In good shape, D-backs still plan to talk in Dallas
Club pondering starting pitcher, relief and backup first baseman
PHOENIX -- The D-backs head to this year's Winter Meetings with a good deal of their winter shopping already done.
Arizona re-signed infielders Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Hill and John McDonald already and has very modest needs as the front office looks to improve a team that won 94 games and the National League West in 2011.
Still, general manager Kevin Towers will have plenty of discussions with other teams and player agents during the Meetings, which will run from Monday-Thursday at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.
Below is a look at the club's offseason checklist:
Starting pitcher: The D-backs will continue to kick the tires on acquiring a starting pitcher and weigh that against the possibility of offering arbitration to left-hander Joe Saunders. The D-backs do not want to get tied up long-term with a pitcher given the fact that they feel top prospects Jarrod Parker, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer are nearly ready for the big leagues. If they go multi-year with a pitcher, it's going to have to be someone they view as more than just a stop-gap.
Relief pitching: The D-backs like the depth of their bullpen, with closer J.J. Putz and setup man David Hernandez leading the way. Throw in Brad Ziegler, Bryan Shaw, Joe Paterson and Micah Owings and Towers likes what he sees. Another veteran arm for the mid-to-late innings, though, would be nice as well as possibly another left-hander to go with Paterson.
Backup first baseman: With Paul Goldschmidt entrenched as the starter, the D-backs would like to have a veteran left-handed-hitting backup. Their main target thus far has been Lyle Overbay, who was signed as a free agent in August. If they can't agree with him, look for them to try and grab another veteran free agent. This will not be an area on which the club spends much money, however.
Who they can or need to trade:
LHP Joe Saunders: If the D-backs decide to go a different direction and acquire a starter, they could try and deal Saunders rather than non-tender him.
RHP Jarrod Parker, Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley; LHP Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, David Holmberg; INF Matt Davidson and Chris Owings; OF A.J. Pollock and Adam Eaton.
The D-backs will not deal Parker, Bauer, Bradley, or Skaggs for sure and are unlikely to part with other top prospects given where the organization is in its development. The D-backs invested heavily in the Draft the past two seasons in an effort to rebuild the team's talent pipeline.
Big contracts they might unload:
Saunders, Owings, Ziegler, Miguel Montero and Ryan Roberts.
The D-backs always play this number close to the vest, but figure on the club ending up right around $65 million, which is what last year's payroll was. That gives the D-backs a little money to spend this winter, but keep in mind, ownership has been willing to go over budget in the past if there is a player the GM feels could put the team over the top.