Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo watches from the dugout before the Diamondbacks play the Washington Nationals at Chase Field.

If you’ve been listening to the PHNX Diamondbacks Podcast over the last year, you have probably heard some people refer to me as “Well-Actually” Jesse. I’ve taken a lot of heat around here for being the pessimist — or, as I might argue, the realist. My co-host is Derek Montilla, after all. Of course I’m going to be the reasonable...

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Texas Rangers lefty and potential Arizona Diamondbacks free agent target Matt Moore pitches against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Much like your local big box store after Christmas, the best MLB free agents have been picked over and the Diamondbacks’ options are few. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any. With Gabriel Moreno now in the fold, the Diamondbacks are set at the catching position for 2023 and beyond. Should they choose to do anything else this offseason, third base, starting pitching and the bullpen appear to be the team’s most likely areas for improvement. Out of the three, the bullpen seems to be the most pressing area of need. After signing free-agent reliever Scott McGough earlier this month, Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said he was still looking to add a reliever. https://twitter.com/JesseNFriedman/status/1603503843144192000?s=20&t=OWsjYbH7HpfaS2k8EYaCOQ The D-backs were also linked…

New Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno takes an at-bat with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

The Diamondbacks did some last-minute Christmas shopping on Friday, acquiring catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Daulton Varsho. Moreno, 22, was ranked by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America as the seventh-best prospect in baseball entering the 2022 season. He is currently listed at No. 3 in Baseball America’s rankings — two spots ahead of Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll. “He has the ability to be an impact catcher behind the plate, offensively and defensively,” Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said. “He’s a really good hitter. He’s always been a good hitter. He’s hit since the day he came into baseball. I think that’s the reason that people think as…

Diamondbacks pitching prospect Brandon Pfaadt delivers a pitch for the Reno Aces.

In 2019, Brandon Pfaadt worked primarily as a reliever at Bellarmine, a then-Division II university in Louisville, Kentucky. Entering 2023, he is widely viewed as the best overall pitching prospect in the Diamondbacks organization, and he could break into the big leagues as soon as Opening Day. “He just keeps getting better and better,” Diamondbacks farm director Josh Barfield said. “First year we’re like, oh man, this guy’s kind of interesting. He can throw strikes, has a pretty good changeup. The next year, it’s like, alright, now he’s throwing harder and the breaking ball’s getting better and…you know, Amarillo is not an easy place to pitch and he does just fine there. Then he goes to Triple A, which has…

Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen reacts after allowing a home run to Kris Bryant at Chase Field.

For the first time since early 2020, there is a palpable buzz around the Diamondbacks. It’s not that the Diamondbacks are favored to win the NL West. Heck, the San Francisco Giants just signed Carlos Correa — the latest addition to a long list of obstacles in what is arguably baseball’s best division. It’s that there is an increasing sense among fans that the next generation of Diamondbacks — including Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas and a plethora of young pitchers in Drey Jameson, Ryne Nelson and eventually Brandon Pfaadt — could usher in a new era of Diamondbacks baseball that is not only good, but sustainable. In many respects, that hype is justified. The emerging core…

In a trade for Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Daulton Varsho, Houston Astros starting pitcher Christian Javier could be a primary part of the return.

It’s no secret that the Diamondbacks have been discussing trades for their young outfielders in recent days, but those rumors got more specific on Monday as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the Diamondbacks and Houston Astros have discussed a trade that would send outfielder Daulton Varsho to Houston. https://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/1602400289662935040?s=20&t=0jzApYKySa4MDbe9qiFR7w With free agent Brandon Nimmo now off the board, Varsho is arguably the most valuable outfielder readily available. The only comparable player is the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Bryan Reynolds, who is more accomplished offensively but leaps and bounds behind Varsho on defense. Varsho would certainly net a handsome return in a trade for Arizona, but that doesn’t mean that the Diamondbacks want to part with him. Not only was he one…

Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte could be hurt by MLB's new shift restrictions in 2022.

For the last decade, the sight of curmudgeonly, traditionalist baseball fans clamoring for players to learn to beat the shift by hitting the ball to the opposite field has grown more and more prevalent. Just bunt down the third-base line already, they say. In theory, it shouldn’t be that hard, right? Baseball is a game of adjustments, after all. Opposing...

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The lobby of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, the host site of the 2022 Winter Meetings.

SAN DIEGO — As Day 2 of the 2022 Winter Meetings was winding down Tuesday, Chicago Cubs general manager Carter Hawkins had already prepared himself for another long night of negotiations. “I’m not sure how the circles under my eyes are looking, but you guys can be the judge of that,” Hawkins told the media cohort in front of him at about 5 p.m. PT on Tuesday. “It’s certainly been full bore here over the last couple of days, and I would expect that to be the same tonight.” Yes, Cubs officials who’d made the trip were going to be back in negotiations for most of the night, at least until news broke a few hours later that they had…

Arizona Diamondbacks trade target Sean Murphy homers for the Oakland Athletics.

SAN DIEGO — The Diamondbacks did not make a trade at the Winter Meetings, but they did make plenty of phone calls. According to a report from the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro, one of them was to the Oakland A’s to discuss a trade for catcher Sean Murphy. In 2022, Murphy slashed .250/.332/.426 with 18 homers and 66 RBI in 612 plate appearances. He also ranked third among all MLB catchers in fWAR at 5.1, trailing only the Philadelphia Phillies’ JT Realmuto and the Baltimore Orioles’ Adley Rutcschman. Defensively, Murphy is well-regarded, having won a Gold Glove in 2021 and ranking among the league leaders in pitch framing in 2022. The Diamondbacks’ interest in Murphy initially may seem like an…