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Diamondbacks Acquire Paul Sewald from Seattle

Arizona makes a big move to acquire some bullpen help to close games for the end of the season.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Trade

Arizona receives: RHRP Paul Sewald
Seattle receives: Josh Rojas, Ryan Bliss, and Dominic Canzone

The Pros: Arizona finally acquires a reliable bullpen arm for the back of the bullpen. Sewald has works as Seattle’s primary closer for two seasons now, closing out 52 games via the save with 13 blown saves, five of which came in his first half-season in the role. The Diamondbacks retain control of Sewald through the end of 2024, his final arbitration season.

The Cons: Arizona is trading from much of their depth. Josh Rojas has shown life as an effective left-hand batting utility player with plus speed and aggressive instinct. Ryan Bliss is an elite defender and was on the short list to be the Opening Day starter for Arizona starting in 2024. The departure of Bliss all but cements Marte returning too the keystone again next season. Canzone was one of two Dominics waiting to be traded by AZ to lighten their glut of left-hand hitting #4/5 outfielders. Two of the players headed to Seattle are from the 26-man (or its IL). Bliss is currently taking his lumps in Reno after dominating Amarillo for the better part of three months. While none of the players headed to Seattle hurts in isolation, the overall cost to Arizona is steep. Arizona is now reliant on trade acquisition, Diego Castillo should anything happen to Marte at second. Castillo is probably better suited to a utility role, much like Rojas was used in, but he lacks the upside of Rojas or the defensive chops of Bliss. In a serious pinch, they could turn to Blaze Alexander, but Alexander should be playing at third with his arm and his less-than-soft hands for middle infield work.

The Take:
Hopefully, the addition of Sewald as the rock at the back of the bullpen will allow Lovullo a bit more flexibility with the bullpen in earlier innings, which should also help the rotation somewhat. The price paid was steep. Bliss likely hurts the most, as the team is going to need a new everyday second baseman, likely sooner than later as Marte’s defense continues to be erratic, though much improved over 2022.

Arizona still needs more help in order to make a run at or in the playoffs. Acquiring Sewald is not enough in itself. It is, however, a decent first step and avoids the pitfall of being a rental player when the real contention window is looking more and more like it starts in 2024.

MLBTR’s coverage of the trade can be found here.


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