On this site, we’ve been pretty outspoken about our discontent with some of the higher profile moves made by the Diamondbacks front office this offseason. But we were not at all surprised to find that overall, we considered the offseason moves to represent a net positive. To give the front office an overall grade for the offseason, the Inside the ‘Zona writers assigned grades to each individual transaction. We decided to look at “quality” separately from “impact” — that way we could grade smaller moves on how we viewed their true quality.

Below, you’ll find individual grades for each of the offseason transactions we identified. Each transaction was rated from 0 to 10 on “impact,” as well as from -10 to 10 on “quality.” Overall, giving proper weighting to each transaction, we gave the front office a score of 1.2 on a scale of -10 to 10.

That’s not bad, but it’s not great either. We found that we loved most of the smaller deals, and actively disliked the larger ones. Only five of the 21 transactions we rated had an “impact” score of six or more; of those five transactions, only the extension for Kirk Gibson got a positive score from us. The Trumbo trade represented the biggest negative overall, while the hiring of Dave Duncan as a special assistant was the transaction that brought the score up the most (although the extensions for Brad Ziegler and Josh Collmenter were not far behind).

Please note — we did not include the Daniel Hudson deal, because we didn’t have terms. We also didn’t have terms for the extensions for Gibson and Kevin Towers, but we graded those as if the terms were neutral, or not important (our opinion might change if we find out they’re exorbitant).

For a full breakdown of the scores, check out this spreadsheet (note the formulae are not active in that version). For the readers: how could you score each of these transactions?

Designated Tony Sipp for assignment (released before non-tender deadline)

  • Quality average: 6.3
  • Impact average: 2.3
  • “Sipp was replacement level last year, but was set to make much more than a replacement player. FO was smart to drop a LHP that was no longer an asset.” — RPM

Named Dave Duncan special assistant/pitching consultant

  • Quality average: 9.7
  • Impact average: 4
  • “Cost nothing, only upside, guys loving the opportunity already.” — JW (more)

Re-sign LHP Matt Reynolds to 1 year/$550k deal with $600k option

  • Quality average: 7.3
  • Impact average: 2.3
  • “There’s not much to say here. Matt Reynolds had Tommy John surgery in September 2013, so he will not pitch in 2014. Look for him to be a staple of the bullpen in 2015.” — RG

Non-tender RHP Daniel Hudson

  • Quality average: 1.3
  • Impact average: 0.3
  • “I came out negative here because I thought not doing a deal before the deadline led to too much risk of another team swooping in. Still, a deal did get done, which can only help the club.” — RPM (more)

Sign C Henry Blanco to minor league deal

  • Quality average: -2.7
  • Impact average: 2.3
  • “Sounds like he wants to coach, which could be good, but we need a real option behind Miggy.” — JW (more)

Sign LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith to minor league deal

  • Quality average: 6
  • Impact average: 1
  • “Rowland-Smith provides the organization with depth. It’s always nice to have a guy in Triple-A with major-league experience in case someone gets hurt.” — RG (more)

Traded LHP Tyler Skaggs and OF Adam Eaton for OF Mark Trumbo, OF Brandon Jacobs, and RHP A.J. Schugel

  • Quality average: -6.3
  • Impact average: 8
  • “I think that this trade speaks volumes about the D-backs’ opinion of Skaggs, who was nearly untouchable last offseason. He had a few major-league starts last year, and it seems that the Diamondbacks didn’t like what they saw.” — RG (more)

Select RHP Marcos Mateo in Rule 5 Draft

  • Quality average: 8
  • Impact average: 0.7
  • “Little chance he makes the roster, but as high-upside insurance against multiple reliever injuries, an excellent Rule 5 selection. Best player in that draft, and I love the move toward going young in the bullpen.” — RPM (more)

Traded RHP Heath Bell, LHP David Holmberg and cash considerations for RHP Justin Choate and OF Todd Glaesmann

  • Quality average: 1.7
  • Impact average: 4
  • “KT essentially sold a mid-level prospect in exchange for shedding Heath Bell’s contract. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Heath.” — RG (more) (even more)

Traded 3B Matt Davidson for RHP Addison Reed

  • Quality average: -1
  • Impact average: 6
  • “I can see the benefits, but this isn’t the kind of move to fall in love with.” — JW (more) (even more)

Signed 3B Eric Chavez to $3M, 1 year deal

  • Quality average: 6.7
  • Impact average: 4
  • “Chavez is a quality pinch-hitter, and he can play first base or third. Along with being an above-average bat off the bench, he provides leadership and a veteran presence.” — RG (more)

Agreed to terms with RHP Brad Ziegler, 2 year/$9.5M, with $5.5M option ($1M buyout)

  • Quality average: 6.7
  • Impact average: 5.3
  • “Ziegler will make close to market rate for a good non-closer reliever, but his ground ball skills are reliable year to year, his skill at double plays can be worth half a win a year, and the short-term deal with an option was great.” — RPM (more)

Claimed LHP Santos Rodriguez off waivers

  • Quality average: 5.3
  • Impact average: 1.7
  • “This guy could walk Alcides Escobar. It’s a nice idea if they think they’ve identified a way to improve him.” — JW (more)

Signed RHP Josh Collmenter to 2 year/$2.425 extension with options

  • Quality average: 8.3
  • Impact average: 4
  • “How they got this guy to sign this deal, I have no idea. His time as a starter weighs down his overall stats, but he is probably the best long man in baseball, and the deal — which includes two great options — is breathtakingly friendly to the club.” — RPM (more)

Signed LHP Joe Thatcher, 1 year/$2.375M

  • Quality average: 1
  • Impact average: 4
  • “The team didn’t have much of a choice with his salary, but as the only lefty in the ‘pen, he’s gotta be better in ’14.” — JW (more)

Signed 1B/OF Shelley Duncan to minor league deal

  • Quality average: -0.7
  • Impact average: 0.3
  • “Duncan gives the organization depth at first base and the corner outfield spots. He could be called up if Goldschmidt or an outfielder is out for a considerable amount of time.” — RG

Agreed to terms with GM Kevin Towers

  • Quality average: -3.3
  • Impact average: 9.3
  • “KT has made many moves that have been lambasted by the baseball world. There have been good moves too. He stole Aaron Hill and John McDonald for Kelly Johnson. Still, there has been more bad than good. He has sold low on too many prospects — exactly what a midmarket team like the Diamondbacks needs not to do in order to survive.” — RG (more)

Agreed to terms with Manager Kirk Gibson

  • Quality average: 3
  • Impact average: 6
  • “The guys generally love Gibby and aside from looking for the right lineup combo too often, he’s done a fine job.” — JW (more)

Agreed to terms with OF Gerardo Parra, 1 year/$4.85M

  • Quality average: 3.3
  • Impact average: 2
  • “There wasn’t much noteworthy about what this deal was — what it’s not (an extension) is the real story. With this deal, the D-backs set up a situation in which Parra’s value could rise quite a bit before his final year of arbitration.” — RPM (more)

Agreed to terms with OF Mark Trumbo, 1 year/$4.8M

  • Quality average: 1.3
  • Impact average: 2.3
  • “We rated this deal as a positive, because it could have been much worse. But at this salary for his very first year of arbitration, Trumbo’s value as an asset will go way down for 2015, and he might even become a non-tender candidate for 2016.” — RPM (more)

Signed RHP Bronson Arroyo, 2 year/$19M with $11M option ($4.5M buyout)

  • Quality average: -5.3
  • Impact average: 6.7
  • “It’s more innings, but they’re poor ones, and it forces a series of actions that bump Harris from the bullpen, not making the team better.” — JW (more)

8 Responses to The Inside the ‘Zona 2013-2014 Offseason Report Card

  1. Bill says:

    These statistics are idiotic! Why don’t you wait until the season ends to do your report card when you have some meaningful statistics on which to base your results.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      Sorry Bill! We didn’t think of them as statistics. It’s easy to lose sight of the great small move when most of the focus is on the mediocre or bad large ones. We were curious to know how we viewed the offseason overall.

      Anyway, waiting until the end of the season wouldn’t change these scores at all, unless we found out the front office had some game-changing information we didn’t have at the time. These scores are not about outcomes, they’re grading the moves as moves. A bad move can, with luck, turn out well; a good move can turn out badly. Also, if we always withheld judgment until seeing the full outcome of a move, we’d usually have to wait much longer than one year.

      Thanks for reading!

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Bill, I think what we accomplished here should taken as a snapshot in time. These ratings, as we saw them, are reflective of how they position the team heading into 2014, and that’s it.

  2. Dave says:

    These are mostly reasonable. I’d say that parting with Holmberg to shed $5MM would grade as a negative move though. Holmberg doesn’t really fit in with the prototypical Dbacks pitching prospect, but I’d say he has value in a high floor and potential durability in the MLB. I’ll admit the money is nice, maybe I’d feel differently if I didn’t know in advance that Kevin Towers would just throw it away.

    I’d be a lot harsher on Davidson for Reed too. Towers painted himself into a corner (sort of) with that trade and extension for Prado, but Davidson is pretty widely-regarded as a solid position player prospect, which is by no means a slam dunk but still somewhat more valuable than any reliever other than a Craig Kimbrel type. Addison Reed is solid for a reliever, but that’s not a glowing endorsement. He’ll also probably project to earn quite a bit in arb, so the Dbacks probably didn’t really save too much money.

    • Ryan P. Morrison says:

      Dave, I’m pretty much on the same page. As Rod pointed out when we were hashing this stuff out, the fact that the Holmberg trade was innovative doesn’t necessarily make it better. But I still like it as the FO selling something it couldn’t use for a tangible benefit.

      As for Reed-Davidson, I completely agree that Towers backed himself into a corner. The fact that the trade was necessary is built into the grade for the Trumbo trade (at least for me). Once we separately accept the Trumbo trade, I’m lukewarm on Reed-Davidson.

  3. […] winter, we evaluated this team and thought it would be a tough season. More specifically, we thought that the team could be […]

  4. […] from Bronson Arroyo, who has a 4.39 ERA. Collmenter’s contract extension, which I’ve called “breathtakingly friendly to the club,” was a fantastic deal for the D-backs when it was […]

  5. […] up to the task and if there’s one thing we do around here, it’s evaluating baseball. Just like we did last year, it’s time to grade the 2014-15 offseason. Here’s a reminder of how we graded each […]

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