As the Diamondbacks descend deeper and deeper into the depths of baseball hell, the likelihood of being sellers up through the July 31st trade deadline has move to certainty. The only questions are whether or not there are any buyers for who the D-backs have to sell, and when those potential buyers might be interested to make a move.
On June 10 Mike Hazen talked about this dynamic:
Nothing is imminent....just merely due to the calendar. Regardless of what our intent is, you can have the intent to want to do something, but if other teams are just wait and see, for the next 40 or 50 days, there’s only so much you’re gonna do, and we’re not chasing things around necessarily. If opportunities present themselves to better this team or better the organization, we will do that.
Be that as it may, that won’t stop us and the rest of the baseball world from wondering, talking about, and speculating what might happen. So here is my initial foray into the trade speculation realm for 2021. MAJOR DISCLAIMER: I have zero inside information on what might happen. I am just looking at things from the outside in like everyone else and trying to deduce possible scenarios.
- Dependable above average left hand batter, (career 113 OPS+, 104 since 2019)
- Solid defender in left, Gold Glove in 2019, 3 yr avg, +1 OAA (Statcast) & +1 rDRS (BIS)
- Good clubhouse guy, energetic, plays hard, good work ethic, leader, “fan favorite”
- Very Reasonable contract, $7.5M per year in 2021-2022, free agent 2023.
- He’s 33 and having a somewhat down season amidst the carnage that is Arizona
- He has some injury history, missing large chunks of 2019 and 2016, but has played in 116 of possible 127 games, (91%) in 2020-21 so far
- He has large career platoon splits, .859 OPS vs. RHP, 672 OPS vs. LHP
Best Fit: New York Yankees, with their short left field porch, a left handed hitter with some pop could thrive there. Miguel Andujar (91 OPS+) has taken over for Clint Frazier (73 OPS+) in left field lately. Both are right handed hitters, and both are well below average defenders. The Yankees can obviously afford Peralta’s salary for the remainder of this year and next. While not currently in a playoff position in the standings, this makes too much sense for the Yankees.
(Hat tip to James for helping me out on this one, I originally had the Braves as best fit)
Other possibility: Atlanta Braves. Marcel Ozuna, already out with injury and playing poorly before that was arrested on a domestic violence charge at the end of May and may not be returning at all for the Braves. They’re currently running former Diamondback and journeyman outfielder Abraham Almonte out to left every day. GM Alex Anthopoulos recently confirmed he’s in a position to add payroll. However with a 30-33 record they sit 5.5 games behind the Mets in the NL East and 6.5 games out of the Wild Card. Keep your eye on them though as they could easily get hot and improve their “buy position”
The St. Louis Cardinals have also been linked to Peralta in some media reports, but it’s not exactly clear why.
Trade Value Calculator:
Summary: Expect a modest return. The Diamondbacks are not going to get a highly ranked prospect for Peralta. But they should be able to get a guy that’s projected to reach the majors at some point and produce 1-2 WAR during his pre arb years. The benefits to Arizona of a David Peralta trade will primarily be salary relief, as the team should not have to absorb much if any of his contract, and the player development value of giving the playing time to a younger player that might contribute to a winning team in a couple of years. As for Freight Train, he’s given us a lot of enjoyment over the years. If he’s traded, I hope he gets the chance to be a part of a playoff run and have some fun.
- Average to above average defender at two key infield positions, 3B & 2b
- He’s rediscovered his power stroke this year, with 15 HR and 43 RBI so far
- Very durable switch hitter, doesn’t need to be platooned, seldom misses a game
- High energy, another good clubhouse guy, very positive person
- He seldom walks and is prone to batting average slumps, leading to low OBP (.270 in 2020, .286 in 2021)
- Can be “game planned” because he can’t lay off the high fastball and can’t hit it.
- Strictly a rental at 32 years old. Free agent at the end of 2021.
Best Fit: Milwaukee Brewers. Third baseman Travis Shaw is out until August with a dislocated shoulder and was having a terrible year before the injury. Shaw is only on a 1 year $1.5M contract. The Brewers have been using Luis Urias and Pablo Reyes over the last 6 games at the hot corner. Escobar would be a large upgrade over either. At the same time second baseman Kolten Wong is on the IL with an oblique injury, (due back soon though) and the Brewers have been filling in with Jace Peterson and Daniel Robertson. None of these fill ins at either 3b or 2b seem to be the answer. Dead Even with the Cubs in the NL central at 38-28, Escobar seems like a perfect fit for them if they can afford a few million bucks
Other Possibility: San Francisco Giants. Evan Longoria is out for at least 6-8 weeks with a shoulder injury and Tommy La Stella is on the 60 day IL with a hamstring injury. He’s eligible to come off on July 5th though. The Giants have been filling in with Jason Vosler and Wilmer Flores at 3rd and Donovan Solano and Flores at 2b. They may feel that’s enough coverage until Longoria and La Stella come back, but they may also want to shore up the infield and not squander their excellent first 2 1⁄2 months of the season with the Dodgers breathing down their necks.
Trade Value Calculator
Summary: A trade of Escobar would also primarily be about salary relief. I may be under estimating his trade value a bit with the above calculator. He’s got 1.1 bWAR so far, which is about a 2.5 WAR pace. So a team may value him closer to 1.5 WAR from here forward , (or however they are figuring value) and that may drive his perceived value up to $8M , or roughly on par with Peralta. On the other hand, without that extra year of control available, it’s hard to say.
It’s been highlighted by James and others that the D-backs do not really have anyone ready to step in at 3rd base that we can easily identify, but if there is a buyer to take on El De La Pica’s contract, they’ll move on it. When he was traded here, a Twins fan stopped by to tell us we were going to love him. We did ! He’s another guy I would love to see get a crack at the post season. He’s only played in one in his career, the 2017 Wild card Game. (He went 2 for 4)
So let us know in the comments your thoughts on whether the team moves either of these players, where they might go, and what they might get in return.
Who will the D-backs find a better market for ?
This poll is closed