The Arizona Diamondbacks have won 8 of their last 11 games to slingshot themselves back into the thick of the NL West race this season. Entering Tuesday, they were only 3.5 games back of the division leaders Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
With such a golden opportunity in front of them, you would think that Arizona GM Kevin Towers would do what he could to add some depth or fill in any holes to the squad at the last possible moment.
Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean clearly had that in mind by adding key pieces to their puzzle. The Dodgers added Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino and the Giants added his former teammate Hunter Pence. Both players are good, and both players add significant offense to their respective teams.
That wasn’t the Dodgers first move this trade season either. Los Angeles added former batting champion Hanley Ramirez on July 25th and All-Star reliever Brandon League from Seattle last night.
Arizona has been somewhat quiet this trade season, adding third baseman Chris Johnson from Houston on Sunday, outfielder Scott Podsednik and reliever Matt Albers from Boston today.
Compared to the moves made by the other teams in the division, many would consider Arizona’s trade season as less than ideal. The names acquired and resumes clearly do not compare to the other players acquired.
So why didn’t Arizona GM Kevin Towers do more to keep pace with division rivals?
To be perfectly honest I was happy to see a tweet this morning from Ken Rosenthal indicating that Arizona was looking to make a blockbuster deal to add a premiere starter. I think that is exactly what this team is missing to be considered a serious title contender. Former 21-game winner Ian Kennedy has not pitched consistently well this season, Daniel Hudson is done for the season, and the remaining starters have not performed at the level of other premiere pitchers in the division (Cain, Lincecum, Kershaw).
Unfortunately for Towers, he wasn’t able to come to an agreement with other teams that were shopping their reliever. With a wealth of young starting pitching in the farm system, I can understand not wanting to give up too much for a rental player for the rest of the season. It’s also worth knowing that the majority of other teams in discussion with Towers would have wanted Justin Upton included in any deal, and I personally do not believe it would have been productive to give up a player who is that good, young, with so much potential, and under team control for three more seasons for a deadline deal.
In the end I think Towers felt comfortable with the squad we are currently fielding, but I would have preferred to make a little more noise today to keep pace with the moves the other teams made. I hope it doesn’t come back to bite us in the rear.