Bauer Trade Shakes Up D’backs


So what now? The Diamondbacks’ latest trade, in which they acquired shortstop prospect Didi Gregorius and sent uber-pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to Cleveland, has been dissected from several different angles, both on this site and others, but what are the repercussions that will come after the trade?

DiDi Gregorius’ success will be the deciding factor in the success or failure of GM Kevin Towers. Image: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

There are several positive ones in my point of view. First, it means the D’backs are finally going to let the Justin Upton trade rumors die and keep him in an Arizona uniform for at least the year. Perhaps they can even start to build around him again.

Second, the rotation is pretty much set at this point. Ian Kennedy will be the opening day starter with Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy pretty much locked into their spots behind Kennedy. That leaves the fifth spot open for Patrick Corbin or Tyler Skaggs to claim. But with Skaggs’ ability and his readiness for the majors at this point, it’s a good bet he will win the job.

Finally, it also means that the D’backs finally feel comfortable that they have their guy at the shortstop position. Whether that is Cliff Pennington for this year while Gregorius gets some more seasoning in the minors, or Gregorius wins the job out of Spring Training, the D’backs finally have filled that hole.

There also are several negative repercussions. The first is the D’backs no longer have a disposable upper-echelon trade piece. The D’backs biggest advantage was their depth of pitching prospects at the upper levels of the minors between Bauer, Skaggs and Corbin. One of those three could have been a major trade piece in case the D’backs wanted to acquire a player mid-season in the midst of a playoff race.

Now, that pitching depth is all but gone with Bauer traded and Skaggs most likely earning a spot in the rotation with Corbin serving as a swing-man for the D’backs. After those three, the D’backs still have high-upside pitching in the minors, such as Chase Anderson, David Holmberg, Anthony Meo and Archie Bradley, but they all are still a ways away from being major-league ready.

Second, what do the D’backs do with their other shortstop prospect Chris Owings. Some still view Owings as a regular starter at some point in his future despite his unbelievably bad plate discipline – 22 percent K-rate and three percent walk rate. However, if Owings is in fact going to make it to the majors as a regular, where does he play? There has been some discussion about moving him to second, which would work once Aaron Hill moves on, but it’s also moving a guy from the position he has played his entire minor league career. That doesn’t always turn out well.

Finally, the last possible repercussion of this trade is how Kevin Towers will be viewed as a GM. Many D’backs fans have grown weary of his trades – most of which have been loudly criticized – but this is the biggest. If Gregorius’ bat never develops and he turns into nothing more than another Pennington, and/or if Bauer finds his control and starts to show the dominating stuff many believe he has, Towers may be run out of town.

This trade is the proverbial planting of the flag move for Towers. If it ends badly, it’s on him.