If you’d like to acquire an outfielder, you might want to call the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have plenty and might have one more on their hands sooner rather than later, because according to reports, the Yasmany Tomas-at-third-base-thing isn’t working out so well. While that was predictable, the organization had been going to great lengths to highlight what they could, making it sound as if Tomas was making strides at the position. Maybe that’s true; we don’t know where he began. But looking at where he stands right now, let’s just say that it doesn’t sound positive.

As I wrote about back in January, Tomas is a huge piece of the Diamondbacks’ roster puzzle, because where he settled on the diamond was going to have huge repercussions. For example, take the following scenarios:

Tomas plays third: Jake Lamb either heads to the bench or to AAA. Brandon Drury is almost surely made into a second baseman. Either of them could be traded as the team would have considerable depth at third base. The outfield sees Pollock in center with Peralta and Trumbo flanking him in the corners. Inciarte gets some starts as does Cody Ross, who’s primarily used as a pinch hitter.

Tomas plays left field: Jake Lamb becomes the likely starter at third. Aaron hill could get some looks there, too, which makes Brandon Drury’s position less certain. He could continue to be tried at second base, but the conversion may not be as permanent. In the outfield, Pollock plays center field, but who’s on either side of him is a question. Trumbo, Peralta and Tomas are all options, but each has warts. Inciarte almost never plays and Cody Ross is completely dead weight.

When the team inked Tomas over the winter, it was clear that he was part of the team’s core. You don’t give $68.5 million to a guy just to see if you can find a spot for him; he’s going to play every day. And since his money is guaranteed, there’s no service-time incentive to send him to the minors. He’ll be an everyday big leaguer. But if that everyday action is in the outfield, which appears more likely now than ever, someone has to go. The team can’t carry six outfielders, especially if they’re going to carry three guys who can catch, which might just happen.

So who’s it going to be? I thought I’d take this time to identify the merits of each potential trade candidate, acknowledging their financial impact as well as evaluate their game. I’ll conclude with my likelihood score, something that’s technically arbitrary but actually distinct, for whatever that’s worth. Enough with the jargon, let’s get rolling through some outfielders!

A.J. Pollock
  • Best suited for: CF
  • Pros: excellent defender in center, makes consistent contact, has some pop
  • Cons: possibly injury-prone, walks are average, not a long track record of impact
  • Contract status: arbitration eligible in 2016
  • Likelihood of being traded: almost non-existent. In fact, the team could actually extend him.

A.J. Pollock’s not going anywhere. He’s one the best centerfielders in the game, he’s still playing at the minimum in 2015, then enters arbitration. He’s under team control through 2018 provided they don’t extend him and buy out his arb years and maybe a free agent year or two. With speed, defense and power at affordable prices, A.J. Pollock is the kind of guy the Diamondbacks can build around.

Mark Trumbo
  • Best suited for: 1B
  • Pros: lots of power should mean lots of #DINGERZ
  • Cons: low OBP, terrible outfield defense, unpredictable how he returns from injury-riddled ’14 campaign
  • Contract status: making $6.9M in ’15, arbitration eligible for the third and final time in 2016
  • Likelihood of being traded: somewhat likely

Trumbo doesn’t fit on this team and everyone knows it. Right-handed power is in short supply throughout baseball and everyone knows that. So trading Trumbo makes a boatload of sense since he should be in demand. But, the Diamondbacks did trade Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs for him in the not-so-distant past and while that was another GM’s mess, the organization may be reluctant to change course so dramatically as it would imply that the trade was a bad idea (even though everyone already knows it was). They shopped him this winter before he won his arbitration case and couldn’t find a package they liked in return. They’ll have less bargaining power now, this late in the process, so even though Trumbo makes a great deal of sense to move, it may not get done since teams have filled their needs and the D-backs are unlikely to be overwhelmed by the potential return. Oh, and #DINGERZ.

Cody Ross
  • Best suited for: the bench
  • Pros: crushes (used to crush?) left-handed pitching
  • Cons: defense has fallen way off, physically unwell (hip, presumably), bat has fallen way off, not worth his salary, old and getting older
  • Contract status: earning $9.5M in 2015, free agent in 2016
  • Likelihood of being traded: slim

It’s not that Cody Ross isn’t technically a trade candidate, it’s just that it’s hard to imagine someone desiring him given his current physical condition, age and contract. If the Diamondbacks want to move Cody Ross, they’ll either have to package him with an enticing prospect, eat a huge chunk of his salary or simply release him. He’s the least productive and least intriguing option in the outfield, so trading him will be nearly impossible. That said, he’ll likely be removed from the roster by other means.

David Peralta
  • Best suited for: RF
  • Pros: crushes right-handed pithing, solid defensively in a corner, cheap, left-handed
  • Cons: shows massive splits, might be a platoon guy, short track record
  • Contract status: arbitration eligible in 2017
  • Likelihood of being traded: likely

Make no bones about it, David Peralta is good. He’s also cheap and with his short track record, there’s reason to believe that he still has progress to make. But while all of those reasons would make Peralta attractive to the Diamondbacks, they also make him attractive to teams who may be looking to acquire him. Given his club control and power, he would likely fetch something rather useful in a trade return, putting the Diamondbacks in the driver’s seat when it comes to a potential deal. He’d make a perfect platoon partner for Mark Trumbo in right field, but that doesn’t appear to be in the Diamondbacks’ plans, at least not that we’ve heard of. If the D-backs are looking to make space and get something valuable in return, Peralta is the guy to deal even though most fans would be sad to see one of the only bright spots for 2014 go.

Ender Inciarte
  • Best suited for: CF
  • Pros: excellent defender in center field or in left, progressed at the plate through the 2014 season, speed on the bases, cheap, left-handed
  • Cons: bat projects as light, may never hit enough to be a first division starter, short track record
  • Contract status: arbitration eligible in 2017
  • Likelihood of being traded: somewhat likely

Just like Peralta above, there’s a number of reasons to keep Inciarte and those same reasons make him desirable to other teams. Clubs seem to value power more than defense and base running, however, making Peralta slightly more coveted. The Diamondbacks may also be more reluctant to trade Inciarte because he’s easily the best secondary option in center field, something they’ll need on the roster and in the organization should Pollock wind up on the DL again. His ability in the outfield makes him a valuable late-inning defensive swap and his speed makes him a valuable pinch runner. Inciarte has utility value all over the place and while other teams may not be ready to buy him as a viable option, I think the perception on him is lower than reality. He’s a useful guy in a number of ways who’s very affordable and one of the few lefties on the team.

When it’s all said and done, someone has to go. I give the Diamondbacks credit for experimenting with Tomas at third, because if it worked, they’d have found a ton of additional value in him. Unfortunately, it looks like that situation is unsustainable, meaning room will have to be made. If the D-backs don’t want to make a trade, they can simply release Cody Ross. If they want to carry three guys who can catch, including Oscar Hernandez, they may need to cut Ross and trade another outfielder. Jordan Pacheco eases that situation some, but he’s not a guarantee to make the roster. Dealing Trumbo has long been the best option, but I’m not sure it’s one the team is willing to select. Instead, I’d look for them to move Peralta or Inciarte, with Peralta having the higher trade value.

I’ve made my case, now make yours: please leave your thoughts in the comments below!

10 Responses to Yasmany Tomas in Left and D-backs Outfielders for Sale

  1. Anonymous says:

    The knock knees with weight,and fast twitch, also is a big concern. The guy is probably going to hit, has simple approach and awwesome poweelr but his body type with the knees, This is a high risk guy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So cody hopefully will agree to dl, and reno.rehab till mid may.

  3. OJ Carrasco says:

    I’m reminded of an event from my childhood. My family had a toaster, and it had two slots. We had a whole loaf. I had no capability to eat the whole loaf, nor the time to toast each slice, two at a time. Even if I did, the first pieces of toast would be cold by the time I finished toasting all of them, and I am not one to just eat toast in front of the toaster,l all willy-nilly, whilst other slices are toasting, after all, I am not an animal. So, I only made two slices of toast, I was efficient, I improved the toast by adding a mixture of cinnamon and sugar to the buttered toast.

  4. rye says:

    …and Jake Lamb smiles from ear-to-ear. The first thing the team needs to do is move Ross. Take whatever you can get (eat 4/5 of his contract) and if you can’t get anything, release. This needs to happen now. With Ross gone, the team won’t be so desperate (or look to be anyway) to move Trumbo. I think the writing has been on the wall with Trumbo for awhile now. Teams tend not to go to arbitration with a player they plan on spending a lot of time with. Patience needs to be shown with Trumbo until the right deal comes along though. Tomas spending time in Reno in LF while awaiting the right Trumbo deal makes sense to me. I know Stewart wants to show off his new $70M Cuban but that shouldn’t come at the cost of wins and/or player development.

  5. Ryan says:

    Lamb needs to be our full time 3B, so Tomas to the outfield is the right move anyways imo. Keep grooming Drury as our future 2B. Hill has 2 years left but you can start platooning them this season. If I’m the D-Backs I trade peralta while his value is still relatively high and grab a solid bullpen arm or future prospect. Ross is off the books after the season. Tomas and Trumbo won’t be pretty in the outfield corner positions defensively, but I don’t know of any MLB team who has more power than us in those two positions. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      My only quibble with this is that power is OVERVALUED by the Diamondbacks. They want to slug their way to a title. We hear it all the time, the team is infatuated with power. It’s valuable, but not as valuable as the team seems to make it, IMO.

      We’ve seen countless times where teams with far less power outlast and eventually beat the sluggers. Home runs are inconsistent, good pitching and, especially, good defense is not. They need to score runs b/c of the pitching staff, but that’s an unsustainable strategy. Better pitching and defense will go a long way, plus be cheaper and more attainable.

      • OJ Carrasco says:

        This is why a guy who just gets on base can be so valuable. If you are just a power team, others can pitch around that. If you get a guy who makes contact, can work off bad pitches, that team is always a threat to score. I remember talking to my dad one day after his game about his brother who hit a long homer and saying he was so good, why wasn’t he ever put on all tourney teams and my dad pointing out that he either homered, fly out or struck out, but another guy got on base 5 times via walks and well placed hits. This conversation has always stuck with me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    lamb drury and yasmany need competition. Until we get a cole hamels, juggling the service time, seems to be the best bet. Good to have this depth, and the competition should work all this out. Now to bring it full circle, the main player a team would be asking for a hamels is shipley and drury. That means lamb and yasmany have a ways still to go.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Giants have been doing it more or less without power.

  8. Kevin says:

    I like Trumbo for the team more than Thomas. Is it too early to trade Thomas? Of course it is, I’m kidding. But I’ll actually be a little sad to see Trumbo go, assuming he does.

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