As the above implies, the trade deadline this year is at 1 pm, Arizona time, on Friday afternoon. Arizona are, for very obvious reasons, expected to be sellers and the process has already started, with the departures of outfielder Tim Locastro to the Yankees (where he promptly suffered a torn right ACL), and catcher Stephen Vogt to the Braves, in exchange for a lottery ticket prospect. It’s quite likely they won’t be the last. While we will have write-ups on any actual trades as appropriate, feel free to use this thread as a dumping ground for any rumors and speculation, as well as suggestions for potential good landing spots for any of Arizona’s remaining players.
The potential candidates seem to be just about anyone whose control does not extend past 2022. Those who are free agents at the end of this season are short-term rentals for teams looking to make a playoff push over the last two months, while those who come with control for next season as well, will potentially have a greater degree of value. Here’s the list of all the Diamondbacks who fall into either category and are currently healthy (hence, no Chris Devenski).
Free agents this winter
- Asdrubal Cabrera
- Eduardo Escobar
- Bryan Holaday
- Josh Reddick
- Joakim Soria
Escobar looks likely to be the one in most demand, having shown a strong return to form, especially in the power department, after a disappointing 2020 in which he hit just four home-runs in 54 games. He is already up at 22, a number exceeded in the majors at the hot corner only be the Red Sox’s Rafael Devers. There had been speculation earlier he would go to the White Sox, Bob Nightengale Tweeting on June 26 that Escobar would be “soon on his way from the #Dbacks to the #WhiteSox“. A month later, we’re still waiting, Bob. He claimed subsequently the teams “all but agreed to the trade,” until Escobar got hurt, then the reliever coming to Arizona needed a cortisone shot.
Cabrera and Soria also figure to see some interest. The former offers positional flexibility, having started at both corner infield positions, and has been decent enough, putting up 1.1 bWAR over 65 games for the D-backs. Health had been a concern, as he had missed 20 games in May, and recently had another injured list stint with a hamstring strain. However, he seems to have come back healthy, going 2-for-6 with a pair of doubles since coming back. Soria had a wobbly start as a Diamondback, and also missed a month with a calf strain. But over his last fourteen appearances and 13.1 IP, he has a 2.70 ERA and a K:BB of 16:3. Relievers are always in demand at the deadline, though the return for Soria likely won’t be much.
Free agents after 2022
- Kole Calhoun ($9 million team option)
- Tyler Clippard ($3.5 million mutual option)
- Merrill Kelly ($5.25 million team option)
- David Peralta ($7 million contract)
Let’s be honest, the Diamondbacks are probably not going to compete in 2022 either. While they have been involved in some of the biggest turnarounds in NL history, going from cellar to first in the NL West in 2011, that only required an improvement of +29 games. With the team currently looking unlike to reach sixty wins, even a similar resurrection next year would probably not be enough to reach the post-season in 2022. On that basis, it might make sense to listen to offers for players who will be under team control then. [I’ve filed Clippard here for logistical reasons; I’m not certain what happens to that mutual option if he is dealt] You’ll likely get more for them than the two month rentals discussed in the previous section.
Kelly is the highest profile name here, and it’s ironic to think we were genuinely wondering whether he might be a non-tender candidate this off-season, after the starting pitcher underwent thoracic outlet surgery. For Merrill merely leads the team in starts, innings pitched and wins, with a respectable 95 ERA+, while putting up 1.7 bWAR. With a FIP half a run better than his ERA, at 3.89, he has demonstrated both health and quality, and that option for 2022 is rather team-friendly. With the D-backs’ rotation now getting close to full health again, and no hope of contention, there might be seen as enough depth to merit dealing Kelly.
The problems with Peralta and Calhoun is that they haven’t exactly set the world on fire this season. Calhoun, in particular, has really struggled since his return from the injured list. He missed 67 games after undergoing surgery to remove a split hamstring tendon, and over 11 games back, is hitting just .108 (4-for-37) with no extra-base hits, for a .283 OPS. Peralta’s current .724 OPS is the worst in his career, largely a result of his lack of power. The Freight Train hit thirty home-runs as recently as 2018. his last fully healthy season, but has managed a mere four thus far in 2021. Clippard has a good overall track record, but has just two innings of work, a shoulder injury meaning he only debuted last week.
So, there’s the overview. Feel free to post any reports or interesting suggestions in the comments, discuss any of the above, etc.