Venom Strikes Roundtable: Arizona buyers or sellers?


With the trade deadline fast approaching, are the Arizona Diamondbacks buyers or sellers? Which player on the roster will not be here when August begins?

After an abysmal 2014 season, the Arizona Diamondbacks have bounced back with competitive and exciting baseball through the first half of 2015. They entered the All-Star Break at 42-45, and several games up on where they were last year at his point.

However, while the season is a far cry from last season and has fans excited about Diamondbacks baseball again, it has left the team in an interesting position heading into the trade deadline. That position is whether or not to be buyers or sellers.

At 42-45, all it takes is one hot streak to propel you into playoff contention and one cold streak to plummet your season and send it crashing to a halt. With the Diamondbacks in the midst of a rebuild with talented young players on the major league roster along with talent in the minors, they could just choose to stay the course with what they have and maybe make some salary shedding moves as opposed to going one direction or the other.

That could be something as simple as shipping off an Aaron Hill, Oliver Perez or another veteran who could be of use to a contending team. Some of those moves might require taking on some salary in return or sending a prospect off with them like the much-maligned Touki Toussaint trade with the Atlanta Braves.

With the trade deadline exactly two weeks away, the Venom Strikes writers discussed whether or not they think the Diamondbacks should be buyers and sellers at the deadline, and who from the roster should go.

Tom Lynch

1. Are the Diamondbacks Buyers or Sellers?

It is really hard to tell which way the Diamondbacks are going to go at the trading deadline. They were 40-41 through half the season, within striking distance of a playoff spot.  Personally, I don’t think the pitching staff as a whole can compete with the other contenders within the division and outside of it.  That being said, it is clear the D’backs want to win as quickly as possible.  All you need to do is look at the Touki Toussaint trade a month ago.  He can’t help them now or in the near future; his dollar commitment and the dumping of Bronson Arroyo’s contract will go toward immediate needs.

In the end, I think they will be light sellers. Of course, you could argue that they won’t be doing anything come July 31st given how they have already made two big deals over the last six weeks.   There isn’t much left to trade other than Aaron Hill and Oliver Perez. With his outstanding 2015 season, the team would have to be bowled over for Brad Ziegler. The Snakes are at least two pitching pieces away from playoff contention.  I don’t see anything major happening until this offseason.

2. Who will go in trades?

The Diamondback who will be gone by July 31st will be Oliver Perez.  Andrew Chafin as emerged as the main lefty out of the bullpen and as the season goes on, he seems to become a less important. When September rolls around, the team will no doubt want Matt Stites back, recall Addison Reed and perhaps get their first look at Jake Barrett. Another factor to consider is that his contract is done after this season.  I can’t see him re-signing in Arizona. Might as well see what you can get for him.

I don’t think Aaron Hill is going anywhere.  I think that is a trade that needs to be made during the offseason. Even though Jake Lamb will be playing virtually every day now at third base, I think the team still likes having Hill around as a fill-in and power bat off the bench.  He will be the first to go this offseason.

Charles Jackson

1. Are the Diamondbacks Buyers or Sellers?

This is the hardest question in baseball for any team hovering around .500, let alone being a few games below. Historically speaking, team that play .500 ball through the All-Star break make the playoffs less than half the time, so the numbers are already against the Diamondbacks. Add in that they seem to be losing momentum into the break (lost their last three and now sit at three below .500) and it’s almost too difficult to make the case for being a buyer. They are currently five games out of the second wildcard berth, so they are close enough to make themselves believe if they come out of the break playing very good baseball. In 2004 and 2005, the Astros were 44-44 and 44-43, respectively, and made the playoffs. In 2007, the Cubs were 22-31 at one point and made the playoffs. In that same 2–7 season, the Phillies were 44-44 and still won the division.

What aided each of those teams was poor play by teams ahead of them in the standings. So, the Diamondbacks could swing either way, but I believe they will be neither buyers nor sellers in the traditional sense. They still have a couple contracts they want gone (Aaron Hill chief among them) and a team out there may be willing to take a swing at him helping out, that would look like they are sellers. However, they may also trade for a couple bullpen arms and maybe another catcher (can;t seem to have enough of them catcher retreads these days), that would make them seem like a buyer. Truthfully, any moves they make are not going to be of the major variety, so I believe it is safe to say they are sticking to their plan, even if the playoffs are in site. I don’t think this regime believes a chance at a single wildcard playoff game is worth mortgaging the future for.

2. Who will go in trades?

Aaron Hill, Jeremy Hellickson, and Cliff Pennington are three three names that keep getting thrown around. If they get the chance to get rid of the first two and be free of the financial obligations, I think they do it. For Pennington, I think they would hold out for something that could help the pitching staff this year. There is one more name that has been mentioned, but I do not think they can part with for any real return; Addison Reed. I do think some teams are going to come calling about Ziegler and Hernandez and with the right offer, I can see both being expendable. Both are very good arms, but at this time, the Diamondbacks fit the role of pretender more than contender.

Guillermo Salcido

1. Are the Diamondbacks buyers or Sellers?

The Dbacks are in a rare position in which they’re relying on young talent that has also produced at a better-than-expected rate. That makes these time difficult to judge, so I’ll say they will both buy and sell. They’ll look to strengthen areas of concern (bullpen) while shipping off older players that don’t figure to be in the plans for long.

2. Who will go in trades?

Aaron Hill and his contract will be difficult, near impossible to move, and especially with a tough season. That shouldn’t discourage Arizona from trying however. With the emergence of Andrew Chafin, a much older Oliver Perez is also expendable.

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