Will the Diamondbacks trade either Chris Owings or Nick Ahmed this off-season?
By Charles Rahrig V
With a logjam of middle infielders and young talented prospects at the posion, will the Arizona Diamondbacks trade their current infielders this off-season?
Having a lot of talented players at a position is a good problem to have and the Arizona Diamondbacks have that problem with their middle infield. In what’s become a growing trend for the Diamondbacks, they are starting to cultivate talent at many positions and as a result have to focus on the big problem of which players to keep.
The Diamondbacks currently boast a middle infield of Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed, Aaron Hill and utility man Phil Gosselin. They also have stud prospects Brandon Drury and Dansby Swanson. Drury has seen some time this year after being called up. Swanson, the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, is almost major league ready and could see some time next year if there is room for him.
The topic of Aaron Hill has been discussed before, and with his hefty contract it’s likely that he will be on the roster next season unless the Diamondbacks make a trade like the one they did with Atlanta when they got rid of the contract of Bronson Arroyo by tacking top prospect Touki Toussaint onto it.
That move alone brought on the ire of fans and media alike and it’s unlikely the Diamondbacks brass wants to make too many of those types of moves again. So that leaves two possible trade candidates in Nick Ahmed and Chris Owings if the team is ready to move onto the next wave of Drury and Swanson right away.
It is also likely the Diamondbacks trade just one and keep the other rather than rid themselves of the depth that they just had. This could allow for the Diamondbacks to continue to let Swanson get some time in the minors before officially bringing him up.
If the Diamondbacks had to trade one of Ahmed or Owings, which one would it be?
I do believe that Chris Owings or Nick Ahmed will be dealt this offseason. Each has value and brings different skill sets. One and/or both would be considered available because of the logjam of middle infielders the team has. One of our previous discussions centered around Aaron Hill, whom I concluded would remain a D-back through the end of 2016. There is also Brandon Drury who has been promoted and Dansby Swanson who could see time in the Majors in 2016.
Owings is the more versatile of the two having played both short and second for extensive periods with the D-backs. He is also considered the better offensive player, although Ahmed has hit more home runs this season. Ahmed is considered by many as one of the top gloves at his position, and dare I say I franchise-type player in the field. His offense has tailed off noticeably over the last six weeks, perhaps the grind of a full Major League season getting the better of him. While not as good as Ahmed in the field, Owings handles both middle infield positions well.
If I had to choose one guy to go, it would be Ahmed. I think there is more value to him as a plus defender at short over the versatility of Owings. The latter could hold down the fort until Swanson is ready and then be moved back to second. What about Drury or even Philip Gosselin? That is a topic for another day.
It’s the elephant in the room that we hope will be taken care of as efficiently as possible. The Arizona Diamondbacks are about to have a logjam at the middle infielder’s position. Similar cases have been seen in the outfield and at third base, but in the case of the middle infielders, the incumbents are not producing at a high level.
Add the fact that the D-backs selected Shortstop Dansby Swanson with the their #1 overall pick in the MLB Draft, and things get a little more cluttered. I haven’t even mentioned 23-year old Brandon Drury, who could be more offensively capable than Ahmed and Owings.
I believe that Arizona has more time on their side. A move in this offseason is unlikely with Drury unproven at the major league level and Swanson needing to work his way through the minors. Depending on the performances of those, I believe that both Ahmed and Owings could be on the move. As early as the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline, but not this offseason.
It wouldn’t make sense at this time for the Diamondbacks to be actively seeking to trade either Ahmed or Owings. Certainly if the right deal shapes up they could trade either one of them, but with both Drury and Swanson being unproven at the time being, the Diamondbacks could be content to run out the same middle infield as this season.
The Diamondbacks have middle infield talent that they are very excited about and should be excited about. The future is bright and on it’s way for the team. There is absolutely no need to rush the movement on their part and instead let everything work itself out.
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