MLB Trade Deadline: What do the Arizona Diamondbacks Need to Pursue?
By Randy Holt
As next Tuesday draws closer, contending teams are going to be hard-pressed to make moves for the stretch run. Among those contenders will be the Arizona Diamondbacks, who figure to be involved in their fair share of rumors before the end of July hits.
With the MLB trade deadline set to take place on July 31st, for non-waiver trades, contenders are going to be eager to add final pieces for the stretch run. The Diamondbacks have been listed as as suitor for multiple players at this point (Manny Machado, Zach Britton), but have only been involved in smaller deals to date. They acquired Jon Jay earlier this year, before swinging a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to bring in Matt Andriese. Could something more significant be on the horizon?
And if it is, is it something that’ll be significant, or will we only see smaller tweaks to a roster that has remained in contention all year? By all accounts, the true impact talent is off the board. Unless we see someone like Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman, or even Bryce Harper move before Tuesday, the likes of Machado, Britton, Kelvin Herrera, etc. have already found new homes. However, that doesn’t mean that the talent out there is necessarily unappealing. There are names that can help this Arizona Diamondbacks ballclub.
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Adam Jones has been mentioned as a potential target for the Snakes. The Baltimore Orioles are eager to move impending free agents as they enter a full-scale rebuild. Jones isn’t the player he once was, with rough fielding numbers and deteriorating pop in his bat. As a veteran backup, though, he can be appealing for a few teams at the right price. The Diamondbacks probably aren’t that team, though. They brought in Jon Jay for the same type of role, and he’s performed at just about the level you’d hope for out of him. With the outfield finally healthy, as well as the ability of Chris Owings and Daniel Descalso to play out there, he’s not nearly a necessity.
Instead, the Diamondbacks will likely focus on pitching. And that’s where the attention really should be. Andriese was an interesting move, and will slot into the middle innings well. They can’t stop there, though.
The bullpen does have many merits. With Andriese in the middle innings, they now sport a relief corps that includes Archie Bradley, Yoshihisa Hirano, and Brad Boxberger at the end. Andrew Chafin and T.J. McFarland have been viable options as lefties as well. That’s a sound group, with Jorge De La Rosa working in there, along with some intriguing options from Reno (Matt Koch, Jake Buchanan, etc.). It’s one of the better bullpens in baseball (2.94 ERA, 1.18 WHIP as a group) and has a bit of depth to work with.
As such, it’s really a starter that this team should covet. They’re not going to get a guy like Jacob deGrom. They don’t have the farm for it. That’s just the reality of the situation. Somebody like Chris Archer could make sense, but would likely stretch them thin in terms of top prospects as well. Could it be someone like J.A. Happ? Sure, but there’s a number of contending teams vying for his services as well. Can the Diamondbacks keep up with other potential packages? The only certainty here is that if there’s one position in which the Arizona Diamondbacks need to upgrade, it’s their starting five.
Zack Greinke has largely looked like himself, and Patrick Corbin was an All-Star for a reason. There’s no concern there. But the inconsistencies from Zack Godley and Robbie Ray are concerning. Their starts seem to go one way or another way entirely. Shelby Miller‘s health is once again up in the air. And how long can the team really rely on Clay Buchholz to turn in five or six shutout innings before that goes sour? Pessimistic? Sure, but also realistic. Even if it’s not a marquee upgrade, the team needs to pursue someone who can eat some innings and keep runners off base. Above all else, that’s what they need.
The position players on this roster are ultimately fine. Torey Lovullo has some versatility to where he can play with the matchups and get guys in the best possible situation to be successful. Some have underperformed, but could also be on the rise. The bullpen has been among baseball’s best, with more arms available in Reno if necessary. Overall, the need is in the rotation, and Mike Hazen would be best served to add at least one innings-eater before July 31st rolls around.