Jul 18, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Matt Albers (32) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the seventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
All the fuss, furore, hopes and fears leading up to the trade deadline proved to be all but groundless for Diamondbacks fans. Would Justin Upton be traded? No. What about Stephen Drew? No. Might we acquire one of the Cubs' starting pitchers? No. Get rid of one of our own? No. The sole move the Diamondbacks made was trading a reliever for a reliever (and a veteran outfielder who, it appears, will be going to Reno), with Craig Breslow going to the Boston Red Sox, and Matt Albers + Scott Podsednik coming to Arizona.
After the jump, we'll analyze the deal in far more detail than it likely deserves, and also look at the deals that were not made, and see what they mean for the Diamondbacks the rest of the way.
It's initially hard to see quite what the point of the Breslow deal was. While Albers has a nice, shiny ERA with the Red Sox, his peripherals are not up to much and the low ERA seems largely based off a BABIP of .218, which hardly seems sustainable. Additionally, he's right-handed, and the move leaves Mike Zagurski as the team's only left-handed reliever. If that means he'll be used as a LOOGY going forward, that might not be a bad thing, as right-handed batters have an .855 OPS against him this season, compared to left-handers' .622.
It does definitely reduce the flexibility available to Kirk Gibson out of the bullpen, though as Joel Meier pointed out, the NL West doesn't have as many powerful left-handed hitters these days, once you get past Carlos Gonzalez and Andre Ethier. Looking at NL left-handers with 300+ PAs, those two are the only ones with teams in the NL West, who are ranked in the top thirteen by OPS+ this year. But I just don't think Albers is that good, and Breslow had been solid against both left- and right-handed batters. There's not even a contract advantage, with both being in their second year of arbitration eligibility right now.
Scott Podsednik, it appears, was a throw-in, and should likely be treated as such, given the team already has a surfeit of outfielders. There was some speculation his arrival was the precursor to a trade of one of our other players there, but nothing came of that. With his best days clearly behind him, word is Podsednik will be sent to Reno, but I'd not be surprised to see him come up when the rosters expand at the end of September, if we're still in the hunt, to act as a pinch-runner. There's little or no impact on the team's budget, with Breslow earning $1.795 million this year and Albers $1.1 million.
Perhaps more important are the deals that the Diamondbacks didn't do. Though it's worth noting that today is not a "hard" deadline, and some significant trades could still go down - the players concerned would have to pass through waivers first. For example, the 2008 trade of Adam Dunn to Arizona from Cincinnati took place on August 11, and was possible for exactly that reason. That could still, conceivably, alter the shape of the team - to be eligible for the post-season roster, a player needs to be with that team by the end of August. But it seems likely there'll be a period of brow-mopping and toweling off prior to that.
For now, however.... Justin Upton is still on the roster. Joe Saunders is still on the roster. And our Goldfinger-esque plot to corner the market in left-hand side of the infielders continues apace, with John McDonald, Willie Bloomquist, Stephen Drew, Ryan Wheeler and Chris Johnson all on our 25-man roster. Getting playing time for all of them is going to be an interesting process, I think. Plus, there's still no word on a Lyle Overbay trade, though I believe that still has a week or so to settle.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2012
#Diamondbacks did NOT make the big deal they were working on. Still trying to find out what it was.
Must admit, I'll be curious to see what that turns out to be. The pulling of Patrick Corbin from his scheduled start for the Reno Aces no longer seems to make much sense, because there's no longer an obvious spot for him on the 25-man roster. There has been a suggestion that it was for Ryan Dempster from the Cubs, as much in order to stop the Dodgers from getting him - Dempster ended up going to the Rangers instead. But the couple of A-ball players he ended up costing the Rangers doesn't scream "big deal" to me, with Dempster being a free agent at the end of this season.
It seems that the Diamondbacks opted to stand pat at the deadline, and see if the existing squad of players, more or less, can finish closing the gap on the Giants and Dodgers. I can see the logic to that,.as the gap is now 3.5 games, when we were nine back as recently as June 19. We also have the best run differential in the NL West (+34 for us, +17 for LA, +3 for Los Angeles),. which suggests we should play better the rest of the way. However, that doesn't take into account the moves they made. The acquisitions such as Hunter Pence and Hanley Ramirez should help them. But was getting Carlos Beltran the decisive move in the NL West last year? Hardly.
59 games left, and they start in about five hours with a game against the co-division leaders. Let's do this.