The likely final domino in a hectic trade deadline day for the D-backs has fallen, with closer Archie Bradley being dealt to the Cincinnati Reds, in exchange (per John Gambadoro) for Stuart Fairchild and Josh VanMeter. Bradley had been with the D-backs since 2015, giving them a 3.96 ERA (112 ERA+) over 249 appearances. This was his first year as the closer on Opening Day, though he had notched 18 last season, after taking over the role. There simply weren’t many save opportunities to be had this year, and he only had six, with a 4.22 ERA over 10.2 innings. He’ll likely be most remembered, however, for his triple during the 2017 wild-card game against Colorado, the first ever hit by a relief pitcher in the playoffs.
Bradley was slated to become a free-agent at the end of the 2021 season, and with the D-backs apparently entering a cost-conscious era, it seems Mike Hazen decided to go for what he could get for the closer. Fairchild is a 24-year-old outfielder, who split last season between High-A and Double-A. Combined, he batted .264/.352/.441, with a dozen home-runs in 109 games. VanMeter is a 25-year-old utility guy, with a career line of .214/.305/.378 (OPS+ of 74) in 109 games, this year and last. Not an overwhelming haul, but considering you’re talking a month’s worth of work from a relief pitcher, it would likely have been highly optimistic to expect anything else.
It’ll be interesting to see who gets the save opportunities for the D-backs the rest of the season. I can see it being an open audition among the young players for the job, including Stefan Crichton, Yoan Lopez and Kevin Ginkel. I can’t see the team leaning to heavily on veterans like Junior Guerra or Hector Rondon, if they are really looking to build for the future.