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Arizona Diamondbacks: GM Offseason Simulation, Fake Trade 2/4

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MIAMI, FL - JUNE 27: Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 27: Robbie Ray #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 27, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
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While simulating the offseason as part of the FanSided Offseason Simulation, we made four trades, which we’ll document and explain in consecutive posts. The second trade was as follows:

Diamondbacks Send:
LHP Robbie Ray ($6.1MM)

Pirates Send:
3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT #2 Prospect)
RHP Luis Escobar (PIT #11 Prospect)
RHP Steven Jennings (PIT #12 Prospect)

Hayes is the player that moved the needle here. He’s moved steadily through the Pittsburgh system, succeeding at every stop. In 2018, he hit .293/.375/.444 in Double-A Altoona as a 21-year-old with solid defensive marks at third base. Starting the 2020 season with Pavin Smith and Ke’Bryan Hayes on the infield corners would be a great way to launch the next generation of Diamondbacks stars.

Of course, this is a fake trade, so it’s not the particular player so much as what he represents. A Top-50 offensive prospect with two solid arms, one of whom is relatively close to the majors and coming off a solid season (Escobar) – this is the kind of return the Diamondbacks would feel good about for Ray. Stocking the system with high-potential arms will be an imperative to building the next winner in Arizona.

Granted, trading Ray this season has its downside. He’s only 26, and with two years of arb-eligibility left, he could very well be pitching atop the rotation for the next winner in Arizona.

Still, 2017 was the only season in which he accumulated more than 2 rWAR, he is becoming expensive at $6.1MM with one arb year left, and he’s never eclipsed 175 innings in a season. He value is lower now than it was last season, but if GM Mike Hazen can find a deal similar to this one, I’d bite.

Without another top-of-the-line pitcher like Carrasco in-house, a Ray deal, IRL, is unlikely. His upside, however, is tantalizing, and if there’s a team like the Pirates who are eager to contend, Ray will be highly sought after as a solid alternative to expensive free agent options like Corbin and Dallas Keuchel.

Consider this, cutting the $6.1MM owed to Ray would help a tight Arizona payroll situation, but in our simulation, Corbin went to the White Sox for five years, $150MM, while Keuchel went to the Nationals for 5 years, $110MM. That’s an AAV of $30MM and $22MM, respectively, for two pitchers in their thirties. If the Diamondbacks hold off until those guys are off the board IRL, there might be a move like this to be made.

Next. The Peralta Trade. dark

Once we made this fake trade of Robbie Ray, it began to feel more and more like the Arizona Diamondbacks would be heading for a full-on rebuild, but the Offseason Simulation was still only halfway through and there were many moves yet to be made.

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