As we approach July 31, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
Arizona Diamondbacks, 52-34, 2nd in the NL West
What moves have they made so far?
The Diamondbacks’ roster has remained rather stable this season. They made a minor trade in mid-May, dealing right-hander Enrique Burgos to the Braves after they designated him for assignment to create 40-man roster space for Rey Fuentes. They also released veteran reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who began the season in their big-league bullpen, in mid-June. GM Mike Hazen obviously prefers giving opportunities to internal candidates rather than resorting to the waiver wire or trade market when injuries occur, as every player who’s seen action for Arizona this season attended spring training with the D-Backs.
Are they buyers or sellers?
Seeing as they’re in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, it’s pretty obvious that the Diamondbacks will want to make sure that their roster is as talented as possible heading into the stretch run. With that said, there’s a very strong possibility that they possess the deepest and most talented roster in the National League. They don’t have any gaping holes, and there’s really no need for them to make any major shakeups. If anything, they’ll probably look to add bullpen or bench depth.
Who will they target?
The most obvious area for the Diamondbacks to target would be veteran bullpen depth, as closer Fernando Rodney is the only pitcher in their current bullpen with postseason experience, the majority of which came back in 2006. Guys like Pat Neshek, Justin Wilson, John Axford, Santiago Casilla, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Drew Storen, and Tony Watson could be good fits if they’re looking to add a veteran setup man (or insurance option) for Rodney, who is one of the streakiest relievers in the majors.
The D-Backs also could stand to add a back-of-the-rotation starter, as Patrick Corbin has struggled this year and could stand to be replaced, while Zack Godley is in the midst of his first full season in a big-league rotation and is in jeopardy of wearing down during the second half. Scott Feldman are a couple of affordable, acquirable starters who could potentially intrigue them.
Reserves like Daniel Descalso and Gregor Blanco have gone above and beyond to help the Diamondbacks this year, so it’s not a must that they add extra bench depth. But if they can add an experienced starting outfielder to back up their injury-prone outfield trio of Yasmany Tomas, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta, it might be a good idea to do so, much like the Indians did when they acquired Coco Crisp at the waiver deadline last year. Like Cleveland, though, Arizona might need to wait until August to pull that type of trade off, because none of the clear non-contenders right now have a player that really fits Arizona’s needs.
There’s also a slim possibility that the D-Backs could look to upgrade over their catching trio of Jeff Mathis, Chris Iannetta, and Chris Herrmann with a more proven starter like Jonathan Lucroy. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that Hazen was part of a Red Sox organization that won the 2013 World Series with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross as its catching tandem and won the AL East last year with a trio of Sandy Leon, Ryan Hanigan, and Christian Vazquez. He hasn’t shown any desire to have a dynamic offensive catcher, and there’s no reason to think he’ll change now.
It’s highly possible that the Diamondbacks won’t do anything at the deadline, as they’re rolling on all cylinders right now and haven’t shown any glaring weaknesses. If they make a move, though, it it will likely be in the bullpen. The D-Backs already have quite a bit of left-handed relief depth, so they’ll probably look to add another right-hander. While Hazen was working in tandem with Dave Dombrowski in the Red Sox front office last summer, Boston acquired submariner Brad Ziegler, so it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Arizona make a run at another sidearm-throwing right-hander in Neshek.