It is always fun to play the "what if" game. If the D-backs contend for a playoff spot this season, here is a trade idea that would make sense for both parties, and would absolutely bolster this Arizona squad…
Diamondbacks trade for SP Corbin Burnes and SS Willy Adames
This trade idea goes past what happens on the field. As spring training was kicking into full gear, Corbin Burnes was stopped by a reporter to answer a few questions about his contract, or lack thereof. In the conversation between the reporter and Burnes, Burnes mentioned that “The Brewers never really made a real attempt to try to come to a deal to avoid a hearing, at least from our perspective." He also said that, “there's no denying that the relationship was definitely hurt from what transpired over the last couple of weeks. There's really no way to get around that.” Do you know what is good for a disrespected baseball player? A new start somewhere else!
Burnes would make Arizona’s rotation 39x better. Since 2020, Burnes is 27-14 with a 2.62 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He also has a career K/9 rate of 11.69 and a career BB/9 rate of 2.44. He is no doubt one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball. Here is where he ranked amongst all pitchers last season: 5th in K/9, 18th in ERA, 8th in WHIP, and 5th in BAA. Burnes leans on a devastating cutter that sits around 95 MPH. Last season, Burnes recorded a -21 run value on his cutter. Having Gallen, Burnes, and Kelly all start in a playoff series would be as scary as a bite from a diamondback.
Adames has been a consistent hitter ever since he broke into the bigs in 2018. In his past two seasons with Milwaukee, he has been flexing his power with 57 doubles 51 HRs, and 156 RBIs over the course of 238 games. Last season, among all shortstops, he ranked: 2nd in HRs, 3rd in RBIs, 4th in slugging percentage, and 5th in doubles.
On top of his great production at the plate, he has improved drastically as a defender. In 2022, Adames recorded an OAA of 10 which was 6th among all shortstops. Nick Ahmed has had a long and great career with the Diamondbacks, but it might be time to move on to a young, elite guy like Willy.
The brutal return
Landing two guys like Burnes and Adames would not come at a cheap price. If this trade were to happen, Arizona would have to give up an arm and a leg to complete the transaction. In this trade idea, the D-backs send 3 prospects to the Brew Crew: SS Jordan Lawlar, SP Brandon Pffadt, and OF Wilderd Patino.
SS Jordan Lawlar is ranked #2 in the Diamondbacks farm system. His ETA is 2024, as he is only 20 years old. Lawlar is an on-base machine that is starting to find a little power in his bat. In 100 minor league games last season, Lawlar hit 16 HRs, 62 RBIs, and got on base over 40% of the time. He has all the tools to become an even better player than Willy Adames but in this trade idea, the Brewers are tearing down and starting over whereas the Diamondbacks are going all in right now.
SP Branond Pffadt is ranked #4 in the Diamondbacks farm system. Pffadt recently got sent to the minors to begin the season despite showing in spring training that he could be a solid candidate for the 5th spot in the Arizona rotation. Pffadt is on his way to becoming a legitimate #1 in any big league rotation. Last season he went 11-7 with a 3.83 ERA. He also had an 11.75 K/9 rate and a 1.78 BB/9 rate. Pfaadt most likely wouldn’t produce Corbin Bunres kind of numbers right away, but in two or three years, it would be very possible.
Last but not least, OF Wilderd Patino who is ranked #16 in the Diamondbacks farm system. Like Lawlar, Patino is expected to debut in 2024. Patino has blazing speed on the bases and can cover a lot of ground in the outfield. How blazing is his speed? He stole 67 bases in 94 games across low and high A ball in 2022. He also swung the bat well last season hitting 21 doubles, 9 HRs, and 53 RBIs. If he continues to develop, I could see him molding into a player similar to Seattle’s right fielder, Dylan Moore.