Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall said Monday and he and general manager Mike Hazen “are always having conversations about his future,” and that the two had talked about a possible extension. “I can’t envision us going a different direction with what he’s built and his [leadership] team, too….I’m more than willing to have conversations with him at any point,” Hall told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
Hazen is nearing the end of his seventh season in change of the Diamondbacks’ front office, and the Snakes are on pace (79-72) for their fourth winning season of Hazen’s tenure. Arizona entered today’s action in possession of the second NL wild card slot, though three other teams remain within a half-game of the D’Backs in the tightly contested playoff race. (The Phillies hold the top wild card possession and are 3.5 games ahead of Arizona.) Should the D’Backs crack the postseason field, it will mark their first playoff appearance since 2017, when they claimed a wild card berth in Hazen’s first season with the team and then advanced to the NLDS to face the Dodgers.
With winning records in his first three seasons in the desert, Hazen received a contract extension in September 2019, which locked up him up through at least the 2024 season (the D’Backs have a club option on his services for 2025). However, the Snakes struggled badly in the immediate aftermath of Hazen’s new deal, going 77-145 over the 2020-21 seasons. Opting against a full rebuild in the wake of those two seasons, Hazen instead retrenched to some extent, signing Ketel Marte and Merrill Kelly to new extensions and hoping for a relatively quick turn-around. That rebound seems to be taking place this season, and NL Rookie of the Year favorite Corbin Carroll leads a crop of well-regarded prospects that could provide the franchise’s next wave of talent.
It isn’t surprising that Hall is interested in retaining Hazen, nor that other clubs have noticed the Diamondbacks’ progress. Hall noted that he and Hazen had discussed an extension prior to the firing of Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom last week, and ESPN’s Buster Olney reported over the weekend that the Sox had some interest in perhaps bringing Hazen back to Fenway Park. Hazen is from Massachusetts, and he previously worked in the Red Sox front office from 2006-16.
The D’Backs would have grant permission to any other team for an interview with Hazen, and Hall said the Red Sox “haven’t contacted me, and I hope they don’t. He’s under contract and we like him.” When asked by Piecoro how the D’Backs would approach a situation where Hazen showed interest in an interview, Hall admitted “that would be a tough one. I feel like we both negotiated a contract for a reason; contracts protect him just as they protect us. He’s aware of that. He’s meant a lot to this franchise. I really like the situation he has navigated and created here, so I just can’t see us going in a different direction.”