Even though this article has my name on it, I take no credit for this whatsoever. In fact, this idea was thought up by Shoewizard and it includes the Diamondbacks working on a deal with the Cleveland Indians to try to help the team moving forward. The Diamondbacks aren’t in a position to contend for 2016 as both James and I pointed out this week. The Diamondbacks traded a lot of their minor league talent in what will be forever known as a disaster trade to land Shelby Miller and the team needs to replace that talent.
The Diamondbacks should absolutely sell their top two bullpen arms in Hudson and Ziegler and try to get whatever talent they can back. We’ve already had the first major deal for a bullpen arm with the Marlins trading a talented arm in Chris Paddack for Fernando Rodney, a pitcher with a solid track record over the last 5 years despite a 2015 hiccup in Seattle. Brad Ziegler has had an outstanding track record as a reliever, especially when it comes to getting ground balls and double plays, from when he debuted in 2008 and should fetch something similar in a trade.
We already know there is interest in both Ziegler and Hudson from the Cleveland Indians. The Diamondbacks have also stated they will deal both relievers if they cannot strike an extension deal before the trade deadline. As the Diamondbacks currently stand, they’re 6 games back of the Wild Card so they’re going to do everything they can to stay afloat before packing it in.
So here’s the gist of the deal, the basic analysis will be from only the Diamondbacks’ perspective:
Diamondbacks send: C Welington Castillo (control through 2018), Relievers Daniel Hudson and Brad Ziegler
Diamondbacks receive: C Francisco Mejia, SS Erik Gonzalez, RHP Mike Clevinger/LHP Rob Kaminsky
Mejia, Clevinger, and Kaminsky all rank in Baseball America’s Top 10 Cleveland Indians Prospects, so there’s that to hang your hat on. The Diamondbacks would be giving up a catcher with two years of control and a potent bat with Castillo, but the Diamondbacks do have an interesting piece behind the plate in Chris Herrmann who should get more ABs. They also have Oscar Hernandez, who after missing some time to start the season hit .295/.402/.464 in 34 games for Class A-Advanced Visalia got promoted to AA Mobile, where he’s 5 for 19 with 3 home runs. The Diamondbacks can then get an evaluation of their catching situation if Herrmann can be an everyday guy, Tuffy Gosewisch has proven to be a defensive-first catcher who plays the typical backup role, and have a couple promising players in Hernandez and Mejia. I don’t think the Diamondbacks will be significantly weakened at the catcher spot unless Herrmann gets injured or suddenly forgets how to hit.
On the infield side of the trade, the Diamondbacks have a plethora of middle infielders with Nick Ahmed, Chris Owings, Jean Segura, and Brandon Drury. Adding Gonzalez to the mix mucks up the picture a bit, although you can never have enough depth there. All 4 of those infielders have question marks moving forward. For Ahmed, the question is whether his bat will develop consistency or if what we’re seeing now is his ceiling. In Segura’s case, he’s rediscovered the form that made him an All-Star in 2013, the only question is sustainability although his approach this year is the most conducive towards that. For Owings, the question is health as he’s missed significant time in the last 3 years and the one year he did play was negatively-affected from a shoulder injury the previous year. Brandon Drury’s problem is not being able to get consistent ABs at a position that doesn’t drag down his value. The Diamondbacks can answer that question by trading one of the four players, although barring a significant return (Top 100 Prospect, another Top 5 Team Prospect at least), they should hold onto them.
The third piece in the deal would greatly boost the pitching depth in the Diamondbacks system. Clevinger is a MLB-ready arm that the Diamondbacks could give an in-depth look towards in the 2nd half of the season. Clevinger has pitched to a 2.70 ERA in 13 starts (70 innings) for AAA Columbus and a solid 76/28 K/BB. Kaminsky isn’t close to the majors, but was a 1st round arm that Cleveland acquired when they dealt Brandon Moss to the St. Louis Cardinals at the deadline last year. Kaminsky has struggled since the trade, his numbers in AA Akron aren’t inspiring, but it could be a case of him doing better with different coaching. Kaminsky yields a less-inspiring return, but adds another lefty to the system. If given the choice, I take Clevinger even though Kaminsky is 4 years younger.
For the Diamondbacks, the team needs to use the Trade Deadline to improve the team in 2017 and beyond. That includes dealing expiring contracts to contenders that need that one piece for some cost-controlled talent. The Diamondbacks were able to rebuild their farm system a bit in 2010 and 2014 with that approach. This is a very similar type deal. The next month will be very important from an evaluation standpoint, as they try to figure out who is here to stay and who gets dealt. Jean Segura (under control through 2018) and Tyler Clippard (signed through 2017) are other names to keep an eye on as the team tries to add talent.