No Winter Sleep For The Diamondbacks

Justin Upton: let the rumor mill commence! - Christian Petersen

The winter meetings get underway tomorrow in Nashville, Tennessee - or, as GM Kevin Towers calls it, "The most wonderful time of the year." :) Let's take a look and see what might be going down, and also update our free agent tracker for the biggest names and ex-Diamondbacks.

First things first: don't expect Justin Upton to be traded this week. I'm sure there will be a bazillion rumors to the contrary, but Jack Magruder's source on the Diamondbacks reckons, "A blockbuster trade involving Justin Upton is not on the table now and would only happen if one of the big-money teams comes off its current offer in order to acquire a big bat." Magruder says the number of teams to have expressed interest in Upton is in double-digits, but it seems they do not value Upton as highly as Towers, who appears unwilling to budge from his demand for a starter on the left side of the infield and a pitcher good enough for the front of the rotation.

That does not mean that Towers will be quiet in Nashville of course, even if he doesn't think that the team has many major holes to fill. "Sometimes you don't have starting pitching, you don't have bullpen guys, you don't have a position player because you lost him to free agency. At least going into the Winter Meetings, we're covered at every position, and if we had to start the season now we'd be in pretty good shape." What he's looking to get in the Upton trade is a reasonable indicator of where he's looking to upgrade: pick up a starting pitcher with experience, and upgrade at shortstop or third base.

Beyond that, the most obvious need is someone to spell our current starters at the corners of the infield, Chris Johnson and Paul Goldschmidt. With both being right-handed, it seems logical to lean towards a left-hander for that role, who would also be able to come in as a pinch-hitter late in games. The Diamondbacks' bench is certainly a little thin in southpaws, with Gerardo Parra the only true left-hander outside of our expected starters, now that Adam Eaton look likely to be the regular center fielder. The fact that we're talking to Aubrey Huff suggest that may be a free-agent, though there aren't many options available there that stir the blood.

Beyond that, Magruder floats the suggestion of getting a second left-hander to join Matt Reynolds in the bullpen. We may also be looking around for a secondary option at catcher, now that we've declined the contracts for the 2012 occupants of that role, Henry Blanco and Wil Nieves. They are now free agents, so we could still negotiate with one or the other, if we wanted to bring them back at a lower price. There's also the possibility of us picking up someone in the Rule 5 draft, as we have in both the past years since Towers took over. Even after the additions we noted on Saturday, we still have five spots left, so there's plenty of room.

On the SnakePit, there will be a daily thread, posted at 7am Arizona time, which will act as a central point for all news that day - as of Tuesday, it'll also include a summary of the previous day's proceedings. If there's any particularly exciting news, of course, that'll get its own separate story.

Elsewhere, things have already got under way, with four of the most successful players from last year cashing in, and B.J. Upton has also hit the jackpot, with a $75 million deal. That, however, pales in comparison to the mammoth extension worth $138 million signed by the Mets' David Wright. The biggest deal in franchise history, it'll keep him at Shea until he turns about ninety. As yet, there hasn't been much action on the Diamondbacks front; no-one has signed except Mike Zagurski (ok, who had him in the "First unemployed D-back to find work" pool!), but we can add some names to the pool, as a result of non-tenders around baseball, both by Arizona and other teams.

Former Diamondbacks, by 2012 bWAR

  1. Adam LaRoche, 4.0 WAR (1B, .271, 33 HR, 100 RBI, .853 OPS, age 31)
  2. Edwin Jackson, 1.6 WAR (RHP, 10-11, 4.03 ERA, age 29)
  3. Kelly Johnson, 1.4 WAR (2B, .225, 16 HR, 55 RBI, .678 OPS, age 31)
  4. Joe Saunders, 1.3 WAR (LHP, 9-13, 4.07 ERA, age 31)
  5. Brandon Lyon, 1.2 WAR (RHP, 4-2, 3.10 ERA, age 33)
  6. Matt Lindstrom 1.0 WAR (RHP, 1-0, 2.68 ERA, age 33)
  7. Jose Valverde, 0.5 WAR (RHP, 3-4, 3.78 ERA, 35 saves, age 35)
  8. Zach Duke, 0.4 WAR (LHP, 1-0, 1.32 ERA, age 30)
  9. Chad Durbin, 0.3 WAR (RHP, 4-1, 3.10 ERA, age 35)
  10. Randy Choate 0.2 WAR (LHP, 0-0, 3.03 ERA, age 37)
  11. Brian Bruney, 0.1 WAR (RHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, age 31)
  12. Jon Rauch, 0.0 WAR (RHP, 3-7, 3.59 ERA, age 34)
  13. Brad Bergesen, 0.0 WAR (RHP. 2-1, 3.64 ERA, age 27)
  14. Stephen Drew, -0.1 WAR (SS, .223, 7 HR, 28 RBI, .657 OPS, age 30)
  15. Orlando Hudson, -0.1 WAR (2B, .204, 3 HR, 28 RBI, .572 OPS, age 35)
  16. Mark Reynolds, -0.1 WAR (1B, .221, 23 HR, 69 RBI, .763 OPS, age 29)
  17. Lyle Overbay, -0.1 WAR (1B, .259, 2 HR, 10 RBI, .727 OPS, age 36)
  18. Vicente Padilla, -0.1 WAR (RHP, 4-1, 4.50 ERA, age 35)
  19. Henry Blanco, -0.2 WAR (C, .188, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .505 OPS, age 41)
  20. Miguel Batista, -0.2 WAR (RHP, 1-3, 4.61 ERA, age 42)
  21. Wil Nieves, -0.3 WAR (C, .301, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .739 OPS, age 35)
  22. Mike Zagurski, -0.4 WAR (LHP, 0-0, 5.54 ERA, age 30) - minor league contract
  23. Dan Haren, -0.6 WAR (RHP, 12-13, 4.33 ERA, age 32)
  24. Chris Snyder, -0.6 WAR (C, .176, 7 HR, 24 RBI, .602 OPS, age 32)
  25. Chad Qualls, -0.7 WAR (RHP, 2-1, 5.33 ERA, age 34)
  26. Takashi Saito, -0.7 WAR (RHP, 0-0, 6.75 ERA, age 43)
  27. Daniel Schlereth, -0.7 WAR (LHP, 0-0, 10.29 ERA, age 27)
  28. Brad Penny, -0.8 WAR (RHP, 0-1, 6.11 ERA, age 35)
  29. Xavier Nady, -0.9 WAR (OF/1B, .184, 4 HR, 13 RBI, .569, age 34)
  30. Rod Barajas, -1.0 WAR (C, .206, 11 HR, 31 RBI, .625 OPS, age 37)
  31. Jason Marquis, -2.5 WAR (LHP, 8-11, 5.22 ERA, age 34)

Top 20 Other Free Agents, by 2012 bWAR

  1. Michael Bourn 6.0 WAR (CF, .274, 9 HR, 57 RBI, 42 SB, .739 OPS, age 30)
  2. Torii Hunter 5.5 WAR (OF, .313, 16 HR, 92 RBI, .817 OPS, age 37) - $26m/2 years
  3. Hiroki Kuroda 5.2 WAR (RHP, 16-11, 3.32 ERA, age 38) - $15m/1 year
  4. Melky Cabrera, 4.7 WAR (OF, .346, 11 HR, 60 RBI, .906 OPS*, age 28) - $16m/2 years
  5. Scott Baker 4.2 WAR (RHP, 8-6, 3.14 ERA, age 31) - $5.5m/1 year
  6. Angel Pagan 4.0 WAR (CF, .288, 8 HR, 56 RBI, 29 SB, .778 OPS, age 31)
  7. Kyle Lohse 3.9 WAR (RHP, 16-3, 2.86 ERA, age 34)
  8. Nick Swisher 3.5 WAR (OF/1B, .272, 24 HR, 93 RBI, .837 OPS, age 32)
  9. Josh Hamilton 3.4 WAR (CF, .285, 43 HR, 128 RBI, .930 OPS, age 31)
  10. Zack Greinke 3.3 WAR (RHP, 15-5, 3.48 ERA, age 29)
  11. A.J. Pierzynski 2.6 WAR (C, .278, 27 HR, 77 RBI, age 35)
  12. B.J. Upton 2.6 WAR (CF, .246, 28 HR, 78 RBI, 31 SB, .752 OPS, age 28) - $75m/5 years
  13. Gavin Floyd 2.3 WAR (RHP, 12-11, 4.29 ERA, age 30) - $9.5m/1 year
  14. Andy Pettitte 2.2 WAR (LHP, 5-4, 2.87 ERA, age 41)
  15. Marco Scutaro 2.1 WAR (IF, .306, 7 HR, 74 RBI, .753 OPS, age 37)
  16. Brandon McCarthy 2.0 WAR (RHP, 8-6, 3.24 ERA, age 29)
  17. Colby Lewis 2.0 WAR (RHP, 6-6, 3.43 ERA, age 33)
  18. Hisashi Iwakuma 1.9 WAR (RHP, 9-5, 3.16 ERA, age 32) - $14m/2 years
  19. Jeremy Guthrie 1.7 WAR (RHP, 5-3, 3.16 ERA, age 33) - $25m/3 years
  20. Ryan Ludwick 1.7 WAR (OF, .275, 26 HR, 80 RBI, .877 OPS, age 34)

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