After a busy offseason that created playoff aspirations heading into the 2016 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks saw them vanish quickly. Star center fielder A.J. Pollock fractured his elbow two days before the first regular-season game, Zack Greinke underperformed in the first season of a massive six-year contract, and the trade for Shelby Miller didn’t go according to plan as the club stumbled to a 69-93 overall record and installed new decision-makers in the front office as a result.
General manager Dave Stewart and VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson were both fired after the season, while chief baseball officer Tony La Russa was removed from his position of influence but is still with the organization. Calling the shots now is former Red Sox GM Mike Hazen, who inherits a farm system that became arguably the worst in baseball after the Miller trade exported a potential franchise player in Dansby Swanson.
In last year’s draft, the old regime targeted players who agreed to sign for slot or just slightly above pick value and handed out $6.1 million in signing bonuses, the fourth-smallest amount among all the teams. The club also sharpened its focus north of the border, drafting three players from Canada inside the top 11 rounds.