Hale: D-backs made ‘progress’ in 2015

PHOENIX — A 15-game improvement in the standings with a core of talented young players and an aggressive style has the Arizona Diamondbacks believing they are headed in the right direction.

A year after finishing with the worst record in baseball, Arizona made a significant turnaround under first-year manager Chip Hale.

"It’s a work in progress," Hale said, "and I think we made some progress this year."

Arizona finished 79-83, third in the NL West.

Here are some things to note following Arizona’s turnaround season.

CASH COMING: A new local television deal will bring considerable revenue to the franchise, but Stewart downplayed the idea of acquiring a high-priced, free-agent pitcher.

"I’m not sure what we want to do in that," he said. "It really comes back to doing a strong evaluation of what we have here. If Patrick Corbin one year from now is healthy, and we did get him through this season healthy, throwing the ball well, showing great signs of the pitcher he was in the past, then I’m not too sure there is a necessity to go out and get that guy.

"But if it makes sense … then we’ll do what’s necessary, I guess would be the best way to put it."

NEW CLOSER?: Sidearm pitcher Brad Ziegler took over the closer role from ineffective Addison Reed early in the season and finished with 30 saves and a 1.84 ERA.

Stewart doesn’t see the need to find a more traditional closer.

"Ziegler, while not the strikeout pitcher your typical closer is, the bottom line is he gets results," Stewart said.

MEDICAL REPORT: Four pitchers were coming off Tommy John surgery: Corbin, Daniel Hudson, Matt Reynolds and David Hernandez.

"We wanted to get to the end of the season with those guys pitching competitively, but being careful so that we ended the season with each of those guys being healthy, excited and ready to get into a full winter of working out with a clear feeling about coming into 2016," La Russa said.

All four finished the season in good shape.

Of particular concern was Hudson, who came back from two operations. He had a strong year, hitting the high-90s (mph) regularly in a relief role. In 64 relief appearances, he went 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA.

La Russa said it has not been determined whether Hudson will return to the rotation or stay in the bullpen next season.

"We just know that he’s a terrific asset," La Russa said.

YOUNG STARTERS: The Diamondbacks are counting heavily on Corbin returning to pre-injury form after a solid comeback season. He was 6-5 with a 3.60 ERA.

Stewart identified Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray as the team’s three top starters. De La Rosa (14-9, 4.67 ERA) led the staff in wins and is 26. Ray (5-12, 3.52) is just 24.

CROWDED OUTFIELD: The Diamondbacks have three outfielders who will compete to play alongside Pollock: Ender Inciarte, David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas.

La Russa said that’s a good problem to have.

La Russa said the team has Tomas on an improved nutrition diet in hopes of having his weight down as the Cuban player enters his second season.