The trade deadline is fast approaching. With the Diamondbacks clearly out of contention in 2016, and already looking at a tightly stretched budget for 2017, what are the possible or likely trades that could be coming down in the next 18 days?
Daniel Hudson: Hudson is the most obvious candidate on the team to change uniforms before August 1st. Despite a rough final two weeks of the half, Hudson was dominant before that. He’s also likely in line for a lucrative 2-year deal this November, something similar to what Ziegler or Clippard are making right now. Despite Hudson saying all the right things about wanting to return to Arizona, he has also left very little room for speculators to believe he will take a hometown discount after this season is over. As this may well be his very best chance for a “big payday”, it is hard to fault him. Rather than get nothing in return from Hudson should he depart via free agency, expect the Diamondbacks to target some more pieces in the lower minors that can be added to those obtained in the Ziegler trade, helping this team build for 2019 and 2020.
Josh Collmenter: Josh Collmenter may simply find himself headed back to the minors if he is unable to improve his performance in the mop-up roll. If he is though, the team may try to flip him to a contender in need of a middle relief arm that can shore up a bullpen showing some early signs of fatigue. Any return here would be negligible, but moving Collmenter, one way or the other, opens up a slot on the 25-man roster for the team to begin evaluating arms for 2017.
Tyler Clippard: Clippard is the wild card. With Ziegler leaving and Hudson almost certain to follow, Clippard would represent the best arm in the bullpen. He is on a reasonable contract, and is signed through the end of next season. The team could simply hold on to Clippard until this time next season and either add to him by acquiring talent or let him go via trade then. There is no hurry to move him. However, team control of Clippard is part of what makes him appealing. If a team comes along and can offer a MLB-ready player in exchange (or at least one very near to ready), the team may roll the dice and make that move. It saves them a not insignificant bit of cash to do so, and we know that has been an issue. The Diamondbacks have been building up a small stable of reliever arms over the last two years. This could be a very astute time to make use of that cache of arms.
Jean Segura: The opinions on whether or not Segura can or should be traded are rather vocally divided. There are many who believe trading Segura now is the right thing to do, claiming that it would be selling high on a guy who, even in his breakout season, has never shown an ability to play league average ball beyond the All-Star Game. There are others that believe he has turned a corner, that injuries and personal tragedy prevented him from making the necessary adjustments after he learned the hard way in 2013 that the league will adapt. For what it’s worth, I am starting to become cautiously optimistic about Segura. I do think that this is going to be his career-best season. I’m not as convined as I once was that the drop-off is going to be severe though. Under those circumstances, unless a team comes around offering a player that could make a tangible difference to the 2017 roster, I would hold on to Segura, and I think the Diamondbacks do too.
Welington Castillo: Of the two primary backstops right now, Castillo costs more money and has less team control remaining. The Diamondbacks have seen more offensive production out of the catching position than any other team in all of baseball. There’s something to be said for that. On the other hand, there is also something to be said for running out two catchers that are all bat and no glove, who are costing this team runs and putting extra pressure on a pitching staff already under siege. I would expect Castillo to be shopped, but I think that becomes and offseason move, not a mid-season one, unless one of the front-runners loses a catcher to injury between now and 1 August.
Robbie Ray: Ray is capable to touching 97 while throwing from the left side and has shown glimpses of being a solid #3 pitcher. He has 4 full years of control left. There is a lot to like about Robbie Ray. Plenty of teams are going to kick the tires on him. In the end, with Diamondback pitching being what it is, I expect Ray to still be in the rotation when the 2017 season rolls around.
Patrick Corbin: Once the darling of the pitching staff, Corbin is on his way to his second run through arbitration. This season is going to do him no favors in that regard, but it does go to show that the team’s years of control of Corbin are dwindling, while the cost to retain him is still going to increase, if even only a little. Simply by making it through a full season of work, Corbin will be in line for a raise. Just as with Ray, the team is in need of MLB-ready arms for the rotation. When going right, Corbin is one of the better left-handed starters around. It has been two seasons since Corbin has been going right though. With Shipley, Godley, and Banda all knocking on the door, Patrick Corbin’s days with the club could be numbered. Once again though, unless a team comes along and offers an overpayment in order to acquire Corbin to fill an injury-created need for a competing rotation, I would expect any move of Corbin to happen during the offseason.
The Take: In the end, I think only Hudson gets moved. That said, if Hudson is for some reason not moved, I would expect to hear news of an extension shortly thereafter. The rest of the team seems likely to be kept together until the offseason where there will be more teams looking to make moves to acquire MLB-ready talent instead of just prospects.