Four Possible Trades For Carson Kelly
First, we have to look at the Diamondbacks and see what needs they have on the big league club. Obviously you try to get those assets in any trade you would make with any club. The biggest needs on the current big league club to me would be the 5th starter, Humberto Castellanos needs to be a long-relief man, 1 or, bullpen arms, which you could solve by getting the 5th starter and moving Humberto to the bullpen, and a good offensive first, third baseman.
I have multiple players I would trade from the current 40-man roster in order to get younger, reduce payroll ( to eventually go after a couple of key free agents this winter), and fill the voids on this team. I think the realistic goal for this season is to simply make the playoffs, while building toward winning the division and pushing for a World Series title in the next 3 years, while simultaneously keeping a young talented core, signing them early to cheaper long-term contracts and most importantly, building a team with a ten-year run where they make the playoffs 7 of those 10 years.
As I said in my last article, I never want to see a player get injured, but when Carson Kelly went down with an injury, they realized what they had in Jose Herrera as a capable backup. Then, Alek Thomas came up and put Dalton Varshow behind the plate, and Kelly now becomes a trade chip. So, what can the Diamondbacks get for a catcher who is average both behind and at the plate? Who hits .240 with 125 total bases, a 20% caught stealing rate, and a 7-year career with only 16 total errors?
The 1st team I think would entertain a trade for Kelly, would be the New York Mets. The Mets do have 3 catchers on their current 40-man roster Patrick Mazeika, Tomas Nido, and James McCann. One is batting .188 the second .213 and the final one .196. They need a catching upgrade and Carson would be that for the free-spending Met. But what do they have that they would be willing to trade away? Do any of those players match the needs of the Diamondbacks?
The Mets have a stable of starting pitching; deGrom, Scherzer, Bassitt, Carrasco, Walker, and Peterson. deGrom and Scherzer are both injured, but also on the mend and should be pitching for the big league club in the next 30-45 days. But, even with those six starters they still have Tylor Megill and Trevor Williams. I think the Diamondbacks could include a fringe prospect like AAA OF Dominic Fletcher or AA SS Jeison Guzman and get Tylor Megill. Or just do a 1-for-1 and get Trevor Williams. Neither of them are superstars, but either one of them could become a 4th or 5th starter or a long relief man out of the bullpen.
These two pitchers are very different in a Mets uniform. Megill is a strikeout pitcher but his peripheral numbers are not great. His ground ball percentage is lower than the league average while his exit velocity, hard-hit rates, BAbip and home run rate is higher than the league average. But the flip side is in his 2 years and 124.1 innings in the show he has struck out 136 while walking 36. Then you have Trevor who sports a lower-than-league average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and home run rate but he has only struck out 52 batters and walked 15 in 60 innings pitched. So it depends on what kind of pitcher you prefer. I would take the ASU graduate Trevor Williams.
Another National League team who has playoff aspirations and needs a little more at the catching position is the Milwaukee Brewers. So what do they have that may interest the Diamondbacks? I am not a scout by any means but when I research minor league players I look for a few specific things. I like it when nothing is handed to a ball player and they have to earn everything. And I look for someone who has a specific skill that they are well above average at. AA prospect Gabe Holt who is currently listed as a 2B/3B fits both of those criteria. As a lead-off hitter for Texas Tech, he was a .333 batter. He was not ranked among MLB Pipeline's Top 200 in the 2019 Draft Class. He was not a standout in the instructional lead in 2020 but in his first full minor league season, he hit .283/.403/.341 with 17 steals dividing time between A and AA. But his most important stat may be that he struck out 52 times and walked 68. That gave him the best K rate among all Milwaukee full-season players. As great as his speed and eye at the plate is, even though neither are prototypical third base traits, he has virtually no power, which is a typical 3rd baseman trait. Of his 102 hits last season only 18 of them went for extra bases. I like his upside, his make-up and his on-base plus speed combination, I would take a chance on him for Carson Kelly.
Those are two National League possibilities; now, let's look at two American League possibilities.