The Diamondbacks on the field suffered a very ugly July where the team went 7-18 on the field. The team is more likely to compete for the #1 overall pick than the 2nd wildcard spot, sitting 14 games back of the Miami Marlins. The team currently owns the 5th worst record in baseball and depending on how the draft rolls around could use the failures from the 2016 season to stock up the farm. In a very quiet deadline period, the Diamondbacks wound up trading veteran relievers Brad Ziegler and Tyler Clippard this month, keeping the core of the team intact. That suggests to the fanbase that the team believes it could contend for 2017.
The team core of Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin, AJ Pollock, and Chris Owings are all still a Diamondback although none of them were really involved in trade rumors. The two pieces that left come from the most replaceable part of the roster in the bullpen, although Brad Ziegler will be very tough to replace in terms of his consistency and great clubhouse presence. In addition, they jettisoned swingman Josh Collmenter who was the 2nd longest tenured member on the team to shake up the clubhouse and put everyone on notice. The team was also likely trying to move Daniel Hudson at the deadline, but a really rocky string of appearances have appeared to torpedo his overall trade value and is now more of a bounce-back candidate for teams to sign in the offseason.
The two returns for the relievers are relatively modest compared to similar deals, with Ziegler fetching a pair of C+ prospects and Tyler Clippard getting a starting pitcher prospect who has pitched well this year after coming back from a 2014 Tommy John surgery. There's always a chance that all three of them wash out in the Diamondbacks system, but they do bring back the promise of being potential contributors for a longer period of time than the players the team dealt for them. Prospects are more volatile than regular major leaguers, which is why you need to stockpile a lot of them so the spaghetti method can play itself out. As a organization, the team lacks blue-chip prospects although the recent arrivals of red-chip prospects such as Archie Bradley, Brandon Drury, and Braden Shipley does give the team something to work with moving forward.
As I posted last week, the team should use August and September as a tryout period to try to fill roster spots for 2017. Whatever moves the team doesn't have to make, the better things go That means prospects and players with team control going beyond this season should get preferential treatment in terms of playing time. That means players coming back from injury and prospects who have proven themselves in the upper minors should be given a look in September when the rosters expand. Yes, that means Yasmany Tomas, Chris Owings and Brandon Drury in the outfield until Socrates Brito and AJ Pollock return and lots of runs coming due to inadequate defense there. Reliever prospects Jake Barrett and Enrique Burgos should be given opportunities to prove themselves as high-leverage relievers.
For the potential impact in the next offseason, I don't expect too many fireworks considering the makeup of the roster and farm system as is. The team lacks the pieces needed to acquire starting pitching with a farm that has maybe 2 or 3 red chip prospects (red chip prospects are players I think are future major leaguers, not necessarily game-changing talent like blue chip prospects). The problems surrounding the major league team will have to be solved with internal improvements and better coaching. It's not a roster that lacks talent, but rather lacks experience. The Diamondbacks are the youngest position player group in baseball and only have 4 guys with postseason experience (Hudson, Goldschmidt, Greinke, Miller) at the major league level. With better injury luck along with better coaching and managing, the team could surprise some people in 2017.