Following an 81-81 2012, the Arizona Diamondbacks retooled for 2013. They dumped outfielders Chris Young and Justin Upton, got rid of talented prospect Trevor Bauer, added scrappy veterans like Cody Ross, and increased payroll by $10 million. All of that resulted in…81 wins. Oh. All joking aside, Arizona is in good shape this winter thanks to a pretty solid core of players, but there are still some areas where they can improve.
The most significant free agent for the Diamondbacks is third baseman Eric Chavez, who wasn't even a starter for the club. Fellow bench player Willie Bloomquist is also a free agent, but Arizona brings back their entire starting infield and outfield, along with all of their rotation and the key parts of their bullpen. Furthermore, the Diamondbacks don't have much payroll room to play with – they already have nearly $80 million in salary committed to the 2014 roster, not including arbitration raises for Gerardo Parra and Brad Ziegler, among others.
They probably won't do much in the free agent market, as I mentioned. This team is set up really well for 2014, and the only area I can see them making additions would be on the bench. They don't even need to bring back Chavez or Bloomquist due to the presence of rookies Matt Davidson and Chris Owings. It wouldn't shock me if the only players Arizona went after came on minor league deals – someone like an Alexi Casilla or John McDonald.
If the Diamondbacks want to make some significant personnel moves, it'll come in the trade market. After the emergence of AJ Pollock and Adam Eaton last year, I'm sure Kevin Towers would love to get rid of Cody Ross' contract. Something as simple as clearing the $9.5 million owed to Ross in each of the next two years could give him more flexibility to add a starting pitcher as insurance or another reliever. One unfortunate player who could find a new address for himself this winter is Daniel Hudson, who needed a second Tommy John surgery this past summer. Hudson will be entering his first year of arbitration this winter, and the economics of baseball indicate that it might not be in Arizona's best interests to pay him. If I were Towers, I'd at least listen on mediocre, well-paid starter Trevor Cahill and highly-paid veteran relievers Heath Bell and JJ Putz.
Towers reportedly has a target in mind for his offseason dealing: Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija still has two years of arbitration left, and after a disappointing 2013 in Chicago and his refusal to sign a contract extension, he seems destined to be dealt this winter. Arizona is an interesting destination for the homer-prone righty, and he could end up as a disappointment in the desert like Ian Kennedy. I'm really not sure what else the Diamondbacks would look to acquire in any trades they'd be looking into, and they have more interesting pieces to trade than needs to fill.