I Smell a Fire Sale Comin' On!

Since Derrick Hall and Josh Byrnes signed longterm deals before the 2008 season.  We were told that a "plan" would be put into place and would bear fruit before their deals expired after the 2015.  It's been two and a half seasons and we all knew something was going to give after the D-Backs poor start; I'm just surprised it happened before the All-Star break.


 The firing of AJ Hinch and the dismissal of GM Josh Byrnes obviously alerts us that major changes will be taking place.  As it stands, the 2010 payroll comes in a little over $75 million.  Before the firings yesterday team officials did announce they would be looking into reducing their payroll in response to the decreasing attendance.  Below I've listed a few names (a few obvious to us D-Back fans) that could be shopped around before the trade deadline:


Dan Haren: the most popular name to come up concerning DBack trade talks.  Haren will be seen as a discount to some teams looking for a top-of-the-rotation starter and his team control from now until 2012 (club option in '13) along with his age (turns 30 this Sep.) does make him incredibly valuable in this market.  The DBacks and Jerry DiPoto must be careful not sell low. 

Despite Haren's mediocre W/L and ERA record (7-6; 4.56), a closer look tells us that he has been quite unlucky this season posting a .345 BABIP, 69% strand rate and his HR/FB rates are higher than usual at 13.5%.  Looking at his K and BB rate, Haren has been solid posting an 8.90 K/9 and 1.70 BB/9 while his LD rate against him has dipped below his usual 20% to 18.5%.  Since becoming a DBack, Haren has abandoned his slider and has used his cutter more.  He has also relied on a spilt-finger fastball to keep hitters off-balance in place of his non-existing changeup (a pitch he probably never felt fully comfortable with and ditched during his Athletic years). 

Looking over his velocity, everything seems normal.  He is averaging his fastball at 90.5 mph (down a bit from his usual 91.3) but he is utilizing his curve a lot less (15.1% down from his usual 18-20%) and the cutter he fell in love with last season hasn't been as successful for him according to FanGraghs.  I'm not sure if he is falling into more hitter counts which could be dragging his curve output - but with opposing hitters swinging more frequently outside the strikezone and a FIP at 3.90... it's expected that things should click back into place for Haren this season.


Chris Snyder: during the 2009 season, Snyder's recent extension began to look more and more like a mistake as Miquel Montero began to make his rise as an everyday catcher.  Contracts like these can hurt a small-market team like ours and with Snyder's injury history (although his back hasn't flared up yet this season) and limited defense does put a shrink ont the kind of teams interested in his services.  Looking at his stats, Snyder does strike out quite a bit but he does have the power and plate discipline to counter his whiff-rate.

The one major warning sign I do see is his low LD rate (10%) and increased GB rate (45%) and that correlates to his higher than usual HR/FB rate (17%).  Obviously these numbers cannot co-exist for the rest of this season. 

Teams in need of a catcher: Red Sox (although they have stated internal options will be tried first but Varitek's injury does leave a few doubts), Reds (Hernandez bulky back has been acting up, he has been solid BA-wise but unless this problem gets severe I don't see the Reds pulling the trigger), Padres (they are buyers suddenly but I don't see them breaking up the Hundley/Torrealba tandem), Angels (Mike Napoli has been playing first base since Kendry's return this season is up in the air.  However, the Angels taking Snyder's contract will pose a problem next season since they will be forced to move either Napoli or Snyder again since both will be under team control in 2011), Phillies (For some reason, Carlos Ruiz comes alive during the playoffs and is a fan-favorite under contract until 2012, the Phils could use an upgrade at C but I don't think they are desperate in this department), Rays (they could use an upgrade at C but Snyder's $6.2M owed next season just doesn't fit into their plans).

Unless another contender suffers a major injury at catcher, Snyder will be tough to move.

Edwin Jackson: another bargain to a team looking to bolster their rotation this season and next.  Like Haren, Jackson has age (27 in Sep.) and cost on his side.  His walks are up (3.79 BB/9) this season but his GB% is on the rise (47.9%) and his K rate has moved up since his breakout in Tampa Bay.  Teams will probably be inrterested in how he recovers after his near 150 pitch no-hitter.


Chris Young: he has had a bounceback year, cutting down on his strikeouts and seeing an increase in his power.  His BB rate has shrunk a bit which still has us questioning his plate discipline.  His BABIP is currently .302, which isn't abnormally high so the BA at .260 could remain intact.  According to Fangraghs UZR scores, his fielding has improved this season.  Teams in need of an OF bat could inquire on this soon to be 27 year old under team control until 2013. 


Stephen Drew: a mid-tier SS under team control until after 2012.  He will be under control during his arb years and I'm sure the DBacks would like to cut cost but this would leave the DBacks to figure out how to properly platoon a duo of switch-hitting SS's in Tony Abreu and Augie Ojeda (quick splits show both hit better from the right-side).  UZR scores have noticed a defensive improvement for Drew since 2008.  However, I don't think it's a high priority to move Drew since the DBacks don't have a blue-chip prospect ready to take over SS in the near future (unless a trade for Haren or Jackson nets one).

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