Will the Diamondbacks make a serious move in the next four hours? Could be, though whether you think so or not likely comes down to the question of who you believe? In the "Yes! Yes! Yes!" corner (alongside Daniel Bryan...), we have Ken Rosenthal:
The Diamondbacks are trying to pull off a blockbuster for a premier starting pitcher, according to major league sources. The identity of the pitcher is not known... One rival executive said early Tuesday that he had received indications that the Phillies and Diamondbacks had discussed a deal involving [Cliff] Lee and Upton. Those talks, however, are unconfirmed, and, according to a source, Lee can block a trade to the D-backs. His contract with the Phillies allows him to veto trades to 21 teams. Money also would be an obstacle to a deal.
Okay, that's more "Possibly! Possibly! Possibly!" But if you can't blast off into hyperbolic orbit on this day, when can you do it. In the opposite corner, wearing a Darth Vader mask and going "Noooooooooo!" is Bob Nightengale.
Who'll be right? We'll see over the next few hours, in what could perhaps be the most interesting trade deadline day action for the D-backs in quite some time. Or perhaps not...
Hard to tell who to believe here: obviously,. both men are reporting what they are hearing, but only one of them can be right. I'm inclined to lean towards Rosenthal though, of course, "trying to pull off a blockbuster" is still some way from "done deal". It certainly doesn't appear Nightengale has a particular hotline to Kevin Towers psyche. Last December, he Tweeted with regard to a D-backs/Athletics deal for Trevor Cahill:
The— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 9, 2011
#Dbacks plan on Parker being their 5th starter so he is NOT in potential deal
We all know how that ended up, so reliability could be an issue here. Reading the comments on last night's report, it seems the player we would want most, rather then Lee, is Felix Hernandez. However, even Rosenthal seems to think that's unlikely: "The Mariners, who have consistently and adamantly denied that they will trade Hernandez, inquired about D-backs right fielder Justin Upton earlier this month, according to a source. Those talks, however, failed to progress." blue bulldog has a nice summary of the potential candidates for your consideration.
There's no doubt that money certainly would be a major obstacle to a Cliff Lee deal. Even this year, he's being paid $21.5 million - for the next three seasons, that figure goes up to $25m, and even if we discount Upton's salary, that would still leave the Diamondbacks needing to fund an eight-figure gap to cover the difference. It also seems odd that we'd be targeting a starter at all: we were told before coming in that this was a strength of the team. While that hasn't quite been the case if you look at ERA - our figure of 4.24 is 14th in the NL - we still have a lot of young prospects, e.g. Bauer, Corbin, Skaggs, Holmberg on the way up. Besides, Lee is 1-6, so clearly sucks. :)
Moving elsewhere on the diamond, Nightengale does think Arizona will be involved in a deal:
If so, it won't be to Oakland, according to this source
Drew to Oakland? Told flat "no"— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 31, 2012
No word of other contenders at this point, so we'll see how/if that develops. And finally, even though Lyle Overbay was designated for assignment yesterday, he still might be dealt - the rules give the Diamondbacks 10 days to put together a trade package. Jon Paul Morosi says Cincinnati is one possible destination, but Jack Magruder - whom I think is more likely to have an inside track - Tweets that Overbay is drawing interest from Baltimore.
[Note: anyone posting fake rumors in the comments will be at least temp-banned for the rest of the day. This applies regardless of whether or not you know the source to be fake, e.g. the spurious @kenrosenthal Twitter feed, or even if it's "a joke". There's enough on edge in here as is. So do your due dilgence]