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Arizona Diamondbacks rumor round-up: Time to sell?

After last night, it’s hard to argue this team are legitimate playoff contenders.

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The D-backs have just gone 2-2 against two of the worst teams in baseball and find themselves, once again, sitting at an exactly even record. With the trade deadline now only four days away, it’s time for the team to decide exactly which direction they want to go. And the signs appear to be that they are going into sell mode. Jon Morosi came down emphatically on the side of the conversation with the following Tweet this morning:

If the above is true, it appears the Diamondbacks are preparing to trade players with relatively short team control for prospects. We discussed earlier in the month the pros and cons of most of the big names, covering issues like Zack Greinke’s contract and his no-trade clause. Not much has changed with any of those factors, but there do appear to be some new trade candidates and potential suitors being floated.

Jarrod Dyson

Dyson’s speed is the main tool of interest, and is likely to be of interest to a number of playoff teams. In the post-season, games are often closer than in the regular season, putting a premium on single runs and stolen bases [you need only think of Dave Roberts’ theft of second in Game 4 of the 2003 ALCS, a steal that “saved the Red Sox’ season and set the forces in motion for the greatest postseason comeback march in American sports history”]. Jarrod’s 23 steals leads the league, and his career 85.26% is the best among all active players (min. 80 attempts), so he’d be a potentially potent weapon in the playoffs, if wielded judiciously.

As far as Arizona is concerned, he’s probably surplus to requirements, with the team having Tim Locastro on the books. Thanks in no small part to his talent as a ball magnet, Locastro has provided fractionally better offensive production (OIPS+ of 84 vs. 80 for Dyson), and is the fastest man in the majors this year, while Dyson ranks 95th. Jon Heyman Tweeted yesterday that Dyson was “drawing a lot of trade interest,” though the Cubs were the only team specifically mentioned. That echoed an earlier report on The Athletic, which said Dyson would be a potential platoon partner with Albert Almora Jr., taking advantage of his much better numbers against right-handed hitters over his career (.683 vs. .579 OPS).

Robbie Ray

Ray’s name continues to surface in trade rumors, as you’d expect from one of the top starting pitchers potentially available (especially with the Giants suddenly no longer in sell mode on Madison Bumgarner). Morosi says that the Minnesota Twins “are among the teams to inquire on #DBacks starter Robbie Ray.” That adds them to a list of potential suitors which previously included the Yankees, Phillies, Brewers and Astros. Earlier in the week, Morosi Tweeted that New York has recently been in contact with the Diamondbacks, and it seems little in doubt that there is a strong market for Ray’s services. On that basis, it should be possible for Mike Hazen to get a good package in return. But is the will to sell there?

Certainly, the Yankees appear in real need of starting pitching help right now. Over their last six games going into play today, New York starters possess an ERA of 17.86, having allowed 43 earned runs over 2123 innings of work, none of them getting past the fourth inning. Milwaukee is another new name on the list, with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic putting them forward, after the Brewers lost starters Brandon Woodruff and Jhoulys Chacin to injury. However, he points out that their farm system is near-barren, having recently been ranked by Baseball America as the worst in the major-leagues. They might therefore find it tough to come up with a good enough package for Ray.