Things have been pretty quiet on the Diamondbacks trade front, since the departure of Conor Jackson for Oakland. With the trade deadline approaching at the end of the month, however, the rumor mill will get cranked up to "High" once again, so it seems like an opportune point to look at the most likely trade chips for the team, and where they might end up going. One of the things making any kind of projection difficult, is the change in front-office personnel. Just because a player was - or wasn't - being shopped around under Josh Byrnes, does not mean the same player will - or will not - be available under Jerry DiPoto.
That said, after the jump, let's press our ear to the ground and see if we can hear any rumblings coming from down the trade tracks, about who might be going where.
Players are listed in descending order of "Rumor Index" - the number of stories which have appeared since Opening Day concerning the player on mlbtraderumors.com (an utterly invaluable site for the purposes of this article). Basically, it's a guide to how much chatter there has been about a player getting traded, but please be aware that quantity does not necessarily imply quality. Not listed below are players of whom there was little or no mention: Chris Young, Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra, among the regular position players, and Ian Kennedy and Rodrigo Lopez in the rotation.
Dan Haren (Rumor Index: 27). With the removal of Cliff Lee from the market, Haren becomes one of the top-tier starting pitchers potentially available, along with Ted Lilly and Roy Oswalt. His last start reportedly was watched by scouts from the Phillies, Dodgers, Reds, White Sox, Angels and Yankees. But the consensus appears to be that, while Haren is available, the team would need to be "blown away" by an offer, to deal the staff ace for the past couple of seasons. It would certainly be seen by fans that the franchise has moved from reloading to rebuilding, with a longer-term view, beyond 2011, being taken of the team;s future. Most mentioned destination: Tigers.
Adam LaRoche (Rumor Index: 16). There was a nice piece on LaRoche on MLB Trade Rumors last month, which concluded that the market for his services is likely better, from our point of view, then when he was traded in 2009, mostly because he's cheaper now. It's worth reviewing what the Pirates got for LaRoche last season; dealing him for a couple of prospects could be one way the Diamondbacks look to strengthen the bullpen. The Angels are perhaps the team most in need of a first-baseman, after the loss of Kendry Morales to a celebratory broken-leg, but there are other possibilities for them, such as Adam Dunn and Jose Bautista. Most mentioned destination: Angels.
Kelly Johnson (Rumor index: 12). The odds of Johnson being traded seem to have increased, since it feels that replacement Tony Abreu's better position is second-base rather than shortstop - his three-error game at the latter spot having enhanced that viewpoint. Jon Heyman said as July opened that Arizona was "looking seriously" at dealing Johnson. Fangraphs phloats Philadelphia as a possible destination, with Johnson replacing Chase Utley, and that's the only team name mentioned. Against that,, Utley may only miss another month or so, and with Johnson under team control for 2011, he would then be without a place to play. Most mentioned destination: Phillies.
Chris Snyder (Rumor Index: 8). The Red Sox have been sniffing around Snyder for some time, but their interest may have been heightened with the loss of both their Opening Day catchers to the disabled-list. Jason Varitek has a broken foot, and Victor Martinez a broken thumb, leaving them with Kevin Cash - career OPS+ in 8 seasons = 39 - as their regular starter. However, the sticking point with Snyder remains his contract. which is expensive for a short-term solution to injury. Martinez is a free agent at the end of the year, and it may be more likely the Red Sox look to trade for Snyder during the off-season. Most mentioned destination: Red Sox.
Edwin Jackson (Rumor index: 8). If the club holds on to Haren, it seems more likely they will try to shift Jackson, who is due almost a 100% bump in salary next year, going from $4.2m to $8.35m. Ken Rosenthal suggested the Padres might be a destination for him, and Jon Heyman said around the same time that we were "fielding inquiries" with regard to Jackson. Buster Olney reported that the Phillies' top priority as we approach the deadline is "a middle-of-the-rotation starter, probably someone higher in caliber than a Guthrie," and Jackson would seem to fit that bill, probably more so than San Diego, whose pitching so far has been just fine. Most mentioned destination: Padres.
Stephen Drew (Rumor Index: 5). Jon-Paul Morosi linked Drew to the Tigers, who have had very poor production from their shortstops this year, and that they don't have a #2 or shortstop lined up for next season. However, according to Nick Piecoro last Friday, "a Diamondbacks source said there have been no conversations with the Tigers regarding Drew in the past week." Still, as our colleagues over at Bless You Boys put it, "Where's there's smoke, there's fire, and there seems to be plenty of smoke." The same piece also says, "The most glaring need is for a starting pitcher," so maybe we continue our off-season relationship with Detroit? Most mentioned destination: Tigers.
Aaron Heilman (Rumor Index: 4). Ken Rosenthal had Heilman on his list of D-backs most likely to be traded last week, echoing Nick Piecoro's thoughts back in June. But it's worth noting that Heilman is probably in line to be a type B free-agent this winter, so we might simply want to hang on to Aaron, offer him arbitration and snag the extra draft-pick when he declines. Based purely on what brian custer has said here, there may be friction between Heilman and new manager Kirk Gibson, who certainly wasted no time in demoting Heilman from the closer's role. Most mentioned destination: None yet.
Chad Qualls (Rumor Index: 4). Yes, stunning though it may be that a team might actively want our
former closer set-up man long reliever mop-up guy bullpen arm of last resort. FoxSports.com wrote last month - apparently with a straight face - that the Minnesota Twins, "could seek reinforcements for their bullpen, which is why they are monitoring the Diamondbacks’ Chad Qualls." Yeah. About that... He wouldn't be the first Arizona reject to find a home in the Twin Cities - Jon Rauch has done very nicely there. And as noted elsewhere, Qualls has been insanely unlucky - I don't put much stock in xFIP, but by that stat, Qualls is at 3.48, and Jose Valverde at 3.45. Most mentioned destination: Twins.