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Diamondbacks Trade Rumors

With TolkienBard's original post now at almost 300 comments, probably time to throw up a clean sheet, with the trade deadline less than two weeks away. But check out the post for a still-valid overview of where the team might look to improve.

Matt Garza. Probably not a future D-back.
Matt Garza. Probably not a future D-back.
Brian Kersey

The story so far

At this point, the Diamondbacks haven't been active in any significant way. Their biggest acquisition of the month has been reliever Shawn Camp, who had been released by the Cubs. Camp had a fairly good run, with a 120 ERA+ for the Blue Jays and Cubs from 2009-12, appearing in 276 games, including a league-high 80 last season. But his numbers imploded this season, an ERA above seven resulting from the seven home-runs Camp allowed in only 23 innings. The right-hander will be 38 in November, and one senses he is being stashed in Reno as an insurance policy against one of our current relievers being injured.

The other move was the release - and likely retirement - of Eric Hinske. Hinske was signed in December, to act as a platoon backup to Paul Goldschmidt at first, for $1.35 million. However, Goldie's ability to his right-handed pitching, as well as confounding certain ESPN pundits, rendered Hinske surplus to requirements, and he was reduced almost exclusively to pinch-hitting. In 52 games, Hinske made exactly three starts, and one of those was at DH, becoming the first NL position player since Gregg Norton of the 2009 Rockies, to average an AB or fewer per game. His .173 average was the second-lowest by a non-pitching D-back with 50+ PAs, beating only Rod Barajas's .160 in 2001.

The trades that haven't happened

Let's take a look at some of the names which have been linked to the Diamondbacks since the original post. The focus of most rumors have the team looking strengthening the pitching staff, both the rotation and the bullpen. ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Diamondbacks wre more interested in younger, high-upside, controlled starters than short-term veteran rentals. The names of the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo and Cubs' Jeff Samardzija were mentioned, but the Cubs apparently asked about Archie Bradley and Tyler Skaggs, and talks ended - I trust, with Kevin Towers chortling heartily.

However, Jon Heyman confirmed Arizona's interest in Gallardo, saying "one of the Arizona names that's surfaced in discussions is top pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs," though there is, of course, some gap between that and an actual deal: if I was trading with the Diamondbacks, I'd be asking about Skaggs as well. Heyman's source appeared to agree, being quoted as saying "There's no traction at this point," and Steve Gilbert also wrote that the team "have no interest" in moving Skaggs, Bradley would very likely be even less available, and Jack Magruder Tweeted that the club would not trade either of them.

There is also the possibility of Brewers' relievers, whom we had a chance to observe in action, during the four-game series between the teams, just before the break. Jon Morosi said we were particularly interested in John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez and Jim Henderson. Morosi notes that Rodriguez would be relatively cheap, being owed about $1m the rest of the way, compared to more than twice that for Axford. It seems to be our area of focus, according to Towers, who told Gilbert, "I'm not as concerned probably with our starting pitching and looking externally for starting pitching as much as trying to get a bullpen arm." An Olney Tweet on Thursday agrees with that assessment.

Still, that hasn't stopped rumors from circulating, with the two names cropping up from most sources being the White Sox's Jake Peavy and the Cubs' Matt Garza. Olney Tweeted about our interest in Peavy, with Chicago apparently having scouted Randall Delgado. There's been little subsequent chatter regarding this, though Jon Heyman wrote we may prefer Peavy to Garza, because the former offers an additional year of control. The Garza rumors bubbled for much of the past week, with Jim Bowden the first to list Arizona alongside Boston and Texas as in the running. Right now, however, the Rangers appear much closer to a deal with the Cubs.

Finally, there was also a rather implausible sounding report linking the D-backs to veteran outfielder Alex Rios. Seems a stretch, considering that, right now, the team really has one too many players for their outfield.

What's left to do?

I am not expecting the Diamondbacks to be major players at the trade deadline. I wouldn't be surprised if we do make some moves, with the bullpen, as mentioned above, perhaps being the most obvious target for improvement, particularly at the front end. Otherwise, as TolkienBard pointed out, there really aren't too many offensive spots which are in 'obvious' need of improvement. I'd like to see us more rigorously platooning Kubel and Ross in the outfield, at least until we ship the former off for a bullpen arm. But in general, I can see Towers keeping faith with the team which has got him this far in first-place.

It doesn't appear, from comments that we are prepared to trade top prospects in exchange for a two-month rental, which is comforting to hear. While our position now may be unexpected, and the Dodgers' payroll appears to have "dynasty" written on it in 24-carat gold leaf, there's no point in mortgaging the future for a dubious short-term fix. While I can see the point of shifting someone like, say, Chris Owings, it has to be in a deal that will provide value for the team over more than just the rest of the season. It still promises to be an interesting couple of weeks until the deadline at the end of the month.