SAN DIEGO — As Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings wound down on Wednesday evening, the Diamondbacks were still holding their full stable of talented, young outfielders. A trade, club officials said, was not close. But it did appear closer than at the beginning of the meetings.
General Manager Mike Hazen said talks surrounding his outfielders advanced this week to the point that specific — and intriguing — names had surfaced.
“We have enough specificity around some of these (discussions),” Hazen said, “that I feel like we’ll have some decisions to say yes or no.”
There appears to be no shortage of interested parties when it comes to outfielders Daulton Varsho, Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy.
According to sources, perhaps a third of baseball’s 30 teams have checked in on at least one of the Diamondbacks' outfielders, with two new clubs reaching out for the first time on Tuesday. Sources say the interested teams include the Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brewers, Marlins, Reds, White Sox and Yankees, among others.
As for what the Diamondbacks could get in return, a number of possibilities remain in play. Talks are said to involve players at a variety of positions, with second base, third base, shortstop and catcher looking most likely. The club is focused primarily on right-handed hitters.
The Diamondbacks are said to have high asks on their players. They are not looking to take back prospects but rather to acquire either an established big leaguer or a major league-ready player who will serve as an upgrade or plug a hole. Hazen said the Diamondbacks are talking about deals that include just one player coming back and those that include multiple players.
“We have some things we’re still working on that I feel like we’re going to be in a position to make decisions on,” Hazen said. “There haven’t been any trades made (at the meetings). That doesn’t surprise me with the activity in the free-agent market.”
Hazen said he expects that as free agents continue to come off the board, more attention will be paid to the free-agent market. The name that could most impact the Diamondbacks’ situation is that of Brandon Nimmo, the best center fielder on the open market.
The Diamondbacks did not participate in Wednesday’s Rule 5 draft, nor did they have any of their players selected in the major league portion, which came as something of a relief to the front office.
The Diamondbacks had been bracing for the possibility of losing outfielder Dominic Canzone and had even heard through the winter meetings grapevine that he could be the first player picked. Instead, the Diamondbacks will keep the left-handed hitting slugger in their organization.
“He’s a good player,” Hazen said. “He’s a good hitter. It adds to our stable of guys who will come into spring training. We have a lot of left-handed hitters, but we’re happy to keep him. We really like him.”
Canzone hit .300/.367/.500 with 22 homers in 394 at-bats this year between Double-A and Triple-A.
Manager Torey Lovullo said he asked second baseman Ketel Marte to make sure he was strong “from the waist down” in hopes of recapturing some of the range he lost compared to previous seasons.
Range for infielders figures to be even more important next year with new rules going into effect that will prevent teams from shifting aggressively.
“We need to make sure you’re agile, strong and making the movements left and right as good as anybody when you step into spring training,” Lovullo said, recounting his recent conversation with Marte. “It doesn’t mean pick up a baseball right now. But if you need to get on the beach, get on the beach and make your movements. You need to get strong from the waist down was my defensive message.”
Lovullo, speaking to reporters during a media session this week, visited Marte at his home in the Dominican Republic last month. He also spent time at the club’s Dominican facility and visited with a handful of other players, including shortstop Geraldo Perdomo and right-hander Luis Frias.
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Dbacks’ outfielders drawing heavy interest as meetings conclude