If the Diamondbacks endure another non-contending season and decide to enter a rebuild, they might have to consider trading their two best players – first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and center fielder A.J. Pollock – writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Goldschmidt and Pollock are running out of team control (three and two years remaining, respectively), and it would behoove the Diamondbacks to somehow replenish a farm system that ESPN’s Keith Law ranks as the majors’ worst (subscription required/recommended). While moving the two bona fide stars would certainly help Arizona beef up its prospect pool, new general manager Mike Hazen unsurprisingly told Piecoro that such drastic measures aren’t under consideration at this point. “We’re not really there yet in terms of sort of long-term strategic thinking,” Hazen said. “We like this team. We’ll see where this team goes. If we have to make some adjustments, we will.”
More from the National League:
- The Cincinnati-Atlanta trade that Brandon Phillips blocked in November would have resulted in a better return for the second baseman than the one the Reds have since received from the Braves, reports Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). Phillips finally agreed to waive his no-trade rights Sunday, largely because he’s going to get more playing time this year with the Braves than he would have with the rebuilding Reds, observes ESPN’s Buster Olney (subscription required/recommended).
- Even though Jedd Gyorko led the Cardinals with 30 home runs last season, he’ll enter spring training as the underdog to Jhonny Peralta in the team’s third base competition, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Peralta was far less productive than Gyorko in 2016, when he batted .260/307/.408 with eight homers in 313 plate appearances, but a hand injury may have been a key reason for the normally steady contributor’s drop-off. “My hope is that he is 100 percent,” GM John Mozeliak said of Peralta, who’s going into a contract year. “My hope is that he has a little spring in his step. And my hope is that he can either give us a lot of flexibility in the infield or be our anchor at third. He’s one guy who has the ability to hit home runs and hit with power.” Ultimately, despite both Gyorko’s output last season and Mozeliak’s optimism regarding Peralta, Matt Carpenter could see more time at third than either of them if first baseman Matt Adams reemerges as a quality performer this year, posits Goold. For now, Carpenter is penciled in as the Cardinals’ starter at first.
- The Mets “absolutely” believe in corner outfielder Michael Conforto, GM Sandy Alderson told Steve Serby of the New York Post, but the executive didn’t mention the 23-year-old when discussing the club’s outfield. “If Bruce is in right and [Curtis] Granderson and [Juan] Lagares in center, Cespedes in left — Cespedes is an excellent left fielder, Granderson did a nice job for us in center last year, Lagares is excellent, and Jay Bruce I would say he’s league average at least,” said Alderson. Given the amount of major league-caliber outfielders the Mets have, Conforto’s status is “something we’d have to work out in spring training,” Alderson acknowledged. “I don’t think that Michael is the kind of player that we want to be sitting on the bench.” Conforto has two minor league options remaining, so he could again go to Triple-A Las Vegas after embarrassing opposing pitchers there last year (.422/.483/.727 in 143 PAs). The Mets will give the left-handed-hitting Conforto some reps at first base and center field this spring, tweets Newsday’s Marc Carig, though they already have an established, lefty-swinging option manning first in Lucas Duda. And Granderson and Lagares will occupy center, as Alderson mentioned.