Thematic restatement. My D-Backs stink. I'd like them to stink less, so I've proposed a series of 10 trades to start our rebuilding process. Think "creative destruction"...you know, clear out the underbrush so the sequoia seedlings can grow. Heck of a fire sale ya got there, Kid. Dial it back, or somebody's gonna blow a gasket. [I think it's probably too late for that, Twitch...]
Trade #5: Diamondbacks trade RP Bradin Hagens (AAA) and RP Derek Eitel (AAA) to Atlanta in Exchange for RP Shea Simmons (MLB)
Probability Meter: (60%)
This might be the most important trade made in baseball that involves players you've never heard of. See, the guy we're getting back is Shae Simmons, a rookie relief pitcher for the Braves. This year, he was quietly the best relief pitcher in their ‘pen not named Kimbrel, as he held his opposition to a 2.91 ERA and a .197 BAA. He struck out 9.6 batters per nine innings while posting an ERA+ of 127. In other words, he's a young, good closer-in-the-making. Now, the Braves would be willing to give him up because, like everyone else, they almost certainly underestimate his value.
They also really, really need to restock their farm system, giving up Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden in exchange for young, controllable pitching. Hagens and Eitel are fairly young AAA pitching prospects who shone this year, but still have a low ceiling, which is why they haven't gotten much exposure. So, we don't need them, considering we have even better options. However, the Braves are probably just itching to get some minor league pitching, which is why they won't think this deal through before signing off on it. Their general manager recently went on record discussing his rationale for trading Heyward, and frankly, he sounds panicky. He already is trying to find takers for both Uptons, and has been aggressively trying to get Yasmani Tomas.
Even more telling, he traded away Jordan Walden for Tyrell Jenkins, a prospect. In other words, I think he is trying to quickly trade away his major leaguers for minor league talent. As he himself (rather incredibly) said, the Braves "really, really need to restock our minor league". You just don't hear general managers sound that panicky. Maybe he had a last-minute epiphany, or he is under immense internal pressure to get younger and cheaper, fast. But whatever the case, he has shown that as of late, he's not interested in veterans anymore.
Trade # 6: Diamondbacks trade SP Trevor Cahill (MLB), SP Blayne Weller (A) and OF Damion Smith (RK) to the Nationals in exchange for OF Steven Souza (MLB)
Probability Meter: (55%)
I'm a Southerner now, so I'm going to be kind with Mr. Cahill. I'm sure he's a nice guy, bless his heart. He's certainly had value for the Athletics, was an all-star, and did pretty well out of the bullpen this year. It certainly wasn't his fault we gave him a huge contract. I'm sure he's doing his best to live up to it. But, OMG. Was there a worse pitcher in baseball this year? He went 3-12 with a 5.61 ERA, posted a sterling strikeout-to-walk ratio of 1.91:1, had a whip of 1.6, an ERA+ of 67 and a WAR of -1.5, all for the low, low price of 7.7 million.
Now, in actuality, he should have been much better. His FIP is 3.89, which is the second-lowest of his career. He does have a track record of eating innings. He is fairly young (27 on Opening Day). His 2015 salary isn't unreasonable. He provides rotational depth.
That still doesn't change the fact that he was just so, so bad last year, and whichever lucky team gets him will only reap the benefits (?) for a year before he leaves via free agency.
However, I think the Nationals could very well be interested. They have plenty of money and look to compete in the NL East. They'll be interested in starting pitching, and Cahill seems like an ideal bounce-back candidate. They would certainly listen to our pitch. However, it won't be a bargain for us. We'll have to eat almost all of his 7 million salary, and throw in two prospects in order to make it happen. However, a Cahill-for-Souza deal could happen. All we need to do is emphasize that they won't have to pay a dime, Cahill had a solid FIP, we'll throw in two prospects, and we're not asking for anything unreasonable in return. Go ahead, and laugh; just don't dismiss this trade out of hand.
Steven Souza is a 26 year-old outfielder for the Nationals who absolutely tore it up int he minors. This year in AAA, he hit .350 with a .432 OBP and .590 SLG, to go with 26 stolen bases and 18 home runs. In other words, he played like Mike Trout. However, there are some red flags. He was pretty terrible during his time in the majors (even though he made an immaculate catch to save Jordan Zimmerman's no-no) and was suspended last year for steroids, which is enough for them to at least consider trading him. Cahill was bad, but he's still a big name and likely bounce-back candidate. With the Nationals dangling Doug Fister as trade bait, they'll be on the lookout for pitching.
Trade #7: Diamondbacks trade SS Didi Gregorius (MLB), C/OF Stryker Trahan (A), RP Oliver Perez (MLB), and RP Adam Miller (A) to the Mets in exchange for SP Stephen Matz (AA) and SS Matthew Reynolds (AAA)
Probability Meter: (65%)
I've got some ‘splaining to do here.
The Mets and the Diamondbacks have been in trade talks before over our two young shortstops. Out of the two, I think that Chris Owings is the better player, which is why I'd rather hold onto him. However, Gregorius is both good and valuable; indeed, he might be our biggest trading chip. So few teams have a good, young shortstop, and we have a surplus. However, much as I love Didi, he'll never be a good offensive player. His OBP was .290 and his OPS+ was 81. Plus, the metrics seem to be ambivalent about his glove. So, I don't think think that giving him up will hurt us that badly, as long as we get something special in return.
Oliver Perez had a wonderful season for us, but he'll be a free agent next year. He won't be extended a qualifying offer, so in order to get any value back for him before he leaves, we would have to trade him (sob). Trahan was our top draft pick from 2012, and so far, he has been a goose-egg. He is still young and can hit some home runs, so the Mets could be interested; however, his OPS in the minors was less than .700 last year. He hit nineteen home runs and his OPS was still less than .700. Let that sink in for a moment. Do you realize how bad he'd have to be in all the other at-bats to earn those stats? I'm not sad about seeing him walk. Adam Miller is just a name.
However, the guys we're getting back are something special. Stephen Matz is a 24 year old left-handed pitcher who is creating some legitimate buzz due to his absolute dominance in the minors. In 24 starts, he posted a 2.24 ERA, struck out nearly five times as many batters as he walked, and had a WHIP of 1.19. His fastball sits in the low nineties, but his command of it is remarkable. His changeup and curve have also improved from last year. I'm not saying there's no risk; he did have Tommy John surgery in 2012. However, he pitched over 140 innings this year, showed no signs of fatigue or injury, and flat-out dominated. He could pitch right now in our big-league rotation, and a Gregorius-for-Matz trade would probably be extremely fair for both teams.
As for Matthew Reynolds, he is 24-year old infielder who hit like a hall-of-famer in the minors. His overall stat line between AA and AAA was as follows: a .343 average,.405 OBP, .454 SLG. .859 OPS, 20 SB, and 7 triples. In other words, he played like Derek Jeter. And he's only the #20 prospect of the Mets! He's severely undervalued, which is why Trahan, Perez, and Miller would be enough to secure him. I'm telling you: this dude is legitimate, and would be one heck of a lot better than Gregorius. In this trade, we're getting younger players (except for Trahan, whose faults have already been discussed) who have played much, much better as of late.
The final three trades tomorrow. I'll wait while you get some popcorn.