As the 2012 trade deadline approaches in a little over a month, it is time to evaluate the current squad and determine what we need moving forward. The Arizona Diamondbacks (34-35) are only eight games back of the division-leading Dodgers, still have a lot of baseball to play, and have played better baseball as of late.
Perhaps the team is only one or two players away from being in serious contention for postseason discussion. But who should we go after? Who should we trade?
Conventional wisdom would suggest that pitching depth is the greatest need for any team in contention for postseason play around the All-Star break. After all, starting pitching is supposed to win you a World Series. Ask the 2010 Giants.
However, the Snakes have plenty of starting pitching. Actually, we may have too much of it. With Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs waiting for their shot to do some damage at the big league level, the team may have to make some room as opposed to adding more depth.
Wade Miley has certainly pitched his way into the Rookie of the Year discussion, and has earned his spot in the rotation, so we will not include him in this discussion. Ian Kennedy certainly has the ability to be an ace, but has not done so consistently to this point of the season. Trevor Cahill has pitched much better after his first month of the season, and looks to be a staple in the rotation for the next few years. Daniel Hudson has been the most inconsistent starter this season, losing his ability to control his secondary pitches as of late. That can be attributed to an injury that kept him out for nearly a month. I can see him working with pitching coach Charles Nagy to straighten out his mechanics.
That leaves us with Joe Saunders. I love that we were able to bring Saunders back on a one year deal to complete the rotation until the youngsters got a little more exposure in the minors. He got off to a hot start in April, but has since cooled down in his last ten starts, putting up a 4.20 ERA in those games. He will be a free agent at the end of the season and will most likely not get resigned with the depth that the team has.
According to multiple sports outlets, numerous teams have inquired about the lefty, with Baltimore being the most suitable trading partner. The only problem I have with this trade scenario is that I’m not too sure who we would get in return. Baltimore is surprisingly in the hunt for the AL East, and has numerous players on the DL, which only indicates that they should be hesitant to part ways with any major league ready or valuable position players.
The most glaring need that I see on the team is depth at the third base position. I must say, this is difficult for me to write as I am one of the biggest Tatman (Ryan Roberts) fans there is, but he is definitely not as consistent at the plate this season as he was last season. He still has some good pop in his bat and plays his heart out every night, but the fact is we need that production from the third base position every night.
The team has continued to be linked to Boston veteran Kevin Youkilis, as his team is trying to dump his heavy contract and find more production in return. Now, I am a huge Youkilis fan, but I would have a problem with this trade. First off, he has been plagued with constant injuries for the past three seasons, and his production is not nearly what it used to be. Even if we did get him and Boston was willing to eat most of his $12 million contract, I wouldn’t consider him an upgrade over Roberts. He only has four homer runs and 13 RBIs in 41 games. Roberts can be streaky at times, but has five home runs and 29 RBIs in 60 games, and can be a spark plug for the team at times, providing a lot of energy.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the club check into the availability of San Diego third baseman Chase Headley. Although his club is at the bottom of the National League, Headley has been one of the few bright spots on the team, and provides production at a consistent level in one of the worst hitters parks in all of baseball, PETCO Park.
I’d also like to see the team go after some bullpen depth. We all know that to this point of the season, the Arizona bullpen has been anything but consistent. One or two more arms would definitely relieve some late inning anxiety that fans have unfortunately experienced so far this season.
Of course, these are just rumblings and grumblings. Still a long way to go this season, and a lot of time before the trade deadline. I think that our club has a better makeup at this point of the season then we did last year at the same point.