When this season began, the Arizona Diamondbacks were an afterthought for most of baseball. Several major publications picked them to be the worst team in their division despite a very obvious purple sinkhole in Denver. On The Pool Shot, we made some predictions and I went with something like 72 wins while Ryan went with 78. He looks smarter than me right now, and in real life, too. The team hasn’t been that bad despite some pretty poor pitching at times and the combination of Yasmany Tomas at third and Mark Trumbo in right there for a while. But they haven’t been that good either, even considering what Chase Anderson has done and that Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock are both in the top ten in terms of National League WAR for position players. Mostly, the team has just been okay.

That’s not a disappointment by any means, but it’s not overly encouraging either. 2017 is still the target season, the one in which this team should be in full swing. The Diamondbacks are still building for that period on the win-curve, which is what they should be doing. Hopefully they can find some balance and not lose sight of the long-term health of the franchise along the way, but that’s another issue. For now, it’s about positioning themselves for that one window, and they have another chance to improve their odds looming in the not so distant future – the non-waiver trade deadline.

Every year, towards the end of July, teams go bonkers trying to put the finishing touches on their contender or get whatever they can for their irrelevant scraps. The Diamondbacks are faced with an interesting dilemma this year in that they’re close enough in the Wild Card standings to consider standing pat, but they’re likely to be far enough out, and with 2017 still the main goal, that they could – likely will – opt to become sellers. It’s not crazy to think that they could put together a streak or two before the end of July and become legitimate NL Wild Card threats, but my money’s on them staying a touch under .500 and deciding to pack it in. So, let’s work with that assumption for now.

If the team wants to sell, whom might they be trying to deal from the 25-man roster or its nearest vicinity? Take a look below and try to identify the guys who might be sold.


Ok, so who’s for sale? Sure, every team in baseball would love to trade for Paul Goldschmidt, Archie Bradley, probably even Yasmany Tomas, but the organization has no motivation to move those guys, and several others. Their value is super high, but there’s just no likelihood of them getting traded in the first place. It’s just not happening. And if we look through the rotation, outfield and most of the infield, there just isn’t much likelihood that anyone is getting dealt, aside from maybe Cliff Pennington or Aaron Hill. Heavy emphasis on maybe.

That leaves us with just one real place to look: the bullpen. Arizona has a ton of young flamethrowers in the upper minors who are in need of a major league opportunity, either right now or in the very near future. They have some starters who are bullpen candidates, too, which is all just to say that there isn’t a shortage of arms and some could become expendable. Behold the candidates:

  • Andrew Chafin has done well as a lefty against lefties, and he’s young and cheap.
  • Josh Collmenter is now a reliever, after being a starter, replaced by Allen Webster, which is all you need to know.
  • Randall Delgado could hold value to another team, especially if they think they can remake him into a starter.
  • David Hernandez is coming off injury, but the early returns suggest the velocity is back although he looked a touch rusty on Tuesday, which is understandable.
  • Daniel Hudson is a mystery, still, but could maybe be a starter or at least an effective reliever.
  • Oliver Perez is left-handed, both literally and figuratively (at the moment), but isn’t pitching well overall.
  • Addison Reed can get saves since he gets to pitch in the ninth sometimes, but has a homer problem.
  • Brad Ziegler is the best of the bunch, but that also makes him most valuable to Arizona, plus they have a modest option on him for 2016.

Chafin, Collmenter and Delgado probably aren’t leaving. They’re all cheap, they all offer some security in that they can make a start if needed, and they wouldn’t fetch much in return. You’re not going to get a useful major league piece for a marginally useful major league piece, not even in terms of prospects obtained. The value just isn’t there.

David Hernandez and Daniel Hudson have track records of success and injury. Hernandez is a one-inning guy all the way, and with the returned velocity, he should still be a useful reliever so long as he can hit the target. If he does that, there’s a chance he gets moved, but probably for nothing more than a C-level prospect. The motivation might be to save a little cash and give someone else a chance. He’ll be a free agent at season’s end, and if the team doesn’t plan to retain him, they could let him go early, get a flier back in return and save a couple hundred grand. But that’s not all that useful when it comes to building a winner in 2017.

Hudson, on the other hand, is under team control for 2016, yet his role in that capacity remains unclear. If he’s a reliever, the team might find that useful. If he’s a starter, that could be even better, but there are a lot of candidates for starting spots, it would appear, heading into next season. The lack of clarity on Arizona’s end might give another team enough motivation to trade for him and just stick him in the rotation and live with the results, hoping to buy low and score big. He’d probably command a B-level prospect in return since he’s got another year of control, but even B-level prospects aren’t exactly what Arizona needs. They need impact potential, not fillers. Can they get that for Hudson and are they even comfortable losing him? I doubt it, on both accounts.

Oliver Perez was once a guy that could have been dealt at the deadline, but he’s pitched like a very bad pitcher. He’s got an ERA of 5.00, a FIP of 4.05. Those are both bad. The strikeouts are there, but so are the walks, like usual, and with the elevated dinger rate, that’s a risky proposition. He’s affordable now and a free agent in 2016. Although he’s shown reverse platoon splits in the past, he’s been way better against lefties this season, so someone might want him in that capacity. But a LOOGY on an expiring contract won’t bring back anything of high value to Arizona, so traded or not, Perez just isn’t a big factor since he’s pitched so poorly.

Addison Reed is twitter’s favorite Proven Closer ™, and maybe someone thinks they can buy low on him. I don’t know, he started the year at less than 100%, had some issues, is trying to correct them and the results remain hit or miss. He’s been way better by FIP in June, but that’s only over 4.2 innings-pitched and a handful of appearances. There’s still half the month left. If you’re a contender looking for a hard thrower out of your bullpen with no long-term commitment, Reed could be a guy you’d target. You have the options of going to arbitration with him over the winter, non-tendering him or trying to find another trade partner. He’s still kind of young, but you’re paying through the nose this winter if you try to keep him thanks to the way saves extort arbitration prices. And maybe the D-backs could get a B-level kid for Reed, but that’s probably even pushing it. For sure they won’t get a top-50 prospect back; the days of those kinds of deadline deals are long gone. But, you’d be getting something and a bit of salary relief, which maybe you need and maybe you don’t. I’d guess the owner wouldn’t mind saving a couple mil.

Our final candidate, Brad Ziegler, is not just interesting for how he throws the baseball, but he’s an interesting trade candidate, too. He’s affordable now, under team control with an option for 2016, and he’s the best of the Diamondbacks bunch. He’s a double-play machine and he’ll pitch in whatever role you want to put him in. If you’re looking to pillage the Arizona bullpen, this is your guy. But, the D-backs may want him, too, because even though they’re a below-.500 team this year, they could be an above-.500 team next year, and Ziegler is extremely durable and useful. If Arizona were to hang on to him, they could consider extending him a year to keep him for 2017, too. Yeah he’s old, but the skills he utilizes aren’t going away; his deception and funk are useful as long as he’s capable of throwing. So if you’re the Diamondbacks, this is the guy that you’re going to demand something of high value in exchange for. You’re not giving Brad Ziegler away since he’s affordable, team-controlled, effective, has rare skills and you could conceivably keep him. If someone wants him, they’d better want him bad.

We started with a bunch of guys that can be traded. We whittled it down to very few guys who are actually tradeable in reality, and of those guys, the team wants to keep a bunch of them, so we have even fewer options. There’s no real reason to trade from the rotation, they can’t trade from the outfield, and the infield options presented don’t have much value. A name that’s missing from all of this might be Peter O’Brien, who could be packaged with a reliever, the only group left, to sweeten the return from another organization, provided that organization values paying more to obtains first base/designated hitter types. Addison Reed might be the most likely candidate to go and Brad Ziegler would fetch the best return. But all of that remains up in the air for now. Just be forewarned, if they decide to deal lesser players, they won’t be getting anything back in terms of impact talent, something they need to continue acquiring to make a strong run in 2017 a reality.

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12 Responses to Are the D-backs Sellers at the Trade Deadline?

  1. Dave-Phoenix says:

    The D-Backs lead the league in runs scored and defense, meaning there is not much we need as far as position players. Enciarte’s injury proved that depth is important, so we don’t to give any away.

    The only need is pitching and the D-backs have a ton of mid-rotation pitchers on the roster and in the minors, and Corbin coming back from Tommy John.

    With all that in mind, unless the D-Backs can get a number one starter, there is not much need to be a buyer or a seller.

    The D-Backs are better keeping all they have and try to get a good pitcher in free agency, using all the money they were able to offload this past year with the Montero, Trumbo and Cahill trades.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Right on, Dave. Maybe I didn’t do an adequate job selling that point, but you’re 100% right. The team doesn’t need role players or just-above replacement level guys, they need impact. They’re not going to get it for anyone they’d likely consider trading. If they move anyone, it’ll be for other reasons, like clearing space for younger players.

      • Dave-Phoenix says:

        Looks like the D-Backs didn’t listen to us, and picked up a roll player that we don’t need for $9.5 million and our 1st round draft pick… So depressing….

  2. Ben says:

    I’d be excited for them to use what tradable options they have to pick up some high-ceiling prospects that would hit the majors after 2017. After this years draft I’m worried we’ll be back at the bottom of the standings after a run in a couple of years if we don’t build up depth in the low minors.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Preach it Ben! Preach it! I’ve been feeling the same way, especially after this draft. It’s really the main reason they could make a few trades at the deadline, look to get more young talent back for guys who aren’t in the plan for 2017 anyways. They won’t get highly-rated guys, however. They’ll have to gamble on some guys scouts love but are otherwise lesser-known commodities.

  3. rye says:

    I think Peralta is movable without detriment to the team. Zach Borenstein is a younger LHB that profiles very similar to Peralta without such pronounced platoon splits. He doesn’t have as much HR pop but he’s good at getting on base and plays serviceable defense. He seems like a perfect 4th OF/LHB off the bench. I would very much like to see him promoted back to Reno to see how he does there for the next month if only to better evaluate the situation. Even if he falls flat, with Dorn and to a lesser extent O’Brien around moving Peralta at the right price still could be smart. I like Peralta a lot but he might be have more value to another team where he could be considered an everyday fielder. He’s also got something that a lot of teams come looking for at the deadline; power from the left side.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      I don’t think Borenstein or O’Brien are permanent solutions necessarily, but if the team was willing to shop for one this winter, they could move Peralta now, patch it up as best they can, then do something between now and the start of 2017 to fill the void while selling high on Peralta. The issue with him is that he’s so cheap that he’s attractive to keep around. That said, that also makes him a hell of a trade piece. The team lacks LH batters in general, so I’m not sure how open they’ll be to trading him, but I bet they get plenty of calls.

      • rye says:

        I personally think Brito can be a long-term, 4th OF, LHB solution but he’s a ways away and looks more like Inciarte than Peralta. Peralta’s complete inability to hit lefties is very troubling to me as well. Here’s a situation with Inciarte’s injury where he’s having to play everyday. Fourth outfielders are almost always moved into everyday roles when an injury to an everyday starter occurs.

  4. Jim says:

    Excellent article; excellent analysis. You are spot on with respect to Ziegler’s value; I hope he stays as he is versatile and durable. He also performs. Reed can go. I sure would like to see O’Brien; the problem is where. I hope we keep Hudson and Hernandez; they are contributors. With Corbin and Aroto coming back, we should be above .500’during the second half. MAroyo’s contract means he stays here for next year which is not all bad (but for salary). Now is not the time to be a “gunslinger.”

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      Arroyo has an option for next year, not a guaranteed year. It’s a matter of whether or not the team will buy out his $4.5 million option. Not sure what the odds are on that, but they have plenty of rotation candidates now without him, so it’s not like he’s needed.

  5. Lamar Jimmerson says:

    I’m not sure why 2017 has to be the target season for returning to contention, rather than 2016. Plenty of money coming off the books, plus a new TV contract kicking in, in 2016. Goldschmidt and Pollock in their primes. Add a TOR starter in the offseason, perhaps a stopgap veteran 2B, maybe another piece here or there, and this is a wild card contender. No need to waste another season. And no need to trade any young prospects to get there. Just a matter of spending money wisely.

    • Jeff Wiser says:

      The TV money doesn’t really effectively kick in until the 2016 season starts. Think of it this way: 2016 games will pay more to the team, starting with the first game of the season, but heading into this winter, they’re still on the status quo from FOX Sports AZ. So there won’t really be more money to spend until at least mid-way through 2016, and realistically not until the end of the season. Also, the team stated that they borrowed from the future in signing Tomas and Yoan Lopez to a degree, so I don’t think we’ll see any significant payroll changes for another year at least. Of course, ownership could decided to speed that process up, but that’s not something we can bank on as of yet.

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