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MLB Trade Deadline Recap: Arizona Diamondbacks

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A look back at what the Diamondbacks did at the deadline.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the non-waiver deadline has passed, we’re taking a look back at what each team was able to accomplish before 4 p.m. ET on July 31. Next up in our recap series, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Arizona Diamondbacks (64-48), 15.0 GB in NL West, 1st in NL Wild Card

ACQUIRED: OF J.D. Martinez (from DET), RHP David Hernandez (from LAA), INF Adam Rosales (from OAK), C John Ryan Murphy (from MIN)

TRADED: INF Dawel Lugo (to DET), INF Sergio Alcantara (to DET), LHP Gabriel Moya (to MIN), INF Jose King (to DET), RHP Jeferson Mejia (to OAK), RHP Luis Madero (to LAA)

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The Diamondbacks made a long-term commitment to winning before the 2016 season, when they gave Zack Greinke the largest contract by average annual value in MLB history. While that plan didn’t work too well last season as Greinke adjusted to a new environment, they’ve realized their potential this season and look like they’ll be a real force come October. Gearing up as they prepare to slay the figurative dragon (the Dodgers) come October, the Diamondbacks were big buyers at the trade deadline.

Arizona made its biggest splash on July 18, acquiring one of baseball’s elite sluggers, right fielder J.D. Martinez, from the Tigers in exchange for prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King. While Martinez is a pending free agent and wasn’t expected to command a massive package of prospects in return, most experts deemed the trade to be a rather impressive victory for Arizona. The D-backs’ farm system isn’t exceptionally well-regarded in the first place, and they only had to give up their No. 4 (Lugo) and 15 (Alcantara) prospects plus a player in King who didn’t make MLB Pipeline’s top 30 list in order to make the deal.

Lugo, 22, is still somewhat of a question mark, as he doesn’t have a clear defensive position and has hit for an unspectacular .279/.323/.433 slash line in Double-A this season. Alcantara, 21, is a glove-first shortstop who has posted a .700 OPS in High-A this year, and if he gets to the majors, it will likely be because of his defense. King is an 18-year-old shortstop in rookie ball, and while he slashed an impressive .350/.402/.413 in the Dominican Summer League last year, he’s about as much of a lottery ticket as a prospect can be.

In addition to immediately filling the gap created by the absence of left fielder Yasmany Tomas, who hasn’t played since June 2 due to groin tendinitis, Martinez vastly increases the power in the middle of Arizona’s lineup and makes it much harder for opponents to pitch around Paul Goldschmidt.

The Diamondbacks’ oddest trade came on July 27, when they dealt lefty reliever Gabriel Moya to the Twins for catcher John Ryan Murphy. Though the 26-year-old Murphy has logged 141 games of big-league experience over four seasons, he’s spent the entirety of 2017 in Triple-A. With Chris Iannetta, Jeff Mathis, and Chris Herrmann all on Arizona’s major-league roster, Murphy is at best fourth on their organizational depth chart, and in order to add him to the roster at Triple-A Reno, the Diamondbacks actually released veteran Hank Conger, who has more MLB experience and had better numbers in every major offensive category than Murphy this season.

In order to get Murphy, they gave up the 22-year-old Moya, who is not rated as a top-30 prospect by MLB Pipeline but has spectacular numbers this season, posting a 0.94 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 73 strikeouts, and 13 walks in 48 Double-A innings.

Arizona also made two incremental upgrades on deadline day, acquiring utility man Adam Rosales from the Athletics for right-hander Jeferson Mejia, then bringing back old friend David Hernandez from the Angels in exchange for right-hander Luis Madero. Rosales will back up Ketel Marte at shortstop while the D-backs are waiting for Nick Ahmed to return from a broken hand, and he’ll provide depth at all the other infield positions as well. Hernandez, who was previously with Arizona from 2011-15, has put together a fantastic 2017 campaign and gives the Diamondbacks the proven setup man they’d been looking for all season.

Both Madero and Mejia are lottery tickets; Madero is a mostly-unheralded 20-year-old starter who has shown some impressive command this season, while Mejia possesses a high-90s fastball but is behind in his development, as he’s still in short-season Class A at 23 years old.

While there were some calls for the Diamondbacks to upgrade over their trio of light-hitting catchers at the deadline, there wasn’t really an area that they obviously needed to upgrade but didn’t. If anything, they actually did more than they really needed to, going out and getting Martinez despite the fact that Tomas is good enough to get by with as a starting outfielder when he’s healthy.

If Arizona makes a waiver-wire move, it seems most likely that it will be one to address the bullpen, where they could still stand to add another impact arm. Otherwise, their depth is strong enough that they should be able to survive the stretch run without any concerns.

For a complete list of our trade deadline recaps, click here.