GM Mike Hazen Uncertain If Diamondbacks ‘Closed The Gap On Paper’ With Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers had some early trouble with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, specifically during a series at Chase Field, but then went on to dominate their head-to-head meetings en route to running away with the National League West title.

The Dodgers set a franchise record with 111 wins that was also good for the best record in baseball. They finished 16 games ahead of the second-place Diamondbacks and cruised to a 10th NL West championship in the past 11 years.

That didn’t amount to October success as the Dodgers were eliminated in the NL Division Series for a second consecutive season. They responded with an influx of talent in adding Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Tyler Glasnow and Teoscar Hernández, among others.

Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen gave the Dodgers credit for their flurry of offseason activity and wondered if they still remain significantly better than the team he oversees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

“That attention [on the Dodgers] is deserved,” Hazen said. “Baseball is built on 162 games and the fact is over 162 games, they were about 20 games better than us (actually 16 in winning the NL West). We can’t unwrite that. Yes, we got hot in the playoffs and played our best baseball of the season for an incredibly large stretch of October, which is exactly what you want to have happen. But when we sat there with 84 wins to get into the playoffs, the discrepancy and the disparity between the two clubs was fairly stark. And nothing’s changed with that. I think we’re both better than we were at the start of last season. I’m not sure we closed the gap on paper.”

The Dodgers running away with the NL West gave them a first-round bye for the postseason, whereas the Diamondbacks needed to go on the road to face the Milwaukee Brewers in a best-of-three Wild Card Series. Arizona swept Milwaukee and took that momentum into Dodger Stadium.

After winning the first two games against the Dodgers, the D-Backs finished off the NLDS sweep in Game 3. Their impressive playoff run continued with an upset of the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Championship Series before losing to the Texas Rangers in the World Series.

Diamondbacks transactions

While the Dodgers committed to more than $1 billion in player salaries during the offseason, the Diamondbacks’ most notable additions in free agency were re-signing Lourdes Gurriel Jr., plus signing Eduardo Rodriguez and Joc Pederson, and a trade for Eugenio Suarez.

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