The Arizona Diamondbacks enter July with the worst record in the National League, and it looks like the combination of injuries, and the under performance of much of the current roster has left this team at a standstill. General Manager Kevin Towers, Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa, and Team President Derrick Hall now face the reality that this team is going to be sellers at the trade deadline which is only a few weeks away.
This team is willing to put everybody on the market except for 1B Paul Goldschmidt, but this team also has needs, and will be looking to add young pieces. After trading young outfielders Justin Upton and Adam Eaton, and starting pitchers Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs, the Dbacks are looking for young outfielders and starting pitching.
Towers talked to Fox Sports.com’s Dbacks beat writer Jack Magruder about the team’s needs ahead of this year’s deadline: “If you are looking at need, it is probably starting pitching and the outfield,” Towers said. “You want the best players, but if you have to wait a year or a year and a half for a better player, you do. You move toward getting the best player available.”
Part of the Dbacks process this year is shredding salary from the team’s record setting 112 million dollar payroll commitment: “It’s all part of the equation,” Towers said. “When a ball club is 15 games under .500, it’s going to affect attendance. The performance affects attendance. It puts us behind what our projections were. Dollars are part of the equation. That said, it is not all about saving money.”
If the Diamondbacks want to shred payroll, then that means that they need to dump some salary.
Bronson Arroyo is a name that has come up, and if the Snakes dont start playing better they would be willing to move him. Arroyo would be a great addition to a contender.
Didi Gregorius is the guy that the Dbacks could get good value back. Chris Owings has taken control of the shortstop job, and Nick Ahmed is moving up the system quickly making his major league debut last Sunday. Plus, Didi hasn’t really been hitting as of late. Teams would have interest in him because of his slick fielding, plus his contract expires after this year.
Brandon McCarthy has alot of value on the trade market, and it just proves that wins and losses dont matter. He has a 2-10 record and a high era but he has a 3.88 FIP in 72.2 innings and he has struckout 87 while only walking 18. Teams that are looking for starting pitching value control. McCarthy has not been a great fit in Arizona, and dont be surprised if he is one of the first guys dealt out of Arizona.
The Diamondbacks have second basemen Aaron Hill under contract for the next few seasons and given his under-performance this season its going to be hard to move him, and most importantly get something of value back. However, if teams come calling about Hill, the Dbacks will listen. Rumors have been flying around that the BlueJays are interested in a reunion, and I am sure Arizona would at least listen. Plus if the Snakes keep Didi, then they can play him at second base, and Owings at SS which makes it more valuable to trade the under-performing Hill.
The Dbacks would also love to shred some of Cody Ross‘s contract but its going to be tough to deal him because of his performance. He is batting .184 this season since coming back from his injury but he could be valuable for a contender that is competing for the playoffs. Keep in mind in 2010, the Marlins placed Ross on waivers and the Giants picked him up, and he helped them get to the World Series. I dont think the Dbacks can get much for him though.
If the team really wants to shred some payroll, an option might be to move left handed specialists Oliver Perez and Joe Thatcher. Both have pitched well this year, and it just seems like there are contenders that are looking for a left handed specialist for the run to October. That makes both Perez and Thatcher valuable. Thatcher is a free agent next season, while Perez will make 2.5 million in 2015. Perez has a 2.27 era in 35 appearances. What makes Thatcher valuable is what he does with inherited runners. He rarely allows them to score. Dont be surprised if both are dealt.
The Dbacks should also look to deal reliever Brad Ziegler. Granted he has been very valuable for this team, but he is having another great seasons and teams that need bullpen help like the Angels will have interest in him. I think Arizona could get some quality young talent back for him as well.
The Dbacks are uncertain if they want to deal Hill and the same goes for third basemen Martin Prado. He is owed 11 million over the next two seasons. The Dbacks do have guys like Brandon Druy developing in the minors at that position, but Prado despite having a down year this season, is still valuable to this team.
One other thing to keep in mind, is that the Snakes are unlikely to trade Gerardo Parra, as they believe he is part of the core for the future. I also dont see many teams inquiring about Trevor Cahill who is struggling in the minors.
The Dbacks will also look to make some moves to improve this team long term. If they are looking for young outfielders and starting pitching they have some options. One option in the starting pitching market is Jason Hammel who could help stabilize the rotation. Dont expect Arizona to trade for many pieces, instead expect this team to get some young talent back, after trading young talent over the past couple of years.
The Dbacks have a nice young core in Goldschmidt, Owings, and OF A.J Pollack to build around for the future. Towers has made it clear that they are not doing a complete tear down, rather they are retooling and looking to shave some payroll. The Dbacks camp believes they can be competitive next season.
If Patrick Corbin can return to health, and David Hernandez, Mark Trumbo, and A.J Pollack can return healthy then this team could be competitive. An OF of Trumbo, Pollack, and Parra is formidable. The emergence of young pitching talent in the minors also gives this team hope.
No matter what Arizona does at the deadline, expect the team to be very active through July 31st.
Notes: The Diamondbacks got some good news on the injury front last night. Owings only has a bruised shoulder and should return after the All Star Break. Mark Trumbo is about 10-14 days from returning, and Bronson Arroyo hasn’t started throwing yet but he should start doing that soon. In other news Dbacks first round pick Touki Toussaint will make his pro debut tonight with the Arizona League. With All Star Voting ending tomorrow it looks like Goldschmidt will start for the N.L at first base.