After giving up the 13th overall pick in this summer’s draft to sign Zack Greinke, the Diamondbacks are not interested in parting with another choice, GM Dave Stewart tells MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. That would appear to take Arizona out of the running for any of the remaining free agents who would require draft picks to sign since they rejected qualifying offers earlier at the outset of the offseason.
The D’Backs’ top remaining selection is a Competitive Balance Round A choice that currently rates as the 37th overall choice, though that number will change as QO-bound free agents pick their destinations. “We’re not going to give up the pick,” Stewart said. “It’s just tough after we’ve already given up our first pick. To give up our top two picks, that would be difficult for us to do.”
That stance would appear to put a damper on a report earlier today suggesting that the club was still in talks with infielder Howie Kendrick, who rejected a qualifying offer from the Dodgers. Stewart said there was appeal to adding a veteran infielder, “only just for the security of it,” but noted that the team still feels good about what it well get out of its younger position players. Notably, though he made clear that the team has no inclination to punt a pick, he did not rule out other avenues to acquiring an established player from that mold.
While it is not surprising to hear that the club values the draft pick, it is frankly somewhat surprising to hear Stewart rule out its sacrifice so conclusively. After all, that choice is far less valuable than the one already parted with. And while any other free agent would likely pale in comparison to Greinke in terms of expectations, Arizona has already sought to push up its competitiveness timetable by signing him and giving up a big haul for fellow righty Shelby Miller. There’s always a place to draw a line, of course, but this does seem like a somewhat curious place to make a firm stand.
It’s worth noting, in that regard, that this is the same team that arguably did not maximize its draft and international spending capacity last year. Arizona also traded its first-round choices from 2014 (Touki Toussaint) and 2015 (Dansby Swanson) in recent months. Of course, the organization has gone against the grain in numerous ways, and seen many of its decisions called into question, yet certainly looks to be in a stronger overall position than many would have anticipated this time last year.
Stewart went on to add that the Snakes are still looking for relievers, though he said there are some intriguing young in-house options that could compete for a spot. The Diamondbacks have been connected to a variety of names in trade scenarios, but it appears that the current asking prices are too high. “I can tell you it will be difficult to do it by a trade,” Stewart said. “So we’re going to look through the free-agent market and see what else is left. I think that’s the way it’s going to have to happen if we’re going to do it at all.”