Shortly after his team was linked to Howie Kendrick, Dave Stewart told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that the Arizona Diamondbacks are 'not going to give up [an additional draft] pick' in order to sign a free agent.
The Diamondbacks were already forced to part with their 13th overall pick for signing Zack Greinke. If the Diamondbacks agreed to a deal with another player who received a qualifying offer, they would have to give up their 37th overall pick from the same draft.
Keith Law of ESPN in particular finds this news somewhat ludicrous.
The funny part is that now he *should* be willing to give one up. https://t.co/YVtxRYd9ca
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 5, 2016
Law brings up an important point though. If a team is looking to legitimately contend, and they have already surrendered their 13th overall pick, then parting ways with the 37th overall pick should come relatively easy. Stewart appears to be teetering a line between contending-now and still rebuilding a newly-depleted prospect system. In fact, in the current system it's kind of a benefit to the Diamondbacks to continue to pursue free agent help because the penalties only diminish in severity.
After trading away Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair, and Ender Inciarte for Shelby Miller and Gabe Speier, the Diamondbacks prospect depth has taken an significant hit at the expense of making the team better now. If parting with the 37th overall pick -- a pick that was worth less than $1.7 million last draft -- has somehow become cost-prohibitive of acquiring major league talent, then Stewart's plan for a contending team may be in jeopardy.
Of course, this could be Stewart just trying to publicly-leverage Kendrick into signing for less because of his qualifying offer. It just doesn't make much economic sense for a team to give up such substantial assets for Greinke and Miller to then value their 37th overall pick as too precious of an asset to give up.