Chris Owings Rumors
3:30pm: The Diamondbacks may also be looking to the trade market for power bats, according to a recent series of tweets from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal reports that the D-Backs and A's recently discussed a trade that would send Yoenis Cespedes to Arizona in exchange for Tyler Skaggs, A.J. Pollock and others. Both sides have cooled on the idea and backed off the trade at this time, however, and the A's would only trade Cespedes for a "monster" return, according to Rosenthal. Still, as he points out, it serves as an example that the Diamondbacks will be aggressive and creative in their search for a power bat in the outfield.
1:54pm: The Diamondbacks are motivated to swing a trade for an ace-caliber pitcher, reports ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick spoke with Arizona GM Kevin Towers, president/CEO Derrick Hall and owner Ken Kendrick in an excellent, in-depth breakdown of the situation. While Towers was quick to say that no player is untouchable, he sounded loath to part with prized pitching prospect Archie Bradley, a consensus Top 10 MLB prospect. Asked about the possiblity of trading Bradley, he replied:
"I don't see that happening. Not that anybody is untouchable, but we're hoping he's our David Price, and we can control him [for several years]. He's gonna get every opportunity to crack our rotation this spring ... He's not looking to make our rotation as the fifth guy -- he's looking to make it as the ace."
Hall pointed to the Diamondbacks' success in 2011 when Ian Kennedy finished fourth in the Cy Young race, noting how impactful having a "No. 1 type starter" was to that year's team. Hall expects activity to pick up: "We're getting a lot of calls and making a lot of calls, and we can see the interest is there. We're probably a good fit for a lot of clubs."
In addition to enviable pitching depth, the Diamondbacks also have several intriguing shortstops in the form of Didi Gregorius, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed. Martin Prado's presence means that Arizona could also be inclined to include Matt Davidson in potential trades, and the presence of both A.J. Pollock could mean that Adam Eaton is attainable as well, notes Crasnick.
Crasnick lists familiar trade targets Price and Jeff Samardzija for the Diamondbacks, though Price has had multiple ace-caliber seasons while Samardzija has more so flashed ace potential. Crasnick adds that Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado, each of whom is still younger than 24, may be more likely to be included in potential trades.
The Diamondbacks are also looking to add an impact bat to the outfield, though that addition may be more likely to come via free agency, reports Crasnick. Big-name items like Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson may not fit into Arizona's payroll, which could lead to pursuits of names like Corey Hart and Michael Morse, though there are many who don't consider either one to be capable of handling the outfield at this point.
Earlier today, it was reported that the Dodgers are nearing a deal with Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, who has officially been cleared by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control to sign with a Major League team. Here's more out of the NL West...
- Padres GM Josh Byrnes isn't sure what this offseason will hold, but he told MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom that he's certain that the team's payroll will go up again. Byrnes also spoke about his feelings on the Mat Latos trade in hindsight. Since the swap, Yasmani Grandal was hit with a 50-game suspension and has missed time with injury, Yonder Alonso has been hurt, and Edinson Volquez was released after a disappointing 2013 season.
- The Diamondbacks will take a long look at Chris Owings over the final weeks of the season as they try to evaluate their shortstop position in the long-term, manager Kirk Gibson tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Owings won Pacific Coast League MVP honors this season by hitting .330/.359/.482 with 12 homers and 20 steals. Gibson praised his positive attitude in the face of last offseasons acquisitions of Didi Gregorius, Nick Ahmed and Cliff Pennington. Gregorius, who started out the season on a hot streak, has hit just .208/.288/.277 over his past 55 games, opening the door for Owings to make an impression.
- Wilton Lopez's disappointing season and Matt Belisle's regression will likely force the Rockies to rebuild their bullpen this offseason, even if it means overpaying for arms, opines Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Sulia link). The Rockies will also be without Rafael Betancourt, who elected to undergo Tommy John surgery and could retire due to the injury.