The Arizona Diamondbacks could be on the lookout for more talent before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31st. They could seek position players as depth, or seek a serious upgrade to a pitching staff that could use another starter. Either way, this is a team that does need to seek a couple of final pieces for the stretch run.
Of the most prevalent Diamondbacks rumors to surface, there are at least a couple the stand out. One is the idea of acquiring Eduardo Escobar from the Minnesota Twins. With the Twins sitting in second place in the AL Central, but well behind the Cleveland Indians, they’re very much viewed as sellers at the deadline. Escobar is an appealing piece for a number of contenders, given his upside at the plate, as well as his versatility in the field.
Escobar has appeared at both shortstop and third base for the Twins this year, with the oddball appearance at second over the past few. There’s upside with the bat that resulted in an All-Star appearance this year. He’s hitting .274 with a .337 on-base. His wRC+ checks in at 125. This year he’s also flashing the power more than ever before, with a .241 ISO headlined by 15 homers. He’s appealing there, but also because of how the Diamondbacks could deploy him.
It’s not that they absolutely need someone to fill a hole at short or third. Nick Ahmed is an elite defender at shortstop, and he’s been better with the bat than you’d think. Escobar does, however, provide more offense at the position than he does. This is especially true against right-handed pitching. Ahmed is only hitting .208 against righties, while Escobar has gone for a .283 mark against them, with an ISO of .295.
Additionally, he can form a sort of platoon with Jake Lamb, who is having a down year at the plate, mostly because he’s been limited by an early injury. Lamb has never hit lefties well, though, and Escobar presents some versatility there as he’s a switch-hitter. Torey Lovullo would be able to do a lot with his lineup with a presence like Escobar. As a versatile piece, he’s perhaps the most appealing player available. Ahmed and Escobar against lefties, with Lamb and Escobar against righties? Sounds ideal for the Snakes. It’s not a necessity, but would bolster their roster in a very positive way.
The Tampa Bay Rays also present an interesting situation. They’re likely going to sell a few pieces, though it won’t be on the scale of someone like the Twins or the Baltimore Orioles. They’ve flirted with .500 for most of the year, but also play in a division with two of the best teams in baseball. Of the players available, Chris Archer is a tremendously appealing player for the Diamondbacks (as well as a number of teams).
While his year has been up and down, he’s a cost-controlled player with a contract that could potentially run through 2021. Strikeouts are down a touch and walks are up, as well as the fact that Archer is giving up a lot of hard contact (41.6%). But working with a strong defensive group behind the plate could benefit him, as could the change of scenery in general. He’d give the D-Backs a piece for this year, but also the future. This becomes especially appealing if Patrick Corbin walks in free agency.
One of these scenarios is more likely than the other. Escobar is far more likely to be moved, with the Diamondbacks likely having the chops to pull off a deal. What works in their favor with Archer, as unlikely as a move ultimately may be, is the fact that they’ve pulled off two deals with Tampa Bay in the last several months. They acquired Steven Souza Jr.in the offseason before bringing in Matt Andriese this week. That comfortability could go a ways toward allowing them to do what many teams might not be able to in regard to Chris Archer.
It’s unlikely that we’re going to see the trade deadline pass without the Diamondbacks making some sort of upgrade to their roster. Even with the varying likelihood of each of these deals, these are likely the two most appealing pieces for them before July 31st. Either way, stay tuned as we’ll likely hear a lot more as far as Diamondbacks rumors go before early next week.