When we last saw the Diamondbacks, on July 20, they were on the fringes of the Matt Garza deal, but not apparently too deeply involved. Our poll at the time saw most of the 566 responses leaning towards them acquiring pitching of some kind (63% in total), with the bullpen a particular area of interest (37%). Only 17% thought we'd should be looking at offense, with 13% going for standing pat and 7% thinking that 2013 is a lost cause and we might as well be selling. Since then, obviously, we've dropped out of first place and currently sit 2.5 games back of the Dodgers: not an impossible margin, to be sure, but the impetus to do "something" may be stronger now.
Our apparent reluctance to go after Garza may be tied to a greater interest, according to Ken Rosenthal, in a young pitcher we can control for more than a couple of months. The names Rosenthal mentions in particular are Chris Sale, who is currently under White Sox control through the 2016 season, or Jeff Samardzija, whom the Cubs have until the end of 2015. I'd probably prefer Sale, if for no other reason than he'd be a hell of a lot easier to spell. But what kind of package would someone like that need in return? Would something centered around Chris Owings get it done? Might depend on how aware the White Sox are of Reno park factors.
It's interesting to look at the potential 2014 D-backs rotation. If we opt to move or non-tender Ian Kennedy, we'd likely be looking at something along the lines of Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, Trevor Cahill and one of Archie Bradley, Randall Delgado or Tyler Skaggs, largely depending on whether or not the club feels Bradley would be major-league ready. To be honest, while you can't have such a thing as too much young, cost-controlled pitching... It seems like adding Sale or Samardzija could be bordering on exactly that. Having the best rotation in Triple-A is not necessarily helpful, though depth is good, as we've seen this year.
Rosenthal says that we were apparently also scouting Jake Peavy, who would be someone with whom GM Kevin Towers was previously familiar, during his time in San Diego. Peavy is under contract until the end of next year, but it's a rich contract, which would cost us about $5 million for the rest of this season, and a hefty $14.5 million for 2014. There is a $15m player option beyond that, for 2015, but this requires a minimum of 190 innings pitched by Peavy this year, and the seven or so starts he missed last month and this have probably driven a stake through the heart of that happening.
On the bullpen side, we were one of the dozen teams who scouted Brian Wilson's workout. Reports had Wilson throwing from 90-93 mph - his average fastball was 94.2 mph with the Giants in 2011. It's interesting to follow Wilson's progress, in that it's his second Tommy John surgery, though unlike Daniel Hudson, there was close to a decade between Wilson's two surgeries. I have to say, I've disliked Wilson for most of his career, finding him a bit of a... Well, he came across as a pretentious jackass, shall we say. Not sure how I'd have coped with him on the team, and after Bob Nightengale Tweeted we and the Pirates were "front-runners" for Wilson, was relieved to see this:
Diamondbacks not in on free agent reliever Brian Wilson who had Tommy John surgery in April of 2012— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 29, 2013
If we were to do anything, it still seems that the most likely move would be to dump Jason Kubel on some American League team, in need of a DH, in exchange for a left-handed reliever. Jack Magruder yesterday quoted Towers as saying at least the latter part of the equation:
#Dbacks main need as deadline approaches is a second left-hander in the bullpen, Towers just said.— Jack Magruder (@JackMagruder) July 28, 2013
Where this left-hander comes from, or what we have to give up in exchange, remain questions where there is currently little or no hard data, and it's possible this could even be a deal which goes down after the trade deadline on Wednesday, involving a player who passes through waivers.