This time of year, the word “sellers” is beaten to death. It is a term used to describe Major League Baseball teams that seem to have no hope of making the playoffs and who are now interested in trading players either for prospects or salary relief. One of the few teams who have been labeled this in 2014 is the Arizona Diamondbacks. I have two questions regarding this moniker. The first is are the D’backs true “sellers”? The second is, do they even need to “sell”?
Sellers, in my mind, are losing teams that are looking to dump salary, trade players that are in their “walk” years or deal a player and try to find a solution from within the organization to plug the hole. While the D’backs appear to fall into two of the three categories right now (they already traded Brandon McCarthy,a player in his “walk” year), there is no rule that says the team must sell just because they are 13 games under .500. In fact you can argue that the team not deal away any major pieces until the offseason, if it all.
This is a team that, with the exception of a rotten April, has been a .500 club over the last three seasons. Not bad enough to dismantle completely but not good enough to be a playoff contender. If you are of the belief that a little tinkering and with some better luck with regards to injuries this team can be in the playoff race, why would you trade Brad Ziegler now? He is a vital piece to the club’s bullpen. Dealing him now means you are 100% confident that Evan Marshall and/or Matt Stites will be ready to assume the primary setup role next year. I am not ready to make that claim. Are you? With Ziegler, Marshall, Stites, Oliver Perez (also a guy that is involved in trade rumors) and Addison Reed, the bullpen has the makings of a solid unit now and next season.
Of course, the two big names that seem to be on the block are Aaron Hill and Martin Prado. Both are under contract for the next two seasons with both underachieving to various degrees this season. However, Hill has been hot over the last two weeks and Prado has some value with his versatility. Both contracts are relatively affordable and there are some potential ready answers if either man is dealt. At third base, Jake Lamb is ripping up Double A Mobile with 73 RBI’s. One of the young shortstops could potentially move over to second base in case Hill is on the move. Didi Gregorius played a lot of second base at Triple A Reno this season. Are those both short-term or long-term answers? Another year of Minor League ball for Lamb or a full season at second for Gregorius would be nice. However, using unproven or untested players at positions may indicate a step backwards in 2015. Again, there is no real rush to trade either Hill or Prado right now.
I am not opposed to making any moves at the deadline. After all, who wants to be perpetually .500. I am just a little taken aback that just because the D’backs probably won’t make the playoffs, that means they automatically have to unload talent. When people use the term “sellers” so loosely, it seems as though Player X, Player Y and Player Z have to be moved at almost any cost. That shouldn’t be the case for the D’backs.