• Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' blowout win vs. Padres

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ blowout win vs. Padres

  • Taijuan Walker tosses six scoreless vs. Padres

    Taijuan Walker tosses six scoreless vs. Padres

  • Brandon Drury homers in win vs. Padres

    Brandon Drury homers in win vs. Padres

  • Watch out for Dodgers; Cards CBs apply for job

    Watch out for Dodgers; Cards CBs apply for job

  • Diamondbacks outlast Mets in extra innings

    Diamondbacks outlast Mets in extra innings

  • Diamondbacks discuss close win over Mets

    Diamondbacks discuss close win over Mets

  • Diamondbacks' Zack Godley talks after win over Mets

    Diamondbacks’ Zack Godley talks after win over Mets

  • Diamondbacks' Torey Lovullo talks upbeat pace in win over Mets

    Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo talks upbeat pace in win over Mets

  • A.J. Pollock discusses his injury after loss to Pirates

    A.J. Pollock discusses his injury after loss to Pirates

  • David Peralta downplays his injury vs. Pirates

    David Peralta downplays his injury vs. Pirates

  • Torey Lovullo on injuries, loss vs. Pirates

    Torey Lovullo on injuries, loss vs. Pirates

  • Chris Iannetta talks about scary HBP vs. Pirates

    Chris Iannetta talks about scary HBP vs. Pirates

  • Diamondbacks rally falls short against Pirates

    Diamondbacks rally falls short against Pirates

  • Lovullo: Iannetta "said he could play tonight if he had to" after HBP

    Lovullo: Iannetta “said he could play tonight if he had to” after HBP

  • Diamondbacks overwhelm Pirates 11-4

    Diamondbacks overwhelm Pirates 11-4

  • Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?

    Kaepernick blackballed? Greinke now trade bait?

  • Zack Greinke on his near no-hitter against Pirates

    Zack Greinke on his near no-hitter against Pirates

  • Lovullo reacts to Greinke's near no-hitter in win

    Lovullo reacts to Greinke’s near no-hitter in win

  • Diamondbacks snap losing streak with win over Tigers

    Diamondbacks snap losing streak with win over Tigers

  • Diamondbacks drop third straight with loss to Tigers

    Diamondbacks drop third straight with loss to Tigers

  • Shot Clock: D-Backs face pivotal homestand

    Shot Clock: D-Backs face pivotal homestand

  • Torey Lovullo after D-Backs' latest loss to Rockies

    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ latest loss to Rockies

  • Taijuan Walker after loss to Rockies

    Taijuan Walker after loss to Rockies

  • Patrick Corbin after being roughed up by Rockies

    Patrick Corbin after being roughed up by Rockies

  • D-Backs' Torey Lovullo on 'tough night' at Coors Field

    D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo on ‘tough night’ at Coors Field

  • Zack Greinke on impressive outing vs. Rockies

    Zack Greinke on impressive outing vs. Rockies

  • Manager Torey Lovullo after win over Rockies

    Manager Torey Lovullo after win over Rockies

  • Manager Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose series vs. Nationals

    Manager Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose series vs. Nationals

  • Braden Shipley after walking six in loss to Nationals

    Braden Shipley after walking six in loss to Nationals

  • D-Backs' Torey Lovullo after loss to Nationals

    D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo after loss to Nationals

  • Diamondbacks' Robbie Ray strikes out 10 in loss to Nationals

    Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray strikes out 10 in loss to Nationals

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' 6-3 win over Nationals

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ 6-3 win over Nationals

  • Taijuan Walker on his short start vs. Nationals

    Taijuan Walker on his short start vs. Nationals

  • Shot Clock: Rockets sizzle, D-Backs fizzle?

    Shot Clock: Rockets sizzle, D-Backs fizzle?

  • A.J. Pollock on controversial play: "You guys saw the replay"

    A.J. Pollock on controversial play: “You guys saw the replay”

  • Descalso talks about walk-off home run over Rockies

    Descalso talks about walk-off home run over Rockies

  • Lovullo on pitching, more in D-Backs' wild win

    Lovullo on pitching, more in D-Backs’ wild win

  • Corbin discusses his scoreless outing vs. Rockies

    Corbin discusses his scoreless outing vs. Rockies

  • Fernando Rodney talks about his latest blown save

    Fernando Rodney talks about his latest blown save

  • Zack Greinke after outing vs. Rockies

    Zack Greinke after outing vs. Rockies

  • D-Backs' Shelby Miller to have Tommy John surgery

    D-Backs’ Shelby Miller to have Tommy John surgery

  • Diamondbacks fall 3-1 to Rockies

    Diamondbacks fall 3-1 to Rockies

  • Chris Owings on his two-homer night

    Chris Owings on his two-homer night

  • D-Backs' Taijuan Walker on his 11-strikeout performance vs. Padres

    D-Backs’ Taijuan Walker on his 11-strikeout performance vs. Padres

  • D-Backs' Shelby Miller considering Tommy John surgery

    D-Backs’ Shelby Miller considering Tommy John surgery

  • Fernando Rodney reacts to his blown save against the Padres

    Fernando Rodney reacts to his blown save against the Padres

  • Torey Lovullo reacts to Diamondbacks' 'heartbreaking' loss

    Torey Lovullo reacts to Diamondbacks’ ‘heartbreaking’ loss

  • Diamondbacks attendance hits new low

    Diamondbacks attendance hits new low

  • Diamondbacks pull away from Padres for 9-3 win

    Diamondbacks pull away from Padres for 9-3 win

  • Diamondbacks hold on for win over Padres

    Diamondbacks hold on for win over Padres

  • Shelby Miller on his injury, visit with team doctor

    Shelby Miller on his injury, visit with team doctor

  • Arizona Diamondbacks' Shelby Miller discusses arm injury

    Arizona Diamondbacks’ Shelby Miller discusses arm injury

  • David Peralta on his record-setting night

    David Peralta on his record-setting night

  • Robbie Ray reacts to Saturday's win over the Dodgers

    Robbie Ray reacts to Saturday’s win over the Dodgers

  • Diamondbacks use 9-run eighth to overwhelm Dodgers

    Diamondbacks use 9-run eighth to overwhelm Dodgers

  • Paul Goldschmidt on D-Backs' offense vs. Padres

    Paul Goldschmidt on D-Backs’ offense vs. Padres

  • Manager Torey Lovullo breaks down D-Backs' loss, road trip

    Manager Torey Lovullo breaks down D-Backs’ loss, road trip

SAN DIEGO — When they were hired in October, the new members of the Diamondbacks front office inherited a bullpen that ranked among the worst in the majors last season. Not only was there no established closer, there were only two pitchers who appeared to have big league jobs secured. As it turned out, there were benefits to such uncertainty.

“The one thing we had available,” General Manager Mike Hazen said, “was opportunity.”

That opportunity went a long way, and the Diamondbacks have been able to reshape their bullpen into what so far has been a largely dependable unit.

The season isn’t yet two months old, but the Diamondbacks bullpen has looked overpowering and deep, a collection of mostly power arms capable of dominating in short bursts or multiple innings, and seemingly able to do so without being bogged down by strictly defined roles.

Best of all, the Diamondbacks were able to assemble the group on the cheap, putting it together for a guaranteed outlay of about $10 million – or roughly two-thirds what the New York Yankees are paying closer Aroldis Chapman this year.

With five bullpen spots up for grabs, the Diamondbacks started by addressing the ninth inning, settling on veteran Fernando Rodney, whom they gave a one-year, $2.75 million guarantee.

RELATED: Ron Gardenhire back where he belongs – in the dugout as Diamondbacks’ bench coach

They signed him relatively early – agreeing to terms during the winter meetings, before all of the top free-agent closers had come off the board – doing so in part because they didn’t want to risk deep-pocketed clubs circling back on him after missing out on a bigger name. They also didn’t want to risk going into spring training without a closer in place.

“I do think one of the things with a bullpen is, it seems to me that most of the time when teams go into spring training with a closer competition, oftentimes it doesn’t work out,” Diamondbacks Assistant General Manager Jared Porter said. “With Rodney, we wanted to bring in someone who was going to be in that role and have that job, who has done it before, and who could take some pressure off the other guys.”

The Diamondbacks then set their sights on an array of targets. Hazen said the club at least had talks, if not negotiations, with nearly every free-agent reliever on the market, and with a wide-net approach that lasted into spring training, the club eventually signed eight pitchers to minor league contracts, all of whom came to the big league camp to compete for a job.

There was J.J. Hoover and Erik Davis, Tom Wilhelmsen and Keyvius Sampson, Jorge De La Rosa and T.J. McFarland, Brian Matusz and Kevin Jepsen. All had big league experience. All were coming off down years – or seasons spent entirely in the minors. And all came with virtually no risk for the Diamondbacks.

Porter said he broke them down into three groups. First, there’s the pitchers almost certain to get minor league deals; next came a wave of pitchers who were nontendered; and, lastly, there were those who thought they’d get a major league guarantee but had to settle for a minor league contract.

“To me, you have to be patient and know it’s not a sprint early in the offseason,” Porter said. “You try to sign the guys you really like and then try to wait it out after that.”

Not all of them worked out – Jepsen was released in March, Matusz and the club parted ways this week – but from that collection the Diamondbacks were able to cobble together the backbone of a reliable bullpen.

MORE: Jake Lamb sees progress in at-bats vs. lefties

Hoover and Wilhelmsen had dominant springs and easily secured jobs. De La Rosa flashed good stuff but only so-so results, leaving the Diamondbacks with a difficult late-March decision of whether to add him to the roster or potentially release him. Ultimately, they stuck with him, betting on De La Rosa’s stuff and makeup eventually leading to better results.

Hoover (2.57 ERA in 14 innings) and De La Rosa (2.35 ERA in 15 1/3 innings) have elevated themselves into late-innings roles. Wilhelmsen (4.26 ERA in 19 innings) has pitched in a variety of situations.

De La Rosa ($2.25 million), Wilhelmsen ($1.25 million) and Hoover ($900,000) each received relatively modest guarantees upon making the big league roster, and have the opportunity to earn more in contract incentives, as does Rodney.

McFarland, who hung around until late in camp before being sent to Triple-A Reno, worked his way back to the majors in late April and allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings before landing on the disabled list with an ankle contusion. He’s making $800,000.

Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have received excellent results from a handful of in-house candidates.

Starter-turned-reliever Archie Bradley has been a revelation, exhibiting perhaps the most dominant stuff on the staff. Right-hander Randall Delgado shook off a rough start to the season to become a valuable long reliever. Lefty Andrew Chafin, after a rocky season last year, is pitching more like he did during his standout rookie year.

A year after posting the majors’ fourth-worst bullpen ERA at 4.94, the Diamondbacks are tied for the 10th-best at 3.76. They have just two blown saves, making them one of just four teams with two or fewer.

Just as impressive, the Diamondbacks have had success without help from right-hander Jake Barrett, who was the club’s best reliever last year and one of the two who entered the offseason seemingly assured of a job.

Barrett, however, missed all of spring training with shoulder problems; healthy again, he completed a rehab assignment and was optioned last week to Triple-A Reno.

RELATED: Balancing baseball and blood hasn’t been easy for Venezuelan native David Peralta

Along with Barrett, the Diamondbacks also have depth in the form of Rubby De La Rosa, who also signed a minor league deal as he works his way back from elbow problems.

Club officials are quick to give credit to the pitchers themselves for how well they’ve thrown, while also mentioning the contributions pitching coach Mike Butcher, bullpen coach Mike Fetters and others in the organization have made to support them.

But Porter, who oversees the club’s pro scouting department, acknowledges the challenging nature of rebuilding a bullpen with so many jobs up for grabs.

“I think it’s really exciting,” Porter said. “It’s an opportunity to make an impact and also simultaneously provide an opportunity for these players to bounce back or, in the case of Archie or Chafin or Delgado, to take steps forward in their careers.”

Hazen said the lack of clearly defined roles other than closer has given manager Torey Lovullo the freedom to deploy them in a variety of ways.

“Those guys are all pitching really well, whether they came in on guaranteed deals or on non-roster deals, they went out in spring training and earned those spots and they’re pitching well for us,” Hazen said. “It’s a good group. They’ve done their job. It’s been different guys in different spots.”

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

Autoplay

Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Saturday’s game

Diamondbacks at Padres

When: 7:10 p.m.

Where: Petco Park, San Diego.

Pitchers: Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (2-3, 4.57) vs. Padres RHP Luis Perdomo (0-0, 4.19).

TV/Radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).

Ray labored through four innings his last time out, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks against the Pittsburgh Pirates. … Since posting a 1.96 ERA in his first three outings, Ray has a 6.33 ERA in his past five. … Ray is averaging 5.2 walks per nine innings, fourth highest in the majors. … Perdomo allowed eight runs in 10 1/3 innings in his first two starts but has a 3.00 ERA in four starts since. … He has shown improvement in several statistical categories, including lowering his hits, walks and homers allowed and increasing his strikeout rate. … Perdomo throws a sinking fastball that averages 94.5 mph, according to BrooksBaseball.net.

Coming up

Sunday: At San Diego, 1:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (1-0, 1.93) vs. Padres LHP Clayton Richard (2-5, 4.86).

Monday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (5-2, 3.09) vs. White Sox RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-4, 4.29).

Tuesday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (3-4, 4.38) vs. White Sox RHP Dylan Covery (0-3, 7.64).