We’re returning to what we used to do last year, with a guest contributor each week. If you’d like to take part, speak up in the comments. It’s first-come, first served; questions are sent out on a Saturday, with replies needed by Sunday evening.
Is selling now inevitable?
Dano: Well, press is reporting that we are considering moving our veterans, including Greinke, Ray, Peralta, Dyson, Chafin, Bradley (?!?) and Holland. And that our front office is very much in “sell” mode. So, yeah, I think we’re pretty much done for 2019. And I think at this point I’m fine with that. Though it would break my heart to see Peralta in Cubbie blue.
Jack: Derek Hall said not to expect any big trades, but who knows? I’m way past trying to figure out if they will or will not sell or buy. I’m just thinking about the natural consequences of each of their potential paths.
Makakilo: Why selling looks wise:
- To increase chances of reaching the World Series in future seasons.
- To increase sustainability – more years of control.
- This season’s odds of reaching a wild-card game are low (about 25%).
- The D-backs have won 50%, which is not enough to reach the playoffs. Albeit that some stats, like run differential, show the D-backs have potential to win more than 50% of their games.
- In the last six games, against the Orioles and Marlins, the D-backs are just 3-3. These two teams could be swept by a contender.
- This is an opportunity to trade a starting pitcher – with high demand and low supply.
Why selling is not inevitable:
- Only 3 days until the trade deadline.
- For many reasons, when a potential win-win trade is identified, it may not be executed.
Turambar: Yup, we’re sellers. Hazen and Co. know we’re not competing this year and they know we need to keep stocking up on young talent. Now all that matters is ensuring that the deals we do make have the best return possible. Look towards tomorrow……..
James: Derrick Hall insists it is unlikely any major moves will be made. Of course, he is non-specific about what a major move is. I think the team should be selling at least some assets to set up for next season some and to allow guys on the farm a chance to come up and play so we can see what we have. I do think that at least Dyson will be gone, and possibly Chafin.
Predict what D-backs will be gone by the deadline.
Dano: I’d guess Ray will be gone, maybe Jones, maybe Holland. Perhaps Peralta as well. Bradley? Who knows? Or maybe nobody...one of the things that’s made the “buy/sell” debate difficult to judge this year, for me, has been that it’s not entirely clear who might want/have the means to buy what we might be inclined to sell.
Jack: C.C. Sabathia just went on the IL and Yankees pitching has been getting knocked around brutally of late. It’s possible they could be extra motivated to make a move, although they may focus attention on another pitcher too. Ray by far has the biggest trade value of anyone likely to be made available, so that is another factor. IF the team makes a serious “sell” move, it has to include Ray it would seem. Beyond that I think the next most likely player to be traded is Jarrod Dyson because it’s an easy move.
Makakilo: I predict Robbie Ray will be traded to either the Mets or the Yankees. The return from the Mets could be either Noah Syndergaard or Edwin Diaz. The return from the Yankees could be minor league players Clint Frazier and Deivi Garcia. To make the trade win-win, the D-backs may need to include another player, such as Avila, Dyson, Lamb, or Souza.
Turambar: Ray is gone. Someone will overpay for him as the bigger fish in the Majors gear up for the postseason. As for everyone else? Who knows, though imagine Dyson might be the easiest to move after Ray. We’ll see, but someone is getting moved.
James: I have a feeling Dyson gets moved. I also would not be at all shocked if Chafin gets moved. Although plenty of teams have shown interest in Ray, there is no sense for just what sort of market Ray brings. Hall says not to expect a major trade. It is hard to get much bigger than trading Ray.
What do you want to see the team get in their trades?
Dano: Talent that is reasonably likely to perform well (ish) at the major league level, and soon. Especially if Ray and Greinke get moved, it’ll be a challenge for us to field even a remotely respectable starting rotation for the last couple of months of the season. Beyond that, especially considering a Greinke trade, salary relief, though if the relief just winds up on owners’ pockets rather than being reinvested into the team, I would be deeply unhappy.
Jack: They need to get two starting pitchers. Law of averages dictates that injury and underperformance of pitching prospects makes it risky, so they need to offset the risk a bit by getting two of them. Don’t ask me how.
Makakilo: The D-back priority is acquiring a starting pitcher. I want to see the D-backs stick with their plan. Any acquired player should be under team control until the end of the 2021 season, or later.
Turambar: Starting pitching prospects and perhaps a close-to-major-ready outfielder as well.
James: Mostly, a chance for some of the arms that have been languishing in Reno to get a shot in the majors over the last two months. If they trade Ray, the return needs to be a near-ready foundational piece. In all other cases, just something that is better off for the team than a wet towel. After all, the other trade assets don’t have high values.
Do we need a change at closer?
Dano: Yeah, I think Holland is done. As I noted the last night after he blew the Miami save, the salvaged toaster oven has indeed caught fire, scorched the kitchen wall, and is perhaps even burning down the counter unit on which it was resting. I am hopeful that a more plausible 2019 contender will not see it that way (same hope for Bradley, in fact--maybe someone will see something that they will believe that they can fix, and offer some lottery tickets, at least, for the chance to try), and will give us something for him that might be useful down the road. Given the steepness of the cliff that he abruptly seems to have fallen off of, though, I’m not sure that there will be any takers. Here’s hoping, at least. As for who takes over, I’d suggest giving the closer spot to Lopez for the last couple of months. He’s been showing signs of wear and tear recently, but he remains one of our more plausible bullpen arms, and he does have closer-ish stuff, when it’s on anyway.
Jack: Per Nick Piecoro on Twitter:
Torey Lovullo says Greg Holland will be coming out of the closer’s role. Lovullo hopes it is a temporary demotion. Says he hasn’t decided who will take over; could go with matchups for the time being.
Holland is toast. He is no longer an effective pitcher. He has lost stuff, command, and mentality to handle the role. It didn’t work out. It’s time to pull the plug, and not temporarily, regardless of buy or sell position. If buying/contending, they need to stop giving away games. If not contending and building for future, then need to find out if Lopez can do the job. Nothing to lose. They could also give the role to Archie as two months of effective closing might up his trade value during the off season. Just name a closer and go with it.
Turambar: Yup. Holland is all sorts of toast now. He won’t start again this year. Yoshi is the new closer. That is all.
Makakilo: My perception is that relief pitchers are not affordable at this trade deadline, so my pick for closer would be internal.
Although Dano and Jack have talked about giving Lopez and Bradley a chance to show they can close, my pick would be Jimmie Sherfy. His career ERA+ is 461. In the Majors, he allowed earned runs in only 3 games out of 31, while pitching 36.2 innings. He should be given a chance.
James: Greg Holland needs to no longer be on the team after the deadline, even if the team is just moving him for a PTBNL. He is clearly at the end of his rope and is taking away innings from pitchers still trying to prove something.
Yasmany Tomas. Discuss.
Dano: Sample size isn’t big enough at this point to say anything meaningful, I don’t think. As I noted earlier in the week, when El Tanque returned to the 25-man roster, I can live with it, actually see a bit of possible value to the move, and part of me doesn’t mind him actually having to earn his living given how much we’re still paying him. Besides, the move made DC jubilant, if only briefly, and given that I think our season is broadly done, that itself serves to justify the move for me.
Makakilo: Tomas is a world class athlete, who can hit for power. After 2 years in the Majors, he spent 2 years in the minors developing his baseball skills. His development may not be reflected in his minor league stats. Has he blossomed into a valuable player for the D-backs? Maybe or maybe not. Would he add value to a team with openings at first base and designated hitter? Possibly.
Turambar: Meh, I’m over him and him as a topic.
James: Promoting him to the 25-man is the front office throwing in the towel on the season. I’ve said my piece on this plenty of times before.
On a day held in your honor, what would people have to do?
Dano: I think I’d like people to do their best to be decent to each other, and to go out of their way to acknowledge the contributions to their lives of people who support them in perhaps small but nevertheless consistent and reliable ways, and who do so without making a thing about it or calling attention to it. Also, speak hard truths to people who need to hear them, in ways that are as kind and compassionate as possible.
Also, raise a can of cheap beer toward Tucson in my honor as the sun is setting. Just because. I would and will, in the opposite direction, do the same for you.
Jack: Everyone takes a day off spending it however they like. You could call it Jack’s Off Day.
Makakilo: Makakilo’s Optimistic Action Day:
A 10 minute preparation:
- Spend 1 minute being quiet and clearing your mind of distractions.
- Spend 1 minute remembering why you are awesome, but silently. “We are going to win, and I want us to expect to win.” Torey Lovullo interview on Doug & Wolf Show, 27 September 2017.
- Spend 1 minute thinking optimistic thoughts. “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right.” Tweet by Tony Robbins on 17 February 2016.
- Spend 5 minutes to identify one action worth doing. The most worthy actions are a bit crazy, make you very slightly uncomfortable, and include some uncertainty. Adjust as necessary to make sure no person, including yourself, will be harmed. Peter Guber said that knowing that my story has uncertainty in the outcome, I actively participate in the story and that tips the scales in favor of success.
- Spend 1 minute deciding who you could ask for help, if needed.
- Spend 1 minute deciding the first step. Start immediately!
Execute: Do it. Or, complete arrangements to do it. Always do your best!
After your action is successfully completed (I’ve learned success does not mean results were as I expected), spend 5 minutes appreciating yourself and celebrating your effort. Have fun and enjoy the rest of the day.
Turambar: Drink fine craft ale and enjoy a good cigar, not necessarily in that order. Essentially it’ll be a day of slowing down and relaxing. Good conversation, good ale and good cigars. Who could ask for more?
James: Slow down, relax, and be quiet while everyone treats each other with decency and respect.