- Earlier today, the Diamondbacks placed center fielder Chris Owings on the disabled list (retroactive to June 6) with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, per Jake Ril of MLB.com. Owings previously dealt with plantar fasciitis in both feet in 2010 and played just 62 games that year, notes Ril. The 24-year-old compiled a roughly league-average batting line of .285/.340/.419 in 196 plate appearances before leaving the Diamondbacks’ June 5 game with soreness in his foot. In his absence, the D-backs will use Michael Bourn and David Peralta in center.
Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart tells Jon Heyman of todaysknuckleball.com that the organization is “not giving up” despite a dismal start to the year. He did acknowledge that “the signs are not real good right now,” though. And in suggesting that the team thinks there’s a chance A.J. Pollock could return by September, Stewart added, somewhat ominously: “Hopefully, we’re still in it.”
- The White Sox also picked up veteran catcher Brett Hayes in a trade that sent cash considerations to the Diamondbacks. The 32-year-old Hayes tallied 32 plate appearances with Cleveland last season and has appeared in parts of each of the past seven Major League seasons, splitting his time between the Marlins, Royals and Indians. He’s a career .205/.250/.359 hitter at the big league level and a .239/.279/.387 hitter in nearly 1200 PAs at the Triple-A level.
The Diamondbacks didn’t just beat the league’s best club with today’s 3-2 victory over the Cubs, they also hung a rare loss on Jake Arrieta. Arrieta had won his last 20 decisions prior to today’s loss, a streak dating back to July 25, 2015. While the D’Back struck out 12 times against Arrieta, they also tagged the Chicago ace for three runs on nine hits and a walk over five innings. Here’s some more from the desert…
- Today’s win improved Arizona’s record to just 25-34 on the season, yet despite the slow start, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa told reporters (including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert) that the D’Backs aren’t ready to start shopping pieces for the trade deadline. “Now is not that time,” La Russa said. “If this was a veteran-laden team and you were trying to win in ’16 only, at some point you would say we’re going to be sellers not buyers. But this is a club that’s put together — and we went to lengths during the off-season — it’s about the next four or five years.”
- It also doesn’t appear, however, that the D’Backs will necessarily make any big upgrades to make a postseason push. “The problem with a major trade is that it means they take your best kids, and we like our young players,” La Russa said. “I think the healthiest attitude for the guys in uniform is win with what you got. You compete and win with what you got or [what you have] in the organization.”
- Impending free agent Daniel Hudson stands out as a possible trade chip if the D’Backs do sell at the deadline, though the reliever tells Nick Piecoro that his first choice would be to remain in Arizona both through July and in the offseason. “I’d love to stay here and be here when we’re good,” Hudson said. “I don’t want to come here and face our lineup when they put it all together and I’m not here…But I’ve got to do what’s best for me and my family. If that means exploring more options at the end of the year, then that’s what it’s going to come down to. I want to be here for the long run, for sure.” Hudson has been with the organization since 2010 but has only appeared in 144 games due to a pair of Tommy John surgeries. The former highly-touted pitching prospect has reinvented himself as a reliever and delivered strong results over the last two seasons out of the Diamondbacks bullpen. Hudson tells Piecoro that to his knowledge, there haven’t been any extension talks between his representatives and the D’Backs.
- Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports that the club has “no regrets” about the widely panned offseason trade that sent Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair to Atlanta for righty Shelby Miller. Nevertheless, La Russa believes that Swanson – the top pick in last year’s draft – “will be a star” in the majors.
- The Nationals talked with the D-backs in the offseason about Gio Gonzalez, but Arizona wouldn’t part with Ender Inciarte or David Peralta in the prospective trade. Heyman writes that the Nats spoke to a few teams about Gonzalez, including the Marlins. However, Miami wasn’t keen on surrendering Christian Yelich.
- Over at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron suggests that the Diamondbacks ought to consider what might be their boldest move yet: dangling the just-signed Zack Greinke in trade talks this summer. While the organization is committed to near-term contention, says Cameron, it may not have the flexibility it needs to address its many concerns over the winter. Dealing Greinke this summer in a market that looks light on arms would offer an opportunity to big-budget contenders to add a premium pitcher in advance of a free agent class that falls well shy of last year’s crop of talent. While Greinke hasn’t been as sharp as last year, and has posted far worse results, he’d certainly still draw interest, even if his huge salary would require some serious negotiating. All told, the scenario seems rather unlikely — as Cameron acknowledges — but is interesting to consider.
- The Diamondbacks optioned slugging outfield prospect Peter O’Brien back to Triple-A, the club announced. Left-hander Edwin Escobar will be called up to start today’s game. O’Brien’s latest stint with the D’Backs ended up lasting just a few days and consisted of a single pinch-hit appearance on Friday. Ranked as the No. 7 prospect in Arizona’s system, O’Brien has put up big numbers at Triple-A Reno over the last two seasons, and he already has 12 homers in 182 Triple-A plate appearance this year. Escobar was claimed off waivers from the Red Sox last month and will be making his first Major League start. His previous experience in the bigs consists of two relief innings with Boston in 2014.
The Diamondbacks will place struggling righty Shelby Miller on the 15-day DL with a “right finger sprain,” as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported (via Twitter). Arizona also added fellow staff member Rubby De La Rosa to the DL with elbow inflammation, adding to the pitching concerns.
Miller, 25, was acquired from the Braves over the winter with hopes that he’d join Zack Greinke to form an imposing 1-2 punch atop the Snakes’ staff. Instead, he has fallen apart since arriving in Arizona. In 45 2/3 innings over ten starts, Miller has surrendered 7.09 earned runs per nine while recording an untenable 30:29 K/BB ratio. He’s been torched with the long ball while exhibiting a 1.5 mph drop in velocity as against the average fastball he threw over a successful 2015 season.
It appears that Miller’s DL stint will arise as a result of a finger issues he’s been battling of late after scraping his hand on the mound after releasing pitches. But it’s hard to ignore the role that his ugly start has played in the decision, and that could impact his progress back toward the majors.
Arizona desperately needs to get Miller on track. The club entered the day seven games under .500 after a winter in which it dropped over $200MM on Greinke and gave up three significant assets — center fielder Ender Inciarte, pitching prospect Aaron Blair, and top overall 2015 draft pick Dansby Swanson — for the rights to Miller.
The still-youthful righty is owed $4.35MM this year and has two more seasons of arb control remaining. But the Diamondbacks will need him to pitch like the front-of-the-line arm they thought they were getting for that trade to look like anything but a bust. Of course, that may have been asking too much of Miller even at the time the deal was struck.
A timetable on Miller is wholly unclear at present. Conceivably, he could rest up and miss the minimum fifteen-day stretch. It could be, though, that the organization will spend some time looking for a fix, possibly sending Miller out on a rehab assignment to get some work in before he returns.
With Miller officially out of the rotation for the time being, the D-Backs will be even more stretched. The club surely hoped its rotation would be a strength, but Greinke and Patrick Corbin have also fallen shy of expectations — albeit nowhere near to the same extent as Miller — while De La Rosa and Robby Ray have been solid but largely unspectacular.
De La Rosa tells Jack Magruder of Fanragsports.com (via Twitter) that he expects to miss a month. There does not appear to be any concern that he’ll need surgery, which is certainly good news. But the injury looks to be significant, and it’s always troubling to see a young pitcher dealing with elbow troubles.
The organization announced several other roster moves, too. Among them, Josh Collmenter was activated from his DL stint. Also coming up is young slugger Peter O’Brien, as are righties Dominic Leone and Silvino Bracho. The club will need to promote new rotation options early next week, with former top prospect Archie Bradley set to get another shot at the majors.
Bradley has scuffled in two outings earlier this year, but has been better at the Triple-A level. O’Brien, who has shifted from catcher to outfielder, made a brief major league debut last year. He’s put up a stellar .306/.330/.601 batting line in 182 plate appearances at Triple-A.
- Shelby Miller continues to be limited by a finger injury, Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said today, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Already struggling on the hill, Miller’s difficulties were exacerbated when he scraped his hand on the dirt in his follow-through. Hale “still not where we’d like it to be,” which Piecoro suggests could set the stage for a DL stint. The 25-year-old owns an unsightly 7.09 ERA in 45 2/3 innings on the season, with just thirty strikeouts to go with 29 walks. When asked whether Miller could be sent to the minors, GM Dave Stewart didn’t reveal much but also didn’t rule out the idea, as Jack Magruder of Fanragsports.com tweets. “We want to get him on track the best way we can,” said Stewart. “We will figure it out and do what’s needed.”