When it was first announced that MLB was moving to single trade deadline, initial speculation was that it would push teams into earlier decisions on whether to buy or sell. But with about 28 hours to go as of post time, it’s become pretty clear that the opposite is true. That’s created rumblings of a move to August 15, midway between the previous deadlines for non-waiver and waiver deals, something many of us had proposed in the first place.
Alas, what’s done is done for this year and it seems as though we’re finally starting to see the market thaw. The Giants went from early sellers to stand-patters to buyers before settling back into possibly soft-selling. It’s an odd spot for a team that has new leadership and clearly needs to get younger, but perhaps they felt trading Madison Bumgarner would result in too much tainted love from their fans.
One of their NL West rivals, however, appears to be harboring no such desire to go all-in on a one-game lottery ticket. The Diamondbacks have gone 4-6 over their last 10 and are now 4 games out of the Wild Card in a division that doesn’t figure to make it easy for them to make up ground down the stretch.
As such, they’ll be looking to move whatever pieces aren’t nailed down, including several to whom the Cubs have been connected over the past few weeks. Ken Rosenthal had indicated earlier in the month that the Cubs would be interested in outfielder David Peralta should Arizona make him available, and Jon Morosi has said the D-backs are “focused intently on selling.”
Source: #DBacks (52-52) focused intently on selling conversations. Their big names are definitely available: Greinke, Ray, Bradley, Chafin, Holland, Peralta, Dyson. Arizona has a vastly improved farm system — and it’s about to get even better. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 27, 2019
The following blurb from Jesse Rogers in ESPN’s deadline tracker discusses a natural fit between the Cubs and Diamondbacks, something Sahadev Sharma echoed in a Tuesday radio appearance.
As the Cubs search for improvements before the deadline, the Diamondbacks are a trade partner to watch as Arizona moves to sell mode. The front offices have a good history together and several players — such as David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson and a host of bullpen options — could be fits for Chicago.
The “host of bullpen options” Rogers mentions includes lefty Andrew Chafin — more on him here — and righties Greg Holland and Archie Bradley. The latter is of particular interest because he’s only 26 and has two more years of club control, while the 29-year-old Chafin has one more year and the 33-year-old Holland is only under contract through this season.
Between his age, control, and ghastly 15.1% walk rate over the last two seasons, Holland would be the cheapest of the group by a wide margin. And at only about $1 million remaining on his deal, he might even fit within the Cubs’ limited budget. His reverse splits are pretty, though, so maybe the Cubs could stomach the walks.
Rather than further examine each players’ potential fit with the Cubs, let’s briefly expand upon Rogers’ statement that the front offices have history with one another. The most obvious tie is with Arizona assistant GM Jared Porter, who began his baseball career in 2004 as a Red Sox intern during the tenures of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer before later joining them in Chicago.
Porter was then lured to the Diamondbacks by GM Mike Hazen, under whom he’d worked in Boston. Hazen previously served as the Red Sox’ director of player development starting in 2006 and became VP of player development and amateur scouting in 2011, Epstein’s final year there.
Interesting thing to note on Ahmed. The Dbacks front office has multiple guys who were with the Cubs (Jared Porter and Jason Parks, both in pro scouting). You wonder what their thoughts on Addison Russell are. Not as a key part of any return, but as a way to off-set salary.
— IDontCareAboutTheLuxuryTaxCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) July 30, 2019
Then there’s Jason “Professor” Parks, an erstwhile Twitter legend who went from blogging about Rangers prospects to writing for Baseball Prospectus to a gig as a scout and special assistant with the Cubs. Now he’s the Diamondbacks’ director of pro scouting and a gleaming beacon of hope to bloggers everywhere.
Not only are there some long-running relationships at play here, but they exist almost exclusively within the scouting department. That could mean the Diamondbacks are aware of some Cubs prospects who aren’t necessarily atop the public lists but could still provide value. Or perhaps, as @FullCountTommy suggests, they could be willing to take on Addison Russell or others in a salary play.
Definitely something to monitor as the Cubs try to finalize deadline deals that may require them to shed money before adding new players.