What the team needs
There has not been much informed comment on the topic of what the team might acquire. Ken Rosenthal says - in the new, painful, all video Fox Sports format - that the Diamondbacks will be “aggressive” at the upcoming deadline. Adding another pitcher and a bat (I would presume, addressing the struggles with left-handed pitching) seem the most likely options in Rosenthal’s opinion. On the mound, I suspect that a bullpen piece would be more likely, both in terms of cost and need. Jorge De La Rosa, with his 4.36 ERA and 4.93 FIP, would be the probable first man out the door. The latter figure is more than a run worse than anyone else currently on the roster.
However, the team might prefer to dip down to the minors for a bullpen arm. Jimmie Sherfy has been putting up excellent numbers for the Aces, particularly considering the environment. Over 29 games and 32.1 innings, he has a 1.29 ERA and a stellar 41:3 K:BB ratio. It was perhaps a bit of a surprise the team recently chose to promote Jake Barrett (5.68 ERA in Reno this year) rather than Sherfy, especially as the latter is already on the 40-man roster anyway. Anything like that, and he could end up being better than anything the team could hope to obtain on the trade market.
However, Nick Piecoro (in another video...) is more cautious, saying action will depend on where the team is in the standings as July 31 approaches. With the team currently 7.5 games back of the Dodgers, there is a case (that I largely made last month), trying to chase them down would be a fool’s errand - not least because of LA’s ability to out-spend and out-prospect us at the deadline. As Piecoro put it earlier today, “If they’re still 7 1/2 games out or more, does it make sense to deal away several prospects for a veteran player whose value might be pegged to just one night – or only four at-bats – in a one-game playoff?”
That’s likely a rhetorical question. The most probable scenario sees the division title drift further out of reach, but the wild-card staying relatively secure. In that case, they may largely rely on the recent return of A.J. Pollock, plus potentially Nick Ahmed and Yasmany Tomas also coming back from injury, to provide a second-half boost to the line-up. With all three being right-handed hitters, that should help with the team’s first-half issues against leftie pitching, where the D-backs finished the first half ranked 14th by OPS.
What the team has to offer
The problem is, to get something, you have to give something up, and the team is short on available trading chips. That’s especially so considering Mike Hazen and team are taking a cautious, longer-term approach, rather than going all in for the 2017 season. There is a little bit in the war-chest, perhaps around $5 million, so perhaps the most likely possibility is picking up a player in their walk year on a non-contending team, to be a two-month rental here down the stretch. They generally would not cost too much more than salary. I’m thinking perhaps someone like outfielder J.D. Martinez of the Tigers - though again, the question of Tomas’s health comes into play.
We can look at MLB.com’s list of our top 30 prospects [which doesn’t include players from the last draft - though they can’t be dealt yet anyway.
Even the “Player to be named later” loophole wouldn’t help at this deadline, as the PTBNL must be named within six months That loophole has been closed] There’s some divergence among the SnakePit writers as to what we might get for these. It is true that there are no consensus top 100 talents present in the system, so you’re not going to get a massive haul. But Hazen et al have shown some skill for talent evaluation, signing and getting decent results out of the likes of T.J. McFarland and Jeremy Hazelbaker.
If there’s a strength in the system which can be used without compromising the long-term situation, it might be the middle infield. We’re likely fairly well set there for a bit, with Chris Owings, Brandon Drury, Ahmed, Ketel Marte. That could make prospects such as Domingo Leyba, Jazz Chisholm and Dawel Lugo potentially surplus to requirements. Though Chisholm in particular, still being a teenager, should perhaps be considered as part of the next wave, with an ETA of 2020. Again, however, much of what happens may depend on how the next two weeks of the season go, whether the team decides to buy, sell or stand pat.
It’ll be an interesting second half of July, that’s for sure.