having Jordan Montgomery would have helped us a lot.
Montgomery, of course, was in the other hole, and it was one of several starting pitchers the Diamondbacks entered in the final day, according to Hasen — one of several starting pitchers the team didn’t land.
“I chased every rookie pitch on the open market,” Hazen added Thursday.
The irony is that with a team that didn’t exactly set the world on fire, Grief took the team to the next level anyway – he rolled the dice. And the results were terrible coming out of the trade deadline to boot. The D-backs have lost nine straight to start August and went 3-16 from July 20 to August 11.
However, without those moves, Tommy Pham and Paul Sewald along with Jesse Peterson and Peter Stzelecki, the Diamondbacks would never have reached the World Series.
That’s what we have to do. “We’re here to help our team, to put them in a good position to win,” Hazen said. “Any chance we get to compete for a game, we’ll buy it.” … We were so bad, it was in itself for me to have the opportunity to buy.
It’s not too hard for a front office to fall into a tanking, risk-averse MO, but this World Series was a feather in the cap for everyone who said “push the switch.” Both Mourning and Rangers counterpart Chris Young have boosted their squads with threats midway through the year. Of course, the results could have been different. But they did not strictly adhere to probability and long-term value.
“From our perspective, it’s been six years of losing, this team is off to a great start,” said Young, who was traded for Montgomery along with Max Scherzer, Arldis Chapman and others. They put themselves in prime position to make a run in the second half.
A deal for the D-Backs with the St. Louis Cardinals for Montgomery was never close. But a bleary-eyed Hazen showed himself on Thursday with the benefit of hindsight in his last-minute selection.
It wasn’t just the general regret that GMs love to-get-it-always-gets-better cliché. There may be a little of that in Hazen’s words — but there are certain potential deals that Hazen says he’ll hold back without offering specifics.
“Yes,” Hazen said Thursday. “Were there ways we could have pushed other deals in different directions? I wouldn’t have regretted not trading Alec Thomas or Brandon Pfadt, I wouldn’t do that again today.”
Were there other ways we could have pushed them that didn’t include those people by adding more expectations to the deal? Where was I supposed to go that way? I do not know. I don’t know the answers to those things. But I know I haven’t found a rookie pitcher. And that’s on me. “
The deals that got the Diamondbacks to the World Series, too, may not have secured enough for some of the sport’s fellow griefers to begin with.
(Mike Hazen Top Photo: Daniel Schrey / MLB Photos via Getty Images)