Less than a week ago, the Houston Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Oakland Athletics. Since then, LaTroy Hawkins, Jose Reyes, Shane Victorino, David DeJesus, David Murphy, Tyler Clippard, Jonathan Papelbon, Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Ben Zobrist, Johnny Cueto, and some guy named Troy Tolwoitzki have all changed teams. On top of that, a number of top prospects and a few draft picks have also changed hands. It is also a near-certainty that we will be able to add Cole Hamels' name to that list within the next 48 hours. This has been one of the more active and exciting trade deadlines in a number of years.
One team which has had its name come up at least in discussions for some of these trades is the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now in the middle of what has been an evaluate and rebuild year, it seemed in April, May, and even in June that the Diamondbacks would be very active at the trade deadline. While the names they would be moving would not be headliners, the amount of roster turnover between games 1 and 162 was expected to be somewhat high. Pre-season moves made by the front office only served to support that notion. Miguel Montero was moved to the Chicago Cubs. Trevor Cahill went, along with a draft pick, to the Atlanta Braves only days before the season opener. Cody Ross was given his walking papers. Later, a combination of injury and performance issues seemed to accelerate the Diamondbacks' clock on making moves, resulting in the team moving Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuño to the Seattle Mariners for Welington Castillo. Then famously (or infamously in some corners) the team unloaded Bronson Arroyo on the Atlanta Braves by packaging him with Touki Toussaint. This final move was seen as the precursor for something bigger. Later comments by Dave Stewart, and the obvious lack of any move since then has curtailed that notion, but there are still two days left for that something bigger to materialize.
Should there be something bigger though? Are the Diamondbacks really in a place to make a major, franchise-defining move? What about all the veteran pieces the team has that will not be part of the future? What should the team be doing about them?
Not Going Anywhere:
Probably Not Readily Available:
Rubby De La Rosa
Should Not Be Readily Available (but just might be):
*not currently on 25-man roster
The names appearing on those lists have made their way onto those lists for various reason. Some of those names could probably have been on multiple lists. I decided to limits names to one list though, in order to keep things simple. That leaves 11 members of the 25-man roster and a host of other names from the minors still trade candidates.
The thing is, the majority (if not all) of the names left, are of the sort to not bring back much in a return. Sure, players like Ender Inciarte and David Peralta are showing they have value, but they are more valuable to Arizona than most other teams. Those players would need to be part of a package in an attempt to bring back a larger, more valuable return.
Since moving Toussaint and Arroyo, the Diamondbacks have shown every inclination to simply finish the season as is and to try making moves in the offseason. This is, however a season for getting the best possible idea of what talent the team has, and for preparing the good talents for 2016 and beyond. As such, the team still has plenty of moves that could or should be made if they want to complete that mission.
Players that can/should be traded by the deadline:
Andrew Chafin, Josh Collmenter, Jeremy Hellickson, David Hernandez, Oliver Perez, Addison Reed, Brad Ziegler, Chris Owings, Cliff Pennington, Ender Inciarte, David Peralta, Allen Webster, Chase Anderson, Aaron Hill, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
That's a list of 15 players on the roster that the team should be looking into the return for. Granted, those last two are not getting traded, as neither has any trade value. Nor does it seem that Aaron Hill is a candidate to get the Touki treatment as, if he was, he would likely have been the one packaged with Toussaint instead of Arroyo.
Obviously, if the team were to move either Peralta or Inciarte, the other one would quickly become far less available. Chris Owings, despite his struggles, should not come cheap for any team in on him. Likewise, any team looking at Chase Anderson should be prepared to give up a quality, MLB-bound/ready piece in return. The most valuable chip in that list is clearly Brad Ziegler. The team has already come out and announced that they would need to be "blown away" in order to consider moving him. This is a euphemism generally reserved for "don't bother asking". That still leaves plenty of names on the list that represent various levels of veteran bloat, or simply pieces that might or might not actually be a key part of the next Diamondbacks playoff team. Moving any of these pieces for like value, especially developing value with years of control left simply makes sense. Any "holes" created on the 25-man roster could readily be plugged by talent the team already has in the system. Tis would go a very long way in propelling the evaluations forward and clearing out organizational bloat in the upper levels.
The Take: Despite a substantial list of candidates to trade from, it does appear that the Diamondbacks could be through with making any significant moves before the deadline. The biggest possible exception would seem to be LHRP, Oliver Perez. Given his status as a free agent-to-be, combined with his reasonable contract and decent results from the left side, it still remains a fair possibility that he might be moved by the deadline. For various assorted reasons, just about every other name on that list would seem to be staying put unless the organization pulls a surprise move from out of a hat. While I don't necessarily think it is the best approach, it is clearly better than pursuing many of the talents headlining the trade market. The team is better off if it simply stands pat and waits until the offseason to get aggressive, using the financial freedom it will have as a difference-maker instead of highly regarded developing talent.
As a side not, the Pirates, Twins, Orioles, and Rays are all in the running for the playoffs and may be in the market for a small boost the likes of which the Diamondbacks could provide without moving major pieces. These teams are significant because they all possess competitive balance draft picks in next year's draft. It would be very interesting to see the Diamondbacks target those teams using Perez, Reed, Pennington, Webster, Hernandez, or possibly even O'Brien to try and pry away some of those picks. Extra high level picks is one way the Diamondbacks can battle with the likes of the Dodgers (who have already added one of their own) and the Giants moving forward. In fact, a deal made with any team receiving a competitive balance pick should probably at least include some discussion of the Diamondbacks acquiring the pick, though the other teams (Reds, A's, Rockies, Marlins, Padres, Indians, Brewers) are unlikely to part with them for anything the Diamondbacks are currently in a position to trade.