With just one week before the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, the Diamondbacks are looking to sell some of their players on dwindling control and free up opportunities for younger players who might be around for the next 2-3 seasons.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports is reporting that the D-backs will be active sellers at the deadline.
I expect the Diamondbacks to be active by the MLB trade deadline on August 2nd. Could very well move Davies, Peralta, Kennedy but the two players garnering the most interest are Christian Walker and Joe Mantiply. Walker has two years left of control and Mantiply 4 years.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) July 21, 2022
LF David Peralta
The Diamondbacks have a logjam of left-handed hitting outfielders between the big league club and their AAA affiliate in Reno. Moving Peralta, who will be a free agent after the season, will give the organization an opportunity to evaluate some of those guys and see which of them are worth keeping and who to trade to fill other holes.
Peralta is a strictly a left-handed platoon bat at this stage of his career. Against right-handed pitchers, Peralta has a triple slash of .259/.314/.483 with a 24.5% strikeout rate, 7.5% walk rate, and a wRC+ of 114. Despite being limited to left field defensively, Peralta puts up solid value with the glove with +1 DRS and +4 outs above average.
Suitors for Peralta include the New York Mets, San Diego Padres, and his original team in the St. Louis Cardinals. All three teams will check with the Nationals about Juan Soto and the Royals for Andrew Benintendi before pivoting to David Peralta as their 3rd/4th choice in the trade market for left-handed hitting outfielders. I don’t expect the D-backs to fetch much of a return unless the team elects to pay down some of Peralta’s remaining salary.
1B Christian Walker
Christian Walker has experienced a power surge at the plate with 22 homers, but has become an all-or-nothing hitter of late. Walker has put up a .206/.315/.451 slash (111 wRC+), which on the surface seems good but has a pattern of being unreliable when the team needs him to get a big hit. That could potentially result in him still wearing a Diamondbacks uniform come August 3rd.
Most of his value has come from his glove, where Walker leads all Major League first basemen in defensive runs saved (+13) and outs above average (+10). Walker also provides value, as he has crushed left-handed pitchers to a .282/.387/.564 triple slash with more walks (14) than strikeouts (12) and 5 home runs in 78 plate appearances. On a contending club, Walker could provide value as a platoon bat at first base and a late-inning defensive replacement once his team has the lead.
Milwaukee might be the only contender where a Walker deal could make sense. Rowdy Tellez and Keston Hiura have collectively put up a .576 OPS and a 68 wRC+ against southpaws. A trade for Walker could allow the Brewers to utilize a Tellez/Walker platoon with Walker coming in for defense in games he doesn’t start.
LHP Joe Mantiply
Mantiply is a good sell-high candidate, making his first and likely only All-Star appearance last week. Early in the season, Mantiply was one of the most dominant left-handed relievers as an extreme ground ball pitcher with some swing and miss ability. While controllable through 2026, Mantiply is also 31 years old so his value may never be higher than it is right now.
Through June 21st, Mantiply had pitched to a 0.34 ERA/1.52 FIP/2.46 xFIP with terrific peripherals. Unfortunately there was a full two run difference from ERA and xFIP, so what we’ve seen lately is ERA regression. Mantiply in his last 11 games has gone 0-3 with a 7.36 ERA/5.04 FIP/2.30 xFIP. The biggest culprit appears to be HR/FB regression, as 50% of his fly balls have left the park in that 11-game stretch. On the season as a whole, his ERA sits at 2.39 while advanced ERA estimators suggest his run prevention should be around 2.50.
Mantiply isn’t a high-leverage reliever in a contending team’s bullpen, so he’ll likely move towards a middle innings role when a string of left-handed hitters come up. He has done a slightly better job at retiring lefties, who have a .236 weighted on base average (wOBA) against him while righties have managed a .284 clip. A team that could use an extra lefty out of the bullpen should call the Diamondbacks to pick him up.
RHP Ian Kennedy
Kennedy is no stranger to trade rumors, having been traded 3 different times in his career. As the Diamondbacks primary set-up man, Kennedy has had mixed results due to decent run prevention numbers but with terrible peripherals. Teams may pass on Kennedy due to those peripherals and his recent blood clot that sidelined him for two weeks coupled with a velocity drop in his previous two outings. Trading Kennedy would open up a roster spot for the front office to evaluate potential bullpen pieces such as J.B. Bukauskas and Luis Frias to evaluate down the stretch for 2023.
RHP Zach Davies
Davies was a buy-low pick up for the Diamondbacks and had been a solid contributor in the rotation for the first three months. In 15 starts Davies has pitched to a 3.94 ERA/4.25 FIP/4.39 xFIP in 80 innings. His strikeout and walk numbers are consistent with his career averages and had put together an impressive start before going down with shoulder trouble.
Davies has been sidelined with shoulder trouble since his last start on June 25th, which will make moving him a bit challenging. In yesterday’s game preview, Torey Lovullo told the media that Davies will throw a 2 inning, 40-pitch simulated game and will build up 15 pitches per attempt. He will not be activated from the injured list before deadline.
The good news is he comes with not only a contract that will be easy to add with an easy out with a mutual option for the 2023 season. A team that needs an innings-eater in the back of their rotation and might need to do so on a budget could target Davies at the deadline. So even though he will still be on the injured list for the team that acquires him, there is very little risk in this move.
With a big wave of players that need to be added to the 40-man roster this fall and get an evaluation at the big league level, the D-backs will need to clear out some space for them. It takes two to tango when it comes to a trade, so there’s no guarantee that the team can successfully trade all of them. I don’t expect much to come back in this return since all five of these players are essentially spare parts on a sinking ship.