The Major League Baseball trade deadline is just under two weeks away (July 31), so, should the Arizona Diamondbacks make any trades?
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Arizona is in an interesting position coming into the second half of the 2015 season. They are barely hanging on to the outskirts of a wild card playoff spot and yet, they are 42-48. the 2015 season wasn’t supposed to be a season in which Arizona wold try and contend. This season was to grow their prospects at the major league level.
For the most part, they are a better team than last season despite having the same amount of wins on July 19. Exactly one year ago, Arizona was 42-56. It’s a bit of a strange thing, but even though the win totals are the same, Arizona is currently sixth in hitting and fourth in fielding in all of MLB. That’s a giant step up from 2014, when they finished 18th in hitting and 17th in fielding.
So, they are on the fringe of a playoff spot and they are, on most days, a pretty capable team. Does that mean they should be active at the trade deadline looking to contend?
No, I don’t think they should do anything major this trade deadline.
They are improved, but they are not good enough just yet. They don’t have good enough pitching to carry them to and through the playoffs, be it starting rotation or in the bullpen. Their offense is fine, they have no issues (for the most part) scoring runs, but serious contending teams need both a good offense, and good pitching.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “why not trade for pitching?”. Well, in my opinion, that would be a mistake. There is no need to trade away assets to rent a pitcher. Arizona has a good core of players, they are young with room to grow.
Let’s say they trade away some prospects and some of their current MLB roster talent for rental players in an attempt to make the playoffs. What if they miss the playoffs? With the inconsistent way they are playing, the playoffs are not any where close to a guarantee. If they miss the post season after pulling the trigger on “win now” trades, they will lose the rental players they acquire and be out whatever players they gave up.
That would set the team back even further and restart the rebuild process. That was, by the way, what this year is supposed to be. Tony La Russa‘s front office regime has had to come and rebuild Arizona after former General Manager, Kevin Towers, basically emptied the prospect pool, and traded away too much major league talent.
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Despite a questionable move here and there, La Russa and company have done well in their attempts to make the Diamondbacks a better team. There is no need to take a step back in those efforts by mortgaging the future for “win now” trades for a fringe team. It would be premature to make any trades of that sort.
If any moves are made by the team this deadline, they should be minor ones. I’m just speculating, but if I had to bet on who would be on the move, I’d say Aaron Hill, Cliff Pennington or even Jeremy Hellickson. For Hill and Pennington, their playing time has been severely cut. The prospects are taking over the everyday playing duties. Hellickson has shown he can be effective and would be decent back end rotation guy for a contender.
These players would likely bring a return of minor league depth and nothing too big that would impact the Diamondbacks immediately.
If Arizona wants to find players that can help the team win sooner rather than later, they would be better off suited to do that during the offseason in free agency. Arizona will have some money to spend this offseason, so, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Although the free agent path is better than a “win now” deadline deal, that must also be done with caution. Towers’ mistakes are still fresh in every Diamondbacks fans’ heads. We don’t need to look any further than last season to see what frivolous spending can do.
The Diamondbacks future is bright, and given the current state of the team, there is no need to rush into any deals under an unlikely post season scenario.
Arizona has a good group of players that are getting better. They also have some very good pitching talent on the way from their minor league system. It will not be long until the team is a legit contender led by homegrown talent. It just takes patience and understanding from both the team’s front office and the fans.