The Arizona Diamondbacks had an unusual season. From a certain perspective, their year was a success. After losing Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, and trading Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals, the Diamondbacks still found a way to post a winning record and play competitive baseball into the season's final week. At the same time, the Diamondbacks seemed as concerned with retooling their farm system and their budget as they were with making the most of their postseason chances, leading to questions about what comes next.
After all, the Diamondbacks are likely to say goodbye to more mainstays this winter. David Peralta, Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, Jake Lamb, and Steven Souza are all entering their final seasons of arbitration, and it seems unlikely they'll all remain in town until next winter. Should the Diamondbacks move any number of those players -- especially Ray and Peralta -- they're likely to beef up their improved farm system even more.
Thanks to an absurdly large draft class and the Zack Greinke trade, Arizona now has 16 players with an Overall Future Potential (OFP) of 50 or more, per MLB.com's prospect rankings. That includes the following players, each of whom could debut as soon as next season:
That doesn't include the likes of Jon Duplantier or anyone else who has already reached the majors.
The question then is what will Arizona do this winter to improve its core of young talent? Trading Greinke freed up a substantial amount of money, though adding Mike Leake ate into those savings a bit. The Diamondbacks, depending on trades, may have just one player making more than $10 million entering next season: Yasmany Tomas, who has taken six at-bats for the big-league team since the start of the 2018 season.
In theory, then, the Diamondbacks should be a team to watch this winter -- if not in the free-agent market, at least in the trade market, where they could consolidate some of their prospect wealth into ready-now players, as they did at the deadline when they shipped out shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm for pitcher Zac Gallen.
It's unlikely that the Diamondbacks will gain enough ground to compete with the Dodgers for the division title next year, however a legitimate run at the wild card shouldn't be ruled out. If anything, it should be encouraged. Mike Hazen and his front office appear to be good at their jobs -- and there's no better way of proving that than by winning as many games as possible.