Well, the Arizona Diamondbacks finally fell out of first place last night after sitting atop the National League West for over two months. While the struggles of the bullpen have been well-documented here and everywhere, the team has scored a grand total of eight runs in the four games since the end of the All-Star Break. With Paul Goldschmidt basically getting zero help, no other player on the team recording double digits in home runs and no regular player above a .350 on base percentage, the real need for the D-Backs just might be another bat. Given the complexity of the Snakes’ roster and the contracts of certain players like Jason Kubel and Cody Ross, it might be tough for the team to swing a deal for a hitter of any consequence. Also, more teams feel they are in the playoff hunt which means a smaller number of sellers….and bigger prices.
Here are some names to keep in mind as Arizona attempts to find its way back to the top of the division. What will the team have to give up? That’s for GM Kevin Towers to decide. All I know is I don’t want Tyler Skaggs included in any deal. That could make things more complicated but unless he is bringing back something of huge proportions, he is a keeper. Keep that in mind as you read this.
Nate Schierholtz - His Chicago Cubs‘ teammate Alfonso Soriano is the bigger name but Nasty Nate is having himself a pretty decent year. His 11 home runs would place him second among D-Back hitters and his 35 RBI’s would place him third. The lefty-hitter was a member of the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants and mised out on a second ring when he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the Hunter Pence deal. Schierholtz is arbirtation-eligible after the season and will become a free agent in 2014. Arizona’s outfield makeup suggests there is no room for him so any deal would make a crowded outfield a quagmire with Nate having the best offensive season out of anyone out there.
Justin Ruggiano - I know, his batting average is a sickly .202. However, he has pop as his 12 home runs and 32 RBI’s shows and he did hit over .300 in 2012 with an on base average of .374. He is already 31 but only in his second full season so he would be under club control for about four years. There has been no talk of him being traded by the Miami Marlins as Giancarlo Stanton usually gathers those type of headlines. With top prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick called up to the big club, the Fish may be looking to move Ruggiano. A change of scenery could prove beneficial to him and a chat with Wade Miley who can show Ruggiano how to fight through a tough sophomore campaign, may be a nice pep talk.
Marlon Byrd - My New York Met friends will blow a gasket but he is 35 years old and a free agent at the end of the season. Byrd is having a teriffic season with 17 home runs and 56 RBI’s. The price to acquire him will be steeper than the other two guys and if New York does decide to deal him, Met fans will have visions of a repeat of the Zack Wheeler-Carlos Beltran trade dancing in their heads. Hopefully, the D-Backs will ask Sandy Alderson and company to temper their enthusisam a bit. With his contract expiring, what better way for Byrd to ensure financial and geographical stability than by helping a team win its division? A Goldy-Byrd combination would make a feared 3-4 tandem in the middle of the lineup.
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