19 July 2011
When asked what the Diamondbacks were looking for at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, D’Backs GM Kevin Towers responded with “pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Those three things.” So obviously the team will be looking for both starting and relief pitching, but presumably wouldn’t say no if a good bat became attainable.
The D’Backs aren’t going to trade for a starter who is anything more than rental. Next year the rotation to start the year will be Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders, and then most likely any two of Trevor Bauer, Jarrod Parker, Wade Miley, Josh Collmenter, Barry Enright, Wes Roemer, etc. They won’t get a pricey pitcher who will need to get paid a lot next year. They are reportedly looking for young relievers who are still under team control (so basically the opposite criteria for acquiring a pitcher), or back end relievers who could help David Hernandez and J.J. Putz.
So here are some candidates, from most likely to become D’Backs to least likely:
Brad Ziegler (Oakland A's)- The D’Backs and A’s have matched up for trades a few times in recent years (Dan Haren, Conor Jackson) and may match up again this year. Ziegler is young, cheap, and has a high upside. A few years ago he set a record for a scoreless innings streak by a rookie reliever, and has posted ERAs under 3.27 since. He has held right-handed batters to a career rate of .221/.271/.272, with 117K, 31 GIDP, and only 2 HR. On the other hand, left-handers have a career OPS of .915 against him.
Why it could happen- The A’s are clearly not in contention this year, and the D’Backs may have just the pieces they need to trade a player of Ziegler’s caliber.
Why it wouldn’t- Ziegler is good. He is good and under team control through 2015, and while that makes him appealing to the D’Backs, it also makes the A’s want to hold onto him more.
Possible trade- The A’s seriously need a bat. We called up Brandon Allen, but we could flip him to Oakland and call up Paul Goldschmidt.
Addition from Amit: The A's have lots of pitching. In addition to Ziegler, Grant Balfour, Michael Wuertz, and Joey Devine are also possibilities.
Jason Frasor (Toronto Blue Jays)- He fits what the D’Backs are looking for…sort of. He is 34 years old, but is fairly cheap ($3.5M salary this year) and has an option for next year. He could provide some stability in the 'Pen, instantly becoming the team’s 7th inning go-to guy. A trio of Frasor-Hernandez-Putz quickly makes any game a 6 inning one.
Why it could happen- He’s cheap, he’s under control, he’s a proven late inning reliever, and the Blue Jays have a surplus from which they could trade.
Why it wouldn’t- The Blue Jays have a full crop of relievers- Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, Shawn Camp, and Frank Francisco all of whom could be traded. With Frasor being the best of them, they may want to hold onto him.
Possible trade- The Blue Jays wouldn’t be asking for much. They need pitching so it may be a tough match, but two lower level pitching prospects may be what it takes.
Aaron Harang (San Diego Padres)- A division rival who was a 17 game winner a few years ago. He was exercised from the Reds rotation late last year, and has revived his career with the San Diego Padres. The team is faltering, and looking to deal.
Why it could happen- The Padres are at the point that they barely register as a major league team. They are planning on trading anyone that anyone has ever heard of (Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Jason Bartlett), so shopping Harang
Why it probably won’t- Inter-division trades are always sort of tricky. We would need to give them players that they think will be good, but not good enough to torment us in the future. But with the ties Kevin Towers has with San Diego, as well as Jeff Moorad, Josh Byrnes, and AJ Hinch all in the Padres front office, a deal isn’t completely unrealistic.
Possible trade- A lower level guy with a decent upside- Patrick Schuster perhaps?
Addition from Amit: I think the Padres would want more than just Schuster.
Matt Capps/Joe Nathan (Minnesota Twins) - Only Ron Gardenhire knows who the Twins closer is. Whichever one isn’t could be an option for the D’Backs to acquire.
Why it could happen- The Twins are under .500, have an extra closer, and need to shed money. That’s the formula for an unloading of veterans.
Why it probably won’t- The Twins are still 7.0 games out of 1st in the AL Central, but are surging and are looking to compete. If they are in the hunt, they wouldn’t trade away an elite reliever. Also, the Nationals received Wilson Ramos for Capps last year. If that is the Twins asking price, then I don’t see a deal going down.
Possible trade- The D’Backs aren’t going to mortgage the farm, but a few near-ready prospects could be fair to both sides. Wade Miley and Kam Mickolio is my suggestion.
Addition from Amit: I think Nathan in Minnesota is the closer for now, but that is mainly because Capps has pitched very poorly. His K-rate is down to 4.6K/9.
David Wright (New York Mets)- A bit of stretch, but hear me out before you toss this idea out. Wright is a superb player who has seen his power numbers dissipate once he started playing half his games in the cavern they call Citi Field. In Chase, he could see his numbers skyrocket.
Why it could happen- The Mets are in a serious bad state. Their owner is bashing players, they are underperforming, and don’t look to contend soon. They have already traded Francisco Rodriguez, it would be a shock to see Carlos Beltran in New York in two weeks, and Jose Reyes has one foot out the door. Trading Wright would just complete the fire sale.
Why it probably won’t- The cost. The Mets are reportedly looking for a top prospect in return for Beltran, so we can only imagine what the Mets would ask for Wright. The Rangers’ asking price for Michael Young this offseason was Tyler Skaggs, and the Mets would probably ask for more. The financial cost would also presumably be too much. Wright is owed approximately $4.75M for the remaining two months of the season, as well as over $15M next year. The D’Backs would probably not want to commit that much to Wright.
Possible trade- Even if the D’Backs absolutely would not do this- Skaggs, an outfielder (AJ Pollock or Marc Krauss), and a major league ready pitcher such as Josh Collmenter or Wade Miley would probably get the Mets to pull the trigger.
The D’Backs have been connected to Capps (CEO Derrick Hall mentioned his name when asked) and Frasor, but the rest is merely speculation on my part. Ziegler and Harang would make sense, and Wright is just the voice of this one longing D'Backs fan. The Diamondbacks are going to make some changes to improve this team, and I believe we can trust Kevin Towers to improve this year’s team without destroying the farm system for years to come.