Arizona Diamondbacks – MLB Trade Rumors https://www.mlbtraderumors.com Sat, 23 Jun 2018 06:09:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 D-backs Keeping Tabs On Machado https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/trade-chatter-machado-tepera-braves-padres.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/trade-chatter-machado-tepera-braves-padres.html#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2018 19:59:35 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125448 The Diamondbacks have once again checked in with the Orioles on Manny Machado, primarily as a matter of due diligence, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB.com. There’s little surprise there, given that the Snakes were oft-linked to Machado in the offseason and were reportedly one of the more interested parties in obtaining his services. Beyond that, Arizona has received limited offensive contributions from both the third base (.216/.313/.394) and shortstop (.232/.296/.442) positions so far in 2018. The D-backs are currently hanging onto a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West, and adding someone of Machado’s caliber would be reminiscent of last season’s J.D. Martinez acquisition, though Machado has more defensive value even with poor ratings at shortstop so far in 2018.

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Pollock Slow To Progress; Miller Nearing Return https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-pollock-miller-hand-kershaw-cingrani.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-pollock-miller-hand-kershaw-cingrani.html#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2018 14:42:27 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125363
  • As Piecoro further covers (both in that article and on Twitter), it seems that D-backs righty Shelby Miller is nearly ready to be activated from the 60-day DL. He has managed only a 4.66 ERA in four rehab outings, but is carrying an excellent 28:6 K/B ratio over his 19 1/3 minor-league frames thus far. Miller isn’t listed as one of the four starting pitchers for the upcoming weekend series against the Pirates, however, and manager Torey Lovullo didn’t provide an update on what is next for the right-hander just yet. Fellow righty Matt Koch allowed at least five runs for the fourth time in seven starts last night, though, so logically speaking, the D-backs could bump him from the starting five to accommodate Miller’s return.
  • Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock is not healing quite as quickly as might have been hoped, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports, though there has been some progress made. Given that he still hasn’t been cleared to swing, and will need some time on rehab assignment thereafter, it seems reasonable now to expect that Pollock won’t return until some time in early-to-mid-July. He’s set for a CT scan Monday. The slow progress, clearly, is not great news for the Snakes, though the club has halted an earlier slide in the standings. and played better baseball of late. They’re currently leading a resurgent Dodgers club by 1.5 games for the division lead.

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    Latest On Steven Souza Jr., Shelby Miller https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/quick-hits-kikuchi-sugano-bosox-jbj-rangers-d-backs.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/quick-hits-kikuchi-sugano-bosox-jbj-rangers-d-backs.html#comments Mon, 18 Jun 2018 03:05:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125248
  • Both Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and right-hander Shelby Miller are progressing in their injury recoveries, according to Richard Morin of AZCentral.com. Souza, out since May 22 with a strained right pectoral, is close to embarking on a rehab assignment. And Miller, who’s working back from May 2017 Tommy John surgery, looked great in his fourth rehab appearance Saturday. Pitching at the Single-A level, Miller threw 81 pitches and struck out 10 (with just three hits allowed and no walks) over 6 1/3 innings. He also saw his fastball top out at 95 mph. It’s not yet clear whether Miller will make another rehab appearance, nor is it known if he’ll work as a starter or in relief upon his return to the majors, manager Torey Lovullo suggested. Regardless, the D-backs are “very encouraged” by his progress, Lovullo said.
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    Diamondbacks Notes: Lackey, Shipley, Souza https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/diamondbacks-rumors-john-lackey-offer-offseason-free-agent.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/diamondbacks-rumors-john-lackey-offer-offseason-free-agent.html#comments Thu, 14 Jun 2018 02:53:42 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124949 The Diamondbacks made a minor league offer to right-hander John Lackey this offseason, writes USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, but the veteran righty passed on the opportunity. Coincidentally, Lackey’s friend and former teammate, Clay Buchholz, ultimately wound up in the D-backs organization on a similar deal and is now thriving in a rotation that has been hit hard by injuries. “I don’t bring that up to him now,” joked Buchholz, who still keeps in touch with Lackey, “because he’s a lot bigger than me. I don’t want to make him mad. But Lackey is a bulldog. I fully expect him to be with some club at some point this year. I know for a fact that he still works out and keeps his body ready.” Both Lackey and Buchholz, of course, are known commodities to D-backs GM Mike Hazen and assistant GMs Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter, each of whom has previously worked in the Boston front office.

    More out of Arizona…

    • Braden Shipley is being asked to work as a reliever for the time being, writes Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription link), but the organization hasn’t closed the door on him as a rotation option. Shipley had actually been set to step into the rotation last month when an elbow injury sent him to the disabled list. In the interim, Buccholz stepped up and seized that spot, however. Shipley acknowledged some frustration at how the scenario unfolded, though he took a positive approach to his new role, viewing it as a chance to ease up on his arm and get some experience at the big league level before hopefully getting another starting opportunity down the line. A former first-round pick, Shipley has just a 5.23 ERA in 98 Major League innings, though the 26-year-old is still just two years removed from ranking among the game’s top 100 prospects and could yet thrive in the big leagues — especially in a new role.
    • Steven Souza Jr. began a throwing program Wednesday as he works back from a recurrence of the pectoral injury he incurred during Spring Training, writes Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic. Souza threw from 45 feet today and will play catch again Friday before a Monday MRI to determine the progress he’s made in his recovery. He’ll return to a different outfield mix than the one he left, of course, as the Snakes have since acquired Jon Jay in a trade with the Royals. The presence of Souza, Jay, David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson, Chris Owings and, eventually, a healthy A.J. Pollock will lead to some decisions for the D-backs, although that’s a theoretical situation that may or may not present itself, depending on the health of that group as a whole.
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    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/13/18 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61318.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/amateur-draft-signings-61318.html#comments Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:35:12 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124912 We’ll use this post to track Wednesday’s notable agreements from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • Reds second-round pick Lyon Richardson scored a $2MM payday to forego his commitment to the University of Florida, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That’s nearly half a million over the slot value ($1,520,300) for a player who has only recently emerged as a high-end pitching prospect. MLB.com’s team was highest among major prospect outlets, ranking Richardson 67th on the basis of his ample upside as an athletic hurler who has shown big velocity despite unpolished mechanics.
    • The Yankees have announced a variety of signings, including deals with second-rounder Josh Breaux and third-rounder Ryder Green. These agreements were first reported by Callis (Twitter links), with the bonus values pinned down by Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). Breaux’s bonus of $1,497,500 handily tops his $1,086,900 slot value, while Green, too, receives an over-slot $997,500 bonus that exceeds his $576,400 slot value. All of the above lists include Breaux among the top 100 available prospects, with an increasingly promising bat and improving work behind the dish justifying the placement.
    • The Braves got second-round selection Greyson Jenista for a $1.2MM bonus that leaves them $250,500 of extra pool space to work with, Callis reports on Twitter. The Wichita State slugger received a fairly broad array of grades from prospect hounds, but the Fangraphs crew was highest. With big power and the ability to draw walks, but also plenty of swing-and-miss in his game, there’s a lot to like about the bat. One major question is whether Jenista will be able to work into being a reasonable defender in the corner outfield, or whether instead he’s destined for first base in the long run.
    • Second-rounder Alek Thomas will join the Diamondbacks rather than heading to TCU, as Callis also tweets. The deal includes a $1.2MM bonus that tops the $1,035,500 allocation that came with the 63rd overall draft slot. Law was quite bullish on the young outfielder, crediting him with “five-tool potential” and “an advanced feel on both sides of the ball.”
    • The Nationals have also agreed to terms with their second-round selection, UConn lefty Tim Cate, Callis adds on Twitter. It’s an at-slot, $986,200 bonus for the 65th overall choice of the draft. Best known for his big hook, Cate is an undersized hurler who has also had some worrying arm health questions crop up. Still, Baseball America ranked him 54th on its board, noting his “exceptional feel to land his breaking ball in the zone and bury it for swings and misses.”
    • Still another second-rounder, Florida Atlantic infielder Tyler Frank, will take home a $997,500 bonus from the Rays, per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo (Twitter link). That leaves the Tampa Bay club with some extra funds to work with, as the 56th slot came with a $1,228,000 allocation. Also going under-slot were Royals second-rounder Jonathan Bowlan ($697,500 bonus vs. $1,168,300 slot) and Twins second-rounder Ryan Jeffers ($800K bonus vs. $1,140,600 slot), according to Callis (Twitter links)
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    Lovullo On Rotation Outlook, Buchholz's Importance https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-lemahieu-rockies-giants-duggar-buchholz.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-lemahieu-rockies-giants-duggar-buchholz.html#comments Mon, 11 Jun 2018 14:22:06 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124743
  • Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo chatted with Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe about the role that familiarity played in the organization’s decision to sign Clay Buchholz, as well as the importance of what Buchholz has done in the rotation since signing. Lovullo, GM Mike Hazen and AGM Amiel Sawdaye were all with the Red Sox when Buchholz was drafted, and that preexisting relationship helped to facilitate the signing. “Mike and [assistant GM] Amiel [Sawdaye] and I got together and we said, ‘Why not Clay?’ ” Lovullo recalled. “The reports on him were very good and so we said, ‘Let’s do it.’ And he’s been outstanding for us.” Lovullo was cautious about making any definitive proclamations about his rotation moving forward but did say that Buchholz “deserves” to remain in the mix. It’s hard to argue, as the 33-year-old has posted a 1.88 ERA with a 21-to-3 K/BB ratio through 24 innings (four starts) with the D-backs so far.
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    Diamondbacks Outright Kristopher Negron https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-61018.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-61018.html#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2018 23:49:53 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124677
  • The Diamondbacks have outrighted infielder/outfielder Kristopher Negron to Triple-A Reno, per an announcement from Arizona. Because Negron has been outrighted in the past, he could reject the assignment in favor of free agency, but it seems he’ll stay with the Diamondbacks. Negron lost his spot on Arizona’s 40-man roster this week when the team designated him for assignment to make room for the addition of outfielder Jon Jay. Prior to that, Negron collected 34 plate appearances with the D-backs dating back to last season (including three this year). The 32-year-old has otherwise played with Reno since 2017.
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    NL West Notes: Buehler, Turner, Hand, Marte https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-buehler-turner-hand-marte.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-buehler-turner-hand-marte.html#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2018 03:52:58 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124612 Walker Buehler left last night’s game before he was able to get through the sixth, but it wasn’t due to poor performance. The promising young right-hander left due to a side injury. Thankfully, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports that Buehler is describing his injury as “bruised ribs”. There’s no word yet as to whether he’ll need to land on the DL for a stint, but the news ought to bring a mild sigh of relief to Dodgers fans. Such a description would seem to eliminate the dread of an oblique or intercostal strain, if Buehler’s self-description holds up. Bruises seem far less likely to disrupt his excellent season thus far; Buehler’s been worth 1.7 fWAR across nine starts in part thanks to a 4.91 K/BB ratio and 54.5% ground ball rate.

    Other items out of the NL West…

    • The Dodgers have received news on Justin Turner that’s far less promising, however. Shaikin also reports that Turner’s performance could be diminished all season by lingering wrist issues. The slugger spent most of the season thus far on the DL after suffering a fractured wrist during a spring training game. Shaikin also points out that he’s been held out of the lineup in three of the last four games, and has managed just a .668 OPS since returning from the disabled list.
    • AJ Cassavell of MLB.com revisits the Brad Hand extension in his recent piece, reminding readers that it significantly reduced the likelihood of the reliever being traded any time soon. Hand has been one of the best relievers in baseball in recent seasons by metrics such as WPA, fWAR and ERA, and though he’d certainly fetch a hefty price for the rebuilding Padres, they now control him through 2021. That’s a season in which they could feasibly be contending for a title. For his part, Hand certainly had that in mind. “”When I signed the contract, that was the big part of it,” he said. “I wanted to be here, I wanted to help the young guys come up, and I wanted to win a World Series here.”
    • Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo believes Ketel Marte is “100% playable” in spite of a recent injury, says MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. However, Lovullo adds that he “created some tenderness” with a headfirst slide into third base this past Sunday. He was held out of the lineup on Saturday, but the move seems to have been largely precautionary; his manager reportedly wanted to give him a day to get ahead of the injury. Marte has struggled to produce offensively throughout his career, sporting a .258/.313/.364 line since debuting in 2015. However, his excellent defense has played him to 2.6 wins above replacement, according to Fangraphs’ metric.
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    Hazen On D-backs' Acquisition Of Jay https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-giants-alexander-dodgers-jay-d-backs.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/nl-west-notes-giants-alexander-dodgers-jay-d-backs.html#comments Fri, 08 Jun 2018 18:33:20 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124442
  • Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen spoke with reporters following his team’s surprisingly early acquisition of Jon Jay to explain some of the thinking that went into the move (links via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and Steve Gilbert of MLB.com). “With the way the division is shaping up, where every day matters more and more, we just felt like this was the right thing to do at the time,” said Hazen, who is currently without both A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza. Hazen explained that the D-backs pursued Jay this offseason as well and praised his strong start to the year as well as his outfield versatility. The GM acknowledged that the move had some logjam potential down the line but declined to delve into any specifics as to how that’d be addressed. It’s a purely hypothetical scenario right now anyhow, as neither Souza nor Pollock appears to be on the verge of returning.
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    Diamondbacks Acquire Jon Jay https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-trade-jon-jay-diamondbacks.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/royals-trade-jon-jay-diamondbacks.html#comments Thu, 07 Jun 2018 02:41:23 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124329 9:41pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the D-backs are taking on the remainder of Jay’s salary and will be on the hook for any of the $1.5MM worth of incentives he unlocks. Jay reportedly receives $100K for every 25th plate appearance beginning at 250 plate appearances and escalating up through his 600th plate appearance of the year. He’s already at 266 PAs on the season.

    7:52pm: The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve acquired outfielder Jon Jay from the Royals in exchange for minor league left-hander Gabe Speier and minor league right-hander Elvis Luciano. Infielder Kristopher Negron has been designated for assignment to clear roster space.

    Jon Jay | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

    Jay, 33, inked a one-year contract worth $3MM this offseason and is still owed about $1.86MM through season’s end. He’s gotten off to a nice start at the plate in his first year with Kansas City, hitting .307/.363/.374 with a homer, nine doubles, two triples and three steals on the year.

    That’s a fairly typical year at the plate for Jay, who has batted at least .291 and posted an OBP of at least .339 in four of the past five seasons. While he doesn’t provide much in the way of pop, he’ll give the Diamondbacks a high-average hitter with solid OBP skills who rarely strikes out and can handle all three outfield spots.

    For a team that currently strikes out at a 25 percent clip — fourth-highest in the Majors — Jay’s 14.7 percent punchout rate would seem to be particularly appealing. Beyond that, Jay has virtually no discernible platoon split, having hit lefties (.288/.361/.347) at a comparable rate to righties (.290/.354/.393) throughout his career.

    Jay will join an outfield mix that also includes David Peralta, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings at the moment. Heading into the season, the outfield hardly looked to be a serious need for the D-backs, but they’ve since seen March acquisition Steven Souza hit the DL twice and are also without A.J. Pollock for upwards of two months due to an avulsion fracture in his thumb.

    While that has the makings of a potentially crowded outfield mix if everyone can get healthy, the D-backs will worry about that theoretical logjam down the line. For the time being, they’re taking a proactive approach to help stop the bleeding after a dreadful freefall that has seen their once-monstrous division lead whittled down to a half-game advantage over the Rockies.

    The price the D-backs paid for Jay appears modest, at best (as one might expect for a part-time outfielder on a modest contract). The 23-year-old Speier was a 19th-round pick by the Red Sox back in 2013 that has now been traded four times in his career. He went from Boston to Detroit in the Yoenis Cespedes/Rick Porcello blockbuster before next making his way to the Braves alongside Ian Krol in the trade that sent Cameron Maybin back to Detroit. Speier never threw a pitch in the Braves organization, though, as he was traded to the D-backs alongside Shelby Miller in the infamous Ender Inciarte/Dansby Swanson deal.

    For a player that’s bounced around so much, though, Speier has solid numbers in the minors. He’s currently in his second full season at the Double-A level and has thus far notched a tidy 3.03 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and a whopping 60.5 percent ground-ball rate through 29 2/3 frames. In all, he has a 3.67 ERA in 112 2/3 innings at that level, though he’s yet to ascend to Triple-A and is not considered to be among Arizona’s top 30 farmhands.

    Luciano, then, may be the more notable of the pair of hurlers headed to Kansas City. MLB.com ranks him 26th among D-backs farmhands, while Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDainiel of Fangraphs noted in their rundown of the system that Luciano has a 55-grade curveball and a chance to start. Of course, at 18 years of age, he’s years away from even sniffing the big leagues.

    Luciano pitched in the Dominican Summer League and in Rookie ball last season, posting a combined 2.84 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com give him a chance to have three average or better offerings, highlighted by the aforementioned hook, but he’ll need quite a bit more development. Callis and Mayo, though, note that he has “plus mound presence and maturity” and was well-regarded by many in the D-backs organization.

    For the Royals, the trade of Jay figures to be the first of many in a long summer of rebuilding. Jay was among the many veterans on a contract set to expire after this season, and it’s likely that the Royals front office will field offers on everyone from high-profile rentals like Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas to veteran starters like Jason Hammel and even more controllable assets like Whit Merrifield. The rentals seem like virtual locks to go (Herrera and Moustakas, in particular), but GM Dayton Moore and his staff will undoubtedly carry an open mind as they entertain offers for nearly anyone on the roster.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Diamondbacks Select Contract Of Kristopher Negron https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/diamondbacks-select-contract-of-kristopher-negron.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/diamondbacks-select-contract-of-kristopher-negron.html#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2018 22:50:14 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124122 The Diamondbacks have selected the contract of utilityman Kristopher Negron, per a club announcement. Socrates Brito was optioned to Triple-A to create active roster space; the club had an open 40-man spot, so no move was needed there.

    Negron, 32, saw brief time in the majors last year with the Snakes and has spent some time there previously with the Reds. All told, he’s a .214/.296/.338 hitter in 301 MLB plate appearances. And Negron has never shown much more than that with the bat in the upper minors; in parts of nine seasons at Triple-A, he carries a .245/.308/.378 slash.

    The appeal here for the D-Backs, clearly, isn’t about boosting the offense. Rather, Negron will help fill in wherever needed, given his professional experience all over the field.

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    Jon Duplantier Dealing With Biceps Tendinitis https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/padres-trade-draft-pick-phil-hughes-twins.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/padres-trade-draft-pick-phil-hughes-twins.html#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2018 20:23:49 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=124105
  • The D-backs have had rotten luck with injuries at the big league level in 2018, and it’s apparently extending to the farm system as well. Zach Buchanan of The Athletic tweets that the team’s top prospect, right-hander Jon Duplantier, is dealing with biceps tendinitis and has been shut down from throwing for at least a week. The 23-year-old Duplantier has dominated in Double-A this year, working to a 2.52 ERA with 10.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.5 HR/9 and a 59.8 percent ground-ball rate in 35 2/3 innings. He’s currently ranked as the game’s No. 50 overall prospect over at Baseball America and No. 65 overall at MLB.com.
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    Diamondbacks Acquire Brad Goldberg https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-6318.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/minor-mlb-transactions-6318.html#comments Sun, 03 Jun 2018 22:21:55 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123985
  • The Diamondbacks have acquired right-handed reliever Brad Goldberg from the White Sox for cash considerations, per Scott Merkin of MLB.com and Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. Goldberg, 28, will now head to his second organization after initially joining Chicago in the 10th round of the 2013 draft. The hard thrower debuted in the majors last year with 12 innings of 8.25 ERA ball, but other than that, he has worked exclusively in the minors (including a 22 1/3-inning run at Double-A this season).  Goldberg owns a 3.07 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 4.5 BB/9 in 91 Triple-A innings.
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    Diamondbacks Acquire Tyler Ladendorf From Blue Jays https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/mariners-sign-detwiler-diamondbacks-acquire-tyler-ladendorf-reds-acquire-tommy-bergjans.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/mariners-sign-detwiler-diamondbacks-acquire-tyler-ladendorf-reds-acquire-tommy-bergjans.html#comments Sat, 02 Jun 2018 03:33:40 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123779
  • The D-backs acquired infielder Tyler Ladendorf from the Blue Jays in exchange for cash, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. A second-round pick of the Twins back in 2007, Ladendorf eventually reached the Majors with the A’s but hit just .123/.149/.154 in 68 plate appearances. Ladendorf appeared in just two games with the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate and went hitless in six plate appearances, but he’s a career .256/.324/.347 hitter in parts of eight Triple-A seasons.
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    Diamondbacks, Henry Owens Agree To Minor League Deal https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/diamondbacks-sign-henry-owens.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/06/diamondbacks-sign-henry-owens.html#comments Fri, 01 Jun 2018 15:29:08 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123777 The Diamondbacks and left-hander Henry Owens have agreed to a minor league contract, tweets MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. He’d recently been released by the Dodgers.

    This’ll mark the second time that the D-backs have picked up the former Red Sox top prospect, which makes sense given that Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen and AGMs Amiel Sawdaye and Jared Porter were all at one point in Boston’s front office. The D-backs claimed Owens off waivers back in December but lost him to Los Angeles a couple of weeks later when they tried to pass him through waivers themselves.

    Owens, the 36th overall pick in the 2011 draft, was at one point considered to be among baseball’s best pitching prospects. He’s yet to deliver on his potential, though, as the 25-year-old has managed just a 5.19 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 4.7 BB/9 in 85 big league innings. More troubling, though, is that the lefty saw his control of the strike zone utterly evaporate in 2017 when he walked 115 batters, hit 17 more and threw 17 wild pitches in 126 Triple-A innings. Walks have long been an issue for Owens, though he’d never struggled to that extent in the past. Owens had yet to pitch in the Dodgers organization this season at the time of his release last month.

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    Pollock's Absence Likely Closer To Eight Weeks Than Four Weeks https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-samardzija-tigers-pollock-maeda-mets.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-samardzija-tigers-pollock-maeda-mets.html#comments Wed, 30 May 2018 03:57:46 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123615
  • A.J. Pollock’s fractured thumb has not yet fully healed, D-backs skipper Torey Lovullo told reporters (Twitter link via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic). That didn’t come as a surprise to the organization, per Lovullo, who said that Pollock’s progress is “exactly where we thought it would be.” As Piecoro indicates, the latest update suggests that Pollock’s return won’t come on the short end of his originally projected timetable of four to eight weeks. The short end of that timeline would’ve lined up Pollock for a return in mid-June, but the eight-week timeline would extend his absence closer to the All-Star break.
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    Shelby Miller Set For Rehab Assignment; Latest On Ray, Pollock https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/shelby-miller-set-for-rehab-assignment-latest-on-ray-pollock.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/shelby-miller-set-for-rehab-assignment-latest-on-ray-pollock.html#comments Tue, 29 May 2018 01:59:05 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123554 Diamondbacks right Shelby Miller is set to embark upon a rehab assignment beginning tomorrow night, as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert writes. That’s encouraging news for both player and team, as it suggests he’s now not all that far from returning to a MLB mound.

    Miller, who’s about 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery, will be looking to reestablish himself in advance of his final season of arbitration eligibility. It’s not yet known exactly how many starts he will make in the minors. Presumably, that’ll be determined in no small part by how his elbow responds. The rules allow up to thirty days for a pitcher’s rehab assignment.

    Last we saw him in the majors, Miller was giving reason to believe he could put his miserable 2016 season in the rearview mirror. He turned in three strong starts to open the ensuing campaign — including a fastball velocity boost (to 95.5 mph) and swinging-strike rebound (9.6%) — only to see the elbow problem arise and cut his season short.

    The Arizona organization will hope that Miller can regain that momentum on the other side of his TJ rehab. There’s clearly some interesting upside; in 2015, Miller threw 205 1/3 innings of 3.02 ERA ball. Whether he has that kind of effort left in his 27-year-old right arm remains to be seen. Miller says he has “felt really good physically” but believes “there’s some room to work on some command stuff” as he prepares for his return to competitive action.

    It’s notable, too, that lefty Robbie Ray has a notable date tomorrow. He’s due to have his injured oblique examined for progress. It’s even possible that he will throw a pen session if the imaging looks good. While we’ll obviously need to wait to see how the medical evaluation goes, it seems generally promising that these steps are even under contemplation at this point. Ray hit the DL about a month ago with what seemed to be a rather significant muscle injury.

    The D-Backs undoubtedly miss Miller and Ray, particularly with the team presently enduring an extended slide. Every piece of talent helps, after all, even though run-prevention has been a notable strength to this point of the season. But the lagging offense is the real problem, and that’s an ongoing concern that won’t be addressed by the eventual return of those hurlers.

    The player the Snakes miss most, surely, is center fielder A.J. Pollock. He’ll also be looked at tomorrow to see how his fractured thumb is healing. When that injury was announced, there was a fair bit of uncertainty in Pollock’s timeline, so the results will be of no little interest for a club that badly misses its most productive hitter through the first six weeks of the season. Pollock, too, is surely anxious to get back in action after missing so much time in recent seasons. Once he’s back, he’ll be looking to shore up his free-agent stock, which had been on the rise before he hit the DL.

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    Kris Medlen Retires https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/kris-medlen-retires.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/kris-medlen-retires.html#comments Sun, 27 May 2018 17:41:41 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123372 Veteran right-hander Kris Medlen has retired, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports. He had been pitching in the minors with the Diamondbacks organization.

    The 32-year-old Medlen only spent a few months with the Diamondbacks, who signed him to a minor league deal in January. He eventually worked his way back to the majors, earning a start in early May as the Diamondbacks dealt with injuries to Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker. That May 4 outing didn’t go well for Medlen, who allowed seven earned runs on nine hits and four walks (with four strikeouts) across four frames in a loss to the reigning World Series champion Astros. Arizona then optioned Medlen to Triple-A, where he spent the final few weeks of his career.

    Even though his last season didn’t go well, Medlen enjoyed an accomplished big league career. The California native went in the 10th round of the 2006 draft to the Braves, who initially used him solely out of the bullpen before he later worked as both a starter and a reliever with the club. Medlen debuted in Atlanta in 2009 and went on to turn in 512 2/3 innings of 2.95 ERA ball with the team through 2013, also notching 7.62 K/9, 2.12 BB/9 and a 46.2 percent groundball rate over 152 appearances (61 starts).

    While Medlen offered high-end production in Atlanta, his arm health began to deteriorate with the club. Medlen missed the majority of the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, which proved to the first of two TJ procedures he’d undergo in his career. Medlen went back under the knife prior to the 2014 campaign, bringing about the end of his first Braves tenure.

    The Royals took a flyer on Medlen in the wake of his second surgery, inking him to a two-year deal, but he wasn’t able to regain his old form in Kansas City. However, in the better of those years – 2015 – Medlen pitched to a respectable 4.01 ERA over 58 1/3 innings (15 appearances, eight starts) and was part of the Royals’ first World Series-winning team since 1985. Neither Medlen nor the Royals could replicate that success the next season, leading him to exit and reunite with the Braves on a minor league deal entering the 2017 campaign. Medlen didn’t return to the majors with the Braves, instead spending the season primarily with their Triple-A affiliate.

    Unfortunately, thanks to injuries, Medlen’s career didn’t reach the heights it could have. Nevertheless, he still registered a more-than-respectable 3.33 ERA in 599 1/3 major league frames. MLBTR wishes Medlen the best in retirement.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Latest On Robbie Ray, Shelby Miller https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/west-notes-pence-ohtani-d-backs-hill-as.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/west-notes-pence-ohtani-d-backs-hill-as.html#comments Sun, 27 May 2018 02:42:53 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=123331
  • The free-falling Diamondbacks may welcome both lefty Robbie Ray and righty Shelby Miller back in mid-June, general manager Mike Hazen told reporters, including Kathleen Fitzgerald of AZCentral and Nick Piecoro of AZCentral. After getting off to a 24-11 start, the Diamondbacks have lost 14 of 16, perhaps thanks in part to the absences of Ray (strained oblique) and Taijuan Walker (Tommy John surgery) since late April. The D-backs’ banged-up rotation is hardly the primary reason for their slide (the club’s offense has only averaged two runs per game during its slump), but the returns of Ray and Miller should be welcome nonetheless. Along with Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin and Zack Godley, Ray and Miller would help form a nice rotation on paper. Miller has been working back since he underwent a Tommy John procedure last May.
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    Diamondbacks Place Steven Souza On 10-Day DL https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-place-steven-souza-on-10-day-dl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-place-steven-souza-on-10-day-dl.html#comments Tue, 22 May 2018 20:17:36 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122993 The Diamondbacks placed outfielder Steven Souza Jr. on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right pectoral.  This is the same injury that kept Souza from making his season debut until May.  Outfielder Socrates Brito has been recalled from Triple-A in a corresponding move.

    Souza originally suffered the injury in the last week of Spring Training, while diving for a ball in the outfield.  This second DL placement would seem to confirm that the issue was still bothering Souza, as he didn’t look at all like himself at the plate, hitting just a .163/.234/.186 over his first 47 plate appearances for Arizona.  While no timeline was given about the DL placement, it’s fair to assume that Souza will miss more than the 10-day minimum absence to ensure that the injury is fully behind him.

    [Updated D’Backs depth chart at Roster Resource]

    After a breakout 2017 season (.239/.351/.459 with 30 homers over 617 PA) for Tampa Bay, Souza was traded to the D’Backs as part of the three-team deal with the Rays and Yankees that also saw Brandon Drury go to New York and pitching prospect Anthony Banda head to Tampa.  Souza was expected to be Arizona’s everyday right fielder and at least somewhat fill the offensive gap left behind by the departed J.D. Martinez, though his injury has essentially kept him from getting out of the blocks thus far in the 2018 campaign.

    Injuries to Souza, A.J. Pollock, and Jake Lamb have contributed to a lack of offensive firepower for the D’Backs, not to mention protracted slumps from Paul Goldschmidt and Alex Avila.  Arizona ranks at or near the bottom of the league in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS, and the hitting drought has started to catch up with the team, as the Snakes have lost 11 of their last 12 games.  Remarkably, however, the D’Backs are still hanging onto first place in the NL West.

    Brito will get his first taste of the big leagues since 2016, as the 25-year-old missed a good chunk of last year recovering from finger surgery.  Brito has only a .612 OPS over 131 PA with the Diamondbacks in 2015-16, though he isn’t far removed from being a pretty well-regarded prospect in Arizona’s farm system.  He can play all three outfield positions, and has been hitting well at Triple-A Reno, with a .323/.365/.437 slash line over 170 PA this season.

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    Diamondbacks Select Clay Buchholz https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-to-select-clay-buchholz.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-to-select-clay-buchholz.html#comments Sun, 20 May 2018 14:51:30 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122664 SUNDAY: Arizona has officially selected Buchholz’s contract. To create space for him, the team transferred righty Randall Delgado to the 60-day DL with a strained left oblique and optioned fellow righty Jimmie Sherfy to Triple-A.

    FRIDAY: The Diamondbacks will select the contract of veteran righty Clay Buchholz, manager Torey Lovullo told reporters including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). He’ll make a start on Sunday, so presumably the roster move won’t be made official until then.

    Buchholz joined the Arizona organization earlier this month after opting out of his deal with the Royals. It turned out that the Snakes needed the extra arm. With Robbie Ray on the shelf and Taijuan Walker down for the year, the club has already dipped into its system to plug in Matt Koch. The fifth spot is open to whoever can lay claim to it; fellow veteran Kris Medlen stumbled in his attempt but is among the other pitchers still on hand at Triple-A.

    Like current D-Backs GM Mike Hazen, Buchholz has spent the bulk of his career with the Red Sox organization. Now 33, Buchholz was seen as an interesting bounceback candidate by the Phillies in 2017. But he was knocked around in two starts before going down with a flexor tear.

    This upcoming appearance, then, will be Buchholz’s first in the majors in over a year. In five outings in the upper minors, he has worked to a 2.93 ERA with 19 strikeouts and a dozen walks over 27 2/3 innings. The Diamondbacks would obviously be thrilled if he can provide some useful innings.

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    Clay Buchholz To Earn Prorated $1.6MM Salary https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-west-notes-dodgers-sandoval-padres-buchholz.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-west-notes-dodgers-sandoval-padres-buchholz.html#comments Sun, 20 May 2018 01:20:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122730
  • Veteran right-hander Clay Buchholz’s minors pact with the Diamondbacks comes with a prorated $1.6MM major league salary, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic tweets. Buchholz will begin earning that sum Sunday when he makes a start against the Mets. It’ll be the 33-year-old’s first MLB appearance since April 11, 2017.
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    Injury Notes: Kendrick, Bumgarner, Mauer, Moore, Souza, Cuthbert https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-kendrick-bumgarner-mauer-moore-souza-cuthbert.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-kendrick-bumgarner-mauer-moore-souza-cuthbert.html#comments Sat, 19 May 2018 21:50:42 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122710 Things got even worse for the Nationals today; Howie Kendrick appeared to sustain a serious injury while chasing down a Max Muncy fly ball. Kendrick was carted off the field, and was seen pointing to his ankle area. Jamal Collier of MLB.com reports that he’s off to get an MRI. The Nationals are already dealing with injuries to a number of other key players, including Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Matt Wieters and Brian Goodwin, and can ill afford to lose another player from their outfield for an extended period of time. They’ll likely be anxious as they await further news on Kendrick.

    More injury news from around MLB today…

    • Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner considers his fractured left hand to be “95% or more” healed, according to a tweet from MLB.com’s Chris Haft. He’s on track to throw live batting practice on Tuesday and begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. Meanwhile, Haft says, Johnny Cueto will head to the club’s rehab facility in Arizona. The Giants will hope for the best-case scenarios as far as the timetables of these two players; their depleted rotation is a chief factor in the club’s sub-.500 record on the season.
    • Joe Mauer is headed to the Twins’ DL with concussion symptoms once again, according to LaVelle E. Neal of the Star Tribute. He reportedly did well in regards to concussion tests last night, but is apparently experiencing some sensitivity to light along with some balance issues. Mauer, who has dealt with concussion issues in years past, is walking at a 16.8% clip so far this season en route to a .404 OBP. According to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey (via MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger), the club is “not saying at this time that Joe has a concussion.”
    • The Rangers have placed lefty Matt Moore on the 10-day disabled list with what the club is calling right knee soreness. The move will make room for fellow righty Ariel Jurado, who will make the jump from Double-A to debut in the majors tonight. Jurado has a 2.57 ERA in 35 minor league innings this year, but with a 5.31 FIP that strongly disagrees with those results. He posted a 4.59 ERA at Double-A last season, with 5.45 K/9.
    • Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza will avoid the DL for the time being, says Zach Buchanan of The Athletic. A key offseason acquisition by the Dbacks, Souza has already spent the bulk of the season on the DL after suffering a pectoral strain upon diving for a ball in the outfield. Fortunately, it seems as though some minor pec soreness will not require a second DL stint for the time being.
    • The Royals have placed Cheslor Cuthbert on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain, recalling fellow infielder Ramon Torres from Triple-A Omaha in a corresponding move. Cuthbert is a career .252/.308/.383 hitter, and is performing especially poorly this season, as evidenced by his -0.5 fWAR for 2018. However, Torres seems unlikely to provide any significant upgrade; he’s hitting just .229/.280/.307 at the Triple-A level so far this season.
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    Injury Notes: Anderson, Lamb, Giants, Shoemaker https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-anderson-lamb-giants-shoemaker.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/injury-notes-anderson-lamb-giants-shoemaker.html#comments Sat, 19 May 2018 14:05:21 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122690 The A’s announced this morning that Brett Anderson has been placed on the 10-day DL with a left shoulder strain. Anderson was removed from yesterday’s game before the second inning even began. He’d had an ugly showing so far this season at the MLB level, pitching to a 7.63 ERA with just eight strikeouts across four starts. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes, it’s the 11th time in the 30-year-old lefty’s career that he’s gone on the disabled list. Anderson has only pitched more than 100 innings once in the past eight seasons; it was a 2015 campaign with the Dodgers in which he worked to a 3.69 ERA and 3.94 FIP. In a corresponding move, the A’s have recalled Ryan Dull, who was technically optioned to Triple-A Nashville yesterday but never left Toronto.

    Other injury notes from around baseball…

    • Yesterday, the Diamondbacks officially announced the activation of slugging third baseman Jake Lamb from the disabled list. After hitting the 10-day DL with a sprained right AC joint and subsequently having his return delayed by elbow tendinitis, has finally completed a rehab assignment and is ready to return. It’s a welcome sight for the Diamondbacks, who recently lost team WAR leader A.J. Pollock to the DL. They’ll hope Lamb can repeat the 30-homer power he showed last year and help propel an offense that currently ranks 27th of 30 MLB teams with a wRC+ of just 83.
    • Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports provides a pair Giants injury updates via Twitter. Joe Panik is reportedly doing well in his recovery from left thumb surgery, and could begin a rehab assignment as soon as the end of this month. Meanwhile, Mac Williamson served as a DH in Triple-A last night. None of the rehabbing Giants, however, will be called upon at the major league level for at least another week, a group that includes rookie Alen Hanson and veteran outfielder Hunter Pence.
    • There’s still no real answer to the nerve issue in Matt Shoemaker’s forearm, according to Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times. The Angels right-hander reportedly visited a specialist in St. Louis earlier this week, and the next move in his recovery isn’t quite clear at this time. The oft-injured Shoemaker landed on the DL after just one start this season; he allowed three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings while striking out four.
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    Red Sox Acquire Josh Taylor From Diamondbacks https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-trade-josh-taylor-red-sox-deven-marrero-ptbnl.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-trade-josh-taylor-red-sox-deven-marrero-ptbnl.html#comments Wed, 16 May 2018 01:02:19 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122480 The Red Sox announced Tuesday that they’ve acquired minor league left-hander Josh Taylor from the Diamondbacks as the player to be named later in the trade that sent infielder Deven Marrero to Arizona back on March 24.

    Originally signed by the Phillies as a non-drafted free agent, Taylor was traded to the D-backs alongside right-hander Chris Oliver back in the 2015 trade that sent the top international bonus slot from Arizona to Philadelphia. He’s in his first full season as a reliever after struggling as a starter in the minors and has pitched to a 2.81 ERA with a 20-to-5 K/BB ratio in 16 innings, albeit as a 25-year-old pitching against younger competition at the Class-A Advanced level. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets that Taylor is headed to Boston’s Double-A affiliate in Portland, Maine.

    Last season, Taylor worked to a 4.96 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 and a 49 percent ground-ball rate in 98 minor league innings — 97 of which came at the Double-A level. He’s not considered to be among the D-backs’ 30 best prospects by either MLB.com or Baseball America.

    The Marrero pickup, thus far, has provided the Diamondbacks with some quality glovework at multiple infield positions but netted sub-par value with the bat. In 56 plate appearances, Marrero is hitting just .196/.250/.235, with a triple representing his lone extra-base hit of the season. Of course, he’s played sparingly and can’t be sent down to sharpen his approach with regular at-bats, given the fact that he’s out of minor league options.

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    A.J. Pollock Out Four To Eight Weeks With Fractured Thumb https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/a-j-pollock-out-four-to-eight-weeks-with-fractured-thumb.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/a-j-pollock-out-four-to-eight-weeks-with-fractured-thumb.html#comments Wed, 16 May 2018 00:13:32 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122468 Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock has been diagnosed with an avulsion fracture of his left thumb, the Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday. He’s expected to miss between four and eight weeks, per manager Torey Lovullo. The injury will not require surgery, per FanRag’s Jack Magruder (Twitter link), and Pollock will wear a soft cast for the time being.

    Pollock, a free agent at season’s end, was originally diagnosed with a sprain earlier today, though further testing revealed the fracture, it seems. He sustained the injury while diving for a ball in last night’s game. This specific type of fracture, per the Mayo Clinic, occurs when “a small chunk of bone attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main part of the bone.”

    Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings can step in to handle some of the team’s work in center field, though obviously the loss of Pollock is a notable blow for a Diamondbacks club that leads the NL West by two games with a 24-17 record. It’s also a  substantial blow to Pollock, who’s been among the game’s best players early in the season and was doing a nice work in padding his free agent stock as the offseason approached. Through 160 plate appearances this season, he’s hitting .293/.349/.620 with 11 homers — just nine shy of his career-high despite the fact that we’re just a quarter of the way through the regular season. Pollock’s .620 slugging percentage leads all qualified hitters in the NL.

    The D-backs haven’t yet announced a corresponding move for the clearly inevitable DL trip, though MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert tweeted earlier that first baseman/outfielder Christian Walker has a locker set up in the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse, so it seems that he’ll be added to the roster for tonight’s game with Pollock heading to the 10-day disabled list. The 27-year-old Walker went 2-for-15 in a brief stint with Arizona earlier this season and is hitting .286/.288/.521 through 52 PAs with Arizona’s Triple-A affiliate in Reno.

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    A.J. Pollock Diagnosed With Sprained Thumb https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/a-j-pollock-diagnosed-with-sprained-thumb.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/a-j-pollock-diagnosed-with-sprained-thumb.html#comments Tue, 15 May 2018 12:56:32 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122385 Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock departed last night’s game following an ugly-looking arm injury suffered on a diving attempt at a catch. The preliminary diagnosis is a sprain of his left thumb, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.

    While that sounds promising at first glance, it’s probably worth waiting to breathe a sigh of relief. Pollock still must undergo further examination, including a trip to a hand specialist today. And as Piecoro notes, the fact that this is initially being termed a sprain indicates the major concern may be with ligaments — potentially making this a fairly serious injury that could require a significant absence.

    At this point, we just don’t know and the team likely does not either. As manager Torey Lovullo said late last night when asked about the possibility of losing the star center fielder, “I don’t even want to get there until we know what’s going on tomorrow.”

    It has already been a rough go of late for the D-Backs, who have now dropped six straight games. Despite the skid, the Snakes are still pacing the NL West. But their ability to stay there will be affected greatly by Pollock’s ultimate absence.

    To this point, Pollock has clearly been the Diamondbacks’ best player. He has played an excellent center field, run the bases well, and delivered an outstanding .293/.349/.620 output at the plate — with 11 homers and nine steals — to this point of the season. There’s no realistic hope of replacing that kind of productivity.

    The injury is certainly also concerning from Pollock’s perspective. As I wrote recently, his big output had put him on track to secure a major payday in free agency. But health has long been the major concern with the 30-year-old. While this latest injury was the result of hard play rather than any evident susceptibility, it adds to a list of other past ailments and — if it turns out to be serious — will also reduce Pollock’s ability to show he’s in top form over a full season.

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    Inside Paul Goldschmidt's Slump https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-west-notes-goldschmidt-desmond-rockies-hill.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-west-notes-goldschmidt-desmond-rockies-hill.html#comments Sun, 13 May 2018 23:58:47 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122270 While still technically an above-average run creator (105 wRC+) this season, Paul Goldschmidt is suffering through an uncharacteristically long slump, hitting just .216/.347/.388 with four homers over his first 167 plate appearances.  As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes, Goldschmidt’s soft-contact rate is much higher than his career average, as is his percentage of swinging-and-missing fastballs in the strike zone.  The latter statistic has led to Goldschmidt’s 30.5% strikeout rate, which is far above his 22.4% career mark.  The Diamondbacks first baseman didn’t share any details about his slump to reporters, except to say that he feels physically fine, so an injury doesn’t appear to be the cause of the problem.  Remarkably, the D’Backs are still tied for the NL’s best record despite not having their star slugger hitting at his usual standard, though obviously the team hopes Goldschmidt gets on track soon.

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    Jake Lamb To Begin Rehab Assignment Sunday https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/west-injury-notes-dodgers-lamb-springer-pence.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/west-injury-notes-dodgers-lamb-springer-pence.html#comments Sun, 13 May 2018 00:49:33 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=122166
  • Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb will begin a rehab assignment at the Single-A level on Sunday, per an announcement from Arizona. Lamb has missed nearly the entire season to this point, having gone on the DL on April 3 with shoulder and elbow issues. The 24-15 Diamondbacks have still raced to the NL’s best record, though, in part because fill-in third baseman Daniel Descalso has slashed a terrific .263/.357/.516 with four home runs in 115 PAs.
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    D-Backs Notes: Stadium, Hazen, Corbin https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/d-backs-notes-stadium-hazen-corbin.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/d-backs-notes-stadium-hazen-corbin.html#comments Thu, 10 May 2018 15:17:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121988 The Diamondbacks can now officially seek a new home for another new ballpark, as Rebekah Sanders of the Arizona Republic reports. A previously reported agreement is now formally in effect, leaving the D-Backs responsible for maintaining Chase Field (rather than Maricopa County) while allowing the team to jet for another facility — so long as it is in the county — as soon as the 2022 season. Generally, this set of moves promises to boost the team’s long-term financial outlook, though it remains somewhat hard to fathom that Chase Field is truly in need of replacement after opening in 1998.

    Here are a few more notes from Arizona:

    • As they continue to lead the pack in the NL West, the Diamondbacks are surely beginning to look forward to what could be a complicated trade deadline. As GM Mike Hazen tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, the club will continue to balance competing needs. On the one hand, says Hazen, the current roster “deserves our focus and attention”; on the other, he adds, “we don’t want to do anything that’s going to severely harm the long-term” interest. It’s an interesting article that looks back on some recent Arizona swaps while pondering what situation the team may face this summer.
    • The monster start to the season from Patrick Corbin opened quite a few eyes. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes took note, listing him sixth on the first power ranking of 2018-19 free agents based upon the combination of his first few outings with his youth and prior track record. The results have continued, as Corbin now carries a 2.12 ERA through 51 innings. But as Zach Buchanan of The Athletic examines (subscription link), Corbin’s most recent outings have given some cause for concern. The 28-year-old southpaw has shown a decrease in fastball velocity and reduced ability to command his slider of late, writes Buchanan. Of course, it’s a long season, and some blips are to be expected. Corbin says he still feels in good physical form, but his performance will be scrutinized closely all season long as organizations weigh him as an offseason target.
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    Shelby Miller Making Progress https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-west-notes-buehler-padres-melancon-d-backs.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-west-notes-buehler-padres-melancon-d-backs.html#comments Sun, 06 May 2018 00:04:28 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121655
  • Diamondbacks righty Kris Medlen had an ugly outing Friday in his first major league outing since 2016, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits and four walks in a loss to the Astros. The veteran lost his 25-man roster spot Saturday when the D-backs optioned him to Triple-A in favor of righty Braden Shipley, per a team announcement. Fortunately for Arizona, whose rotation will go without Robbie Ray (oblique strain) for several weeks and Taijuan Walker (Tommy John surgery) for the rest of the year, an intriguing reinforcement is making progress. Righty Shelby Miller, who’s on the mend from the TJ surgery he underwent last year, could pitch in an extended spring training game next week, manager Torey Lovullo told Richard Morin of the Arizona Republic and other reporters Saturday. Miller threw live batting practice Friday – and that went “very, very good,” per Lovullo – and is slated for a bullpen session Tuesday.
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    NL Notes: Harvey, Braves, Rendon, Hedges, Lamb, Reyes https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-notes-harvey-braves-rendon-hedges-lamb-reyes.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/nl-notes-harvey-braves-rendon-hedges-lamb-reyes.html#comments Sat, 05 May 2018 03:54:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121604 After deciding to designate Matt Harvey for assignment, the Mets are now sorting out exactly how his tenure with the organization will come to an end. Initial trade discussions seem not to be generating much traction, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), who says that the team is offering to “eat a significant amount” of the remainder of Harvey’s salary in hopes of securing something in return. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the response from rival officials has to this point been that they’d prefer simply to pursue Harvey if he passes through waivers. If that occurs, he’ll surely either be released or decline an outright assignment, at which point he’d be a free agent who could sign for a pro-rated version of the league minimum, leaving the Mets on the hook for the balance of the $5.6MM he’s owed.

    More from the National League:

    • New Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos has been discussing his team’s promising start with quite a few outlets of late as excitement has mounted. He largely credited the prior regime with “outstanding” work in accumulating and developing talent in a chat with Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Anthopoulos also says he’ll be “open-minded to do things” if the team is in position to push for the postseason at the trade deadline, though he notes there’s still quite a lot of baseball to be played before making any final assessments of where the 2018 roster may be headed. In comments to MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via Twitter), Anthopoulos did note that payroll constraints and an ongoing focus on the future would continue to weigh significantly in the team’s decisionmaking.
    • Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon acknowledged after his rehab appearance today that he has a hairline fracture in his injured toe, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweets. That explains his somewhat extended absence after fouling a ball off of his foot. The important thing for the Nats, though, is that Rendon seems to be ready to be activated as the club attempts to extend a six-game winning streak.
    • The Padres have a plan in place for assessing the balky elbow of catcher Austin Hedges, as Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports on Twitter. He’ll be given a week or ten days of rest before it’s decided whether he needs to undergo an MRI. Hedges hit the DL recently with a bout of tendinitis. It seems the hope remains that the issue will resolve itself with some down time. Hedges has struggled at the plate in 2018, hitting at a .173/.235/.293 clip to open the season.
    • Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb received an MRI and cortisone shot after reporting continued discomfort in his injured left shoulder, per MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert (Twitter links). That said, the belief is that this will not constitute a significant setback. It’s still disappointing to hear that Lamb is not yet back to health, as the club no doubt hoped he’d already be nearing a return at this point. Given his extended absence, it stands to reason that he’ll require some rehab time once he is cleared for game action. Fortunately for the Snakes, Daniel Descalso has filled in admirably.
    • Prized Cardinals righty Alex Reyes is prepared to begin a rehab assignment next week, as MLB.com’s Joe Trezza writes. As he works back from Tommy John surgery, the high-octane hurler is said to be working in the upper nineties and looking good. That’s great news for the Cards, though the team is expected to handle Reyes with care as he ramps up fully. It’s still not clear how the organization will deploy the 23-year-old, who showed ample promise in his 2016 debut, once he is ready to return. But he’s building up as a starter and figures to be a valuable addition to the MLB roster in any role when he is activated.
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    Diamondbacks To Sign Clay Buchholz https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-to-sign-clay-buchholz.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-to-sign-clay-buchholz.html#comments Sat, 05 May 2018 01:23:46 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121598 The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with righty Clay Buchholz, according to Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports (via Twitter). It’s a minors pact, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

    The 33-year-old Buchholz was just released from his minor-league deal with the Royals after exercising an opt-out clause. He’ll now head to an Arizona organization that is dealing with some injury issues in the rotation.

    D-Backs GM Mike Hazen is certainly well-acquainted with Buchholz from their mutual time with the Red Sox. That helps explain the connection here, though it remains unclear just what the Arizona organization plans to do with Buchholz, who is likely ready to join the MLB staff from a conditioning standpoint but may yet need to earn his way up.

    In his 16 minor-league innings this year, Buchholz has limited the opposition to only two earned runs on ten hits. Of course, he has also recorded just nine strikeouts against seven strikeouts and missed almost all of the 2017 season due to injury after an inconsistent showing in the 2016 campaign.

    That said, it wasn’t long ago that the Phillies were interested in adding the two-time All-Star at a $13.5MM salary in a swap with the Sox. And Buchholz, despite many ups and downs over the years, has compiled a lifetime 4.01 ERA in 1,175 career inning at the game’s highest level.

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    Diamondbacks Notes: Medlen, Pollock, Haren https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-notes-medlen-pollock-haren.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-notes-medlen-pollock-haren.html#comments Fri, 04 May 2018 18:18:45 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121567 Kris Medlen will return to a Major League mound for the first time since 2016 when he starts for the D-backs tonight, but the former Braves star explains in an excellent interview with Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription required) that he nearly quit pitching entirely and retired after a disappointing two-year run with the Royals.  Medlen hadn’t worked out at all in the 2016-17 offseason when his wife stumbled across a YouTube video from Brent Pourciau and Steven Guadagril of Top Velocity in which a follower had requested that they break down Medlen’s mechanics in the wake of his injuries. Pourciau went through a lengthy examination of how Medlen didn’t rely enough on his lower half, and the video led Medlen to head to Top Velocity for an in-person meeting, which sparked the beginning of his return to pro ball. Both Medlen and Pourciau chat with Buchanan about the struggles, both emotional and physical, that Medlen went through in battling back from his injuries. Medlen isn’t sure how long he’ll be asked to step in for the D-backs, though 32-year-old veteran expresses excitement and gratitude over merely being able to once again take the hill in a big league game.

    More on the Diamondbacks…

    • A.J. Pollock is on the cusp of free agency and enjoying perhaps the finest start he’s ever had to a big league season, but Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wonders if Arizona’s star center fielder is vaulting himself out of the team’s price range in the process. Piecoro points to recent $80MM and $108MM deals for Lorenzo Cain and Charlie Blackmon, respectively, in pointing out that a healthy Pollock will have plenty of earning capacity in free agency. He also quotes a pair of scouts on Pollock’s continual improvement at the plate and the fact that he projects to be a more than capable corner outfielder even if he has to move out of center later in a long-term free-agent deal. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd also recently profiled Pollock’s free agent stock, and he ranked ninth on the first edition of MLBTR’s monthly Free Agent Power Rankings.
    • In a separate piece, Piecoro also highlights Dan Haren’s role with the D-backs — that of team pitching strategist. Haren took the role prior to the 2017 season, and while the ever-modest former All-Star is loath to take too much credit for any of the team’s turn in fortunes, Piecoro notes that the club went from the National League’s worst rotation ERA in 2016 to second-best in 2017. They’re off to a strong start in 2018 as well, despite some early injuries. Zack Greinke, Zack Godley and catcher Jeff Mathis all speak highly to Piecoro of the data that Haren procures and presents to the staff. In addition to customized reports with advice on how to retire specific hitters, Haren discusses how he uses his experience from pitching with eight big league teams to blend the best practices for preparation and executing a game strategy in his new role. “I thought it would be cool to help – even if it’s one person who maybe struggled in their preparation in the past and it was holding them back,” Haren says of his role with the team. “I thought it would feel really good to be a part of helping someone along with their career. Even if it’s just a little bit. Little things can really turn someone’s career around. I wanted to be a part of something.”
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    D-backs To Select Kris Medlen’s Contract https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-promote-kris-medlen-rotation.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-promote-kris-medlen-rotation.html#comments Thu, 03 May 2018 17:18:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121481 The Diamondbacks announced Thursday that right-hander Kris Medlen will start for the club tomorrow against the Astros. Arizona stopped short of formally announcing that Medlen’s contract has been selected, though they’ll need to make that move after today’s game and, with it, also make a corresponding 40-man roster move. That could be accomplished simply by transferring Taijuan Walker from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL in the wake of Walker’s season-ending Tommy John surgery.

    [Related: Arizona Diamondbacks depth chart]

    In addition to Walker’s season-ending injury, Arizona recently lost southpaw Robbie Ray to the disabled list for the foreseeable future due to a strained oblique muscle. With that pair out of the picture for now, the Snakes will rely on Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin, Zack Godley and Matt Koch to complement the newly promoted Medlen in their rotation.

    Once a rising star in the Braves’ rotation, it’s been a half decade since Medlen was an effective big league starter. The 32-year-old Medlen logged a 2.75 ERA in 445 innings with Atlanta from 2010-13, missing the bulk of the 2011 season in middle of that stretch while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He looked to have bounced back with strong 2012-13 performances, but Medlen again sustained a torn UCL prior to the 2014 season and was again forced to the sidelines for more than a year.

    The Royals attempted to buy low on the talented righty following that injury, but Medlen managed just a 5.12 ERA in 82 2/3 innings over the life of a two-year deal in Kansas City. He spent the 2017 season back in the Braves organization but didn’t end up appearing at the Major League level.

    Medlen has struggled through 18 innings with the D-backs’ top affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 6.00 ERA, albeit with a more encouraging 18-to-8 K/BB ratio in that time. At this point, it’d be a stretch to expect him to ever return to the promising form he showed prior to his second ligament surgery, though it’s certainly plausible that he could yet be a serviceable source of innings at the MLB level. Given that Ray should return from his injury at some point in June, it seems likely that Medlen and Koch will soon be vying for a single spot in Arizona’s mix of starters. Shelby Miller, too, is on the mend from Tommy John surgery, however, and could eventually pair with Ray to push both Koch and Medlen out of the starting picture at the big league level.

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    Diamondbacks Activate Steven Souza Jr. https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-activate-steven-souza-jr.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-activate-steven-souza-jr.html#comments Thu, 03 May 2018 16:47:51 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121477 The D-backs announced today that they’ve activated outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from the disabled list and optioned first baseman Christian Walker to Triple-A Reno. Souza will make his Diamondbacks debut today against the Dodgers, batting fifth and playing right field.

    Arizona’s offseason acquisition of Souza came as somewhat of a surprise. After spending much of the offseason in pursuit of a reunion with J.D. Martinez, who ultimately signed with the Red Sox, the Snakes quickly shifted course and struck up a three-team deal with the Rays and Yankees that would net Souza, who figures to play a prominent role in the Arizona outfield for years to come.

    Because Souza is controlled through the 2020 season, the D-backs had to pay a fairly steep price, shipping Anthony Banda, Sam McWilliams and Colin Pache to the Rays while also sending Brandon Drury to the Yankees. Arizona also picked up minor league righty Taylor Widener from the Yankees in the three-team swap.

    While Souza won’t fully replace the production lost when Martinez signed elsewhere, the 29-year-old is coming off a plenty impressive season in his own right. Through a career-high 617 plate appearances with Tampa Bay in 2017, Souza slashed .239/.351/.459 with 30 homers, 21 doubles, a pair of triples and 16 stolen bases. He’s a considerably better baserunner and defender than Martinez as well, so he’ll contribute in a more all-around fashion than Martinez’s bat-first skill set allowed.

    [Related: Arizona Diamondbacks depth chart]

    Souza’s activation from the DL will likely push Jarrod Dyson into a reserve role. Center fielder A.J. Pollock and left fielder David Peralta don’t figure to see their playing time diminish much at all with the move, while Chris Owings could see more time in the infield now that Souza is in the fold.

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    D-backs, Maricopa County Reportedly Reach Agreement Regarding Stadium Lease https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-new-stadium-agreement-maricopa-county.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/diamondbacks-new-stadium-agreement-maricopa-county.html#comments Thu, 03 May 2018 00:10:01 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121437 The Diamondbacks and Maricopa County have reached a preliminary agreement allowing the team to immediately begin searching for construction sites on a new stadium, reports Rebekah L. Sanders of the Arizona Republic. The agreement comes under the condition that the D-backs drop a preexisting $187MM lawsuit against the county that was brought forth in early 2017 after club ownership alleged that the County had neglected to abide by contractually agreed upon maintenance and repair obligations.

    Per Sanders, the new agreement would allow the D-backs to leave Chase Field in 2022, five years before the end of the initial 30-year lease, if the proposed construction site is in Maricopa County. Leaving Arizona of their own accord would require the organization to pay $5-25MM worth of penalty fees, though the agreement allows the D-backs to leave the state free of penalty if relocation is mandated by Major League Baseball. County chairman Steve Chucri tells Sanders that the County would likely bring forth a new lawsuit against MLB in that scenario, though he also emphasizes that such a scenario is “incredibly unlikely.”

    You’ll want to read Sanders’ report in full for comprehensive details of the new arrangement, though generally speaking the preliminary deal absolves the County from its obligations to pay for repairs and allows the municipality to retain ownership of the land in downtown Phoenix. In exchange, the D-backs can spend their own resources on maintenance and seek reimbursement for a portion of their investment while simultaneously exploring new construction sites. The team would also inherit the ability to book entertainment events at Chase Field, with revenue being allocated to repairs.

    At the time the initial suit was brought forth, D-backs managing partner Ken Kendrick called the situation “extremely unfortunate” and alleged that the County had “forced” the club to take legal action with its failure to meet contractual obligations. County official Clint Hickman wholly dismissed the notion and called the Diamondbacks’ allegations “outrageous,” citing millions of dollars of offseason investment in structural reinforcement and accusing D-backs ownership of “just [wanting] a new stadium now.”

    Kendrick struck a different tone in a statement issued to the Republic, calling the agreement the “best opportunity” for the club “to remain in Arizona for the long term” — a goal he dubbed the team’s “primary focus.” Unsurprisingly, local government officials offered mixed reviews to Sanders, with some expressing trepidation over the manner in which the agreement was “fast-tracked” and others striking a more optimistic tone about keeping the D-backs in Maricopa County well beyond the end of their previous agreement, in 2027.

    Whether the agreement leads to the selection of a site and, ultimately, the construction of a new facility for the D-backs remains to be seen, though securing the rights to a new facility would be the latest boon for an organization that is increasingly poised to bolster its payroll due to additional revenue streams. The Diamondbacks are in their third year of a reported $1.5 billion television contract and have upped their spending accordingly, heading into the 2018 season with a franchise-record $131MM payroll that shattered the previous high-water mark by more than $19MM. In fact, prior to the 2018 season, the Diamondbacks had only twice had an Opening Day payroll in excess of $100MM.

    The potential advent of massive revenue boosts for the Diamondbacks will become ever important as the club determines how to proceed with face of the franchise Paul Goldschmidt, who’ll be eligible for free agency following the completion of the 2019 season.

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    Free Agent Stock Watch: A.J. Pollock https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/free-agent-stock-watch-a-j-pollock.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/free-agent-stock-watch-a-j-pollock.html#comments Wed, 02 May 2018 13:43:00 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121391 The expectation had been that the 2018-19 free agent class would feature superstars at a variety of areas: starting pitcher (Clayton Kershaw), closer (Craig Kimbrel), corner outfield slugger (Bryce Harper), shortstop (Manny Machado), third baseman (Josh Donaldson), and center fielder (Charlie Blackmon). But the Rockies hammered out a deal with Blackmon that will keep him in Colorado.

    Perhaps it was somewhat overlooked, though, that another top-shelf, up-the-middle outfield talent was (and still is) a part of this free-agent gold mine. Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock, who is over a year younger than Blackmon, is also slated to test the open market after the 2018 campaign. And his early showing this season suggests he could step right into Blackmon’s shoes as the featured center fielder.

    It’s important to emphasize that Pollock is not just some flash in the pan. He has been a MLB powerhouse before. Back in 2015, the then-27-year-old turned in a stunning campaign for the D-Backs, slashing .315/.367/.498 while driving twenty home runs, swiping 39 bags, and providing top-end glovework in center.

    That output, which followed an excellent but injury-shortened 2014 effort, was valued in the range of 7 WAR. A career year? Perhaps. But nothing stood out as particularly unsustainable; Pollock carried a healthy but hardly otherworldly .338 batting average on balls in play. Ultimately, that kind of output over a full season just isn’t possible without supreme talent.

    Pollock, really, was Blackmon before the bearded wonder came into his own as a power-speed force. Then came a terrible elbow injury that cost Pollock almost all of the 2016 season. He returned with a quality showing in 2017 — a league-average (park-adjusted) .266/.330/.471 slash with 14 home runs and twenty steals — but produced more as a high-quality regular than a superstar and missed nearly a third of the season with a groin injury.

    At the outset of the current season, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes graded Pollock the ninth-best free agent on the upcoming market. Health, he rightly emphasized, would be a major factor in Pollock’s market. Dierkes certainly did not short Pollock’s talent in suggesting he could conceivably play his way into a deal in the range of the five-year, $80MM deal signed by Lorenzo Cain. Perhaps, though, there’s greater potential earning upside even than that for a player who has already established a lofty ceiling and who is still relatively youthful.

    Thus far in 2018, after all, Pollock has had that 2015 look about him. He has already blasted ten long balls and stolen seven bags. He’s sporting an excellent .292/.356/.689 slash despite only carrying a .296 BABIP. Statcast numbers (.422 wOBA vs. .405 xwOBA) largely support his output. And the early returns from defensive metrics suggest that Pollock is still a well-above-average fielder in center — an area he shines in relation to Blackmon and perhaps even Cain, whose grades have trended more toward average in recent years.

    No matter how things turn out, Pollock’s somewhat worrying history of elbow surgeries will likely weigh on his market. And the holes in his track record won’t be closed up retrospectively. Still, if Pollock can sustain a substantially above-average offensive performance over the duration of the 2018 campaign — and, of course, remain healthy along he way — he could have a free-agent case that is in many ways as compelling as the one Blackmon decided to forego.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Rays Acquire Two Prospects From D-Backs To Complete Steven Souza Trade https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/rays-acquire-two-prospects-from-d-backs-to-complete-steven-souza-trade.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/rays-acquire-two-prospects-from-d-backs-to-complete-steven-souza-trade.html#comments Tue, 01 May 2018 20:49:19 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121323 3:49pm: The Rays and Diamondbacks have now announced the trade.

    2:51pm: The Rays have acquired righty Sam McWilliams and southpaw Colin Poche from the Diamondbacks, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. That pair of hurlers will make up the final portion of the late-February swap that brought outfielder Steven Souza to Arizona.

    The Tampa Bay organization had insisted it only relented to moving Souza because of the quality of the return. Today’s news does help to bolster that claim, as the two newcomers are not just throw-in assets.

    McWilliams, 22, is a big right-hander who was tabbed as the 13th-best prospect in the Arizona system coming into the season by Baseball America. He has opened eyes since, turning in 25 2/3 innings of 2.10 ERA ball in his first turn at the High-A level. Importantly, he has drastically increased his strikeout rate (to 11.2 K/9, nearly double his career rate) while maintaining his typically reliable control (2.1 BB/9). Arizona had initially picked him up in the trade that sent right-hander (and former Ray) Jeremy Hellickson the Phillies, though McWilliams has raised his profile a bit since that time.

    The 24-year-old Poche is closer to the Majors, though unlike McWilliams he does not carry the potential upside of working as a starter. He has enjoyed some success in the past, but nothing like what he has shown thus far this season at Double-A. In 11 shutout innings, Poche has allowed just three hits while compiling a whopping 23:2 K/BB ratio.

    It seems reasonable to think that he could be on the MLB radar in the relatively near term — he was included on Jason Martinez’s first Knocking Down the Door feature of 2018 — if he can sustain anything approaching that level of production. Baseball America rated Poche 29th among Arizona farmhands this past offseason, though like McWilliams, his early work has likely elevated his status to an extent.

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    Offseason In Review: Arizona Diamondbacks https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/offseason-in-review-arizona-diamondbacks-10.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/05/offseason-in-review-arizona-diamondbacks-10.html#comments Tue, 01 May 2018 12:57:11 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120784 This is the final entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    Last season, the Diamondbacks managed a remarkable reversal of their 2016 record by finishing 93-69, making the playoffs for the first time since 2011. With most key pieces of its Wild Card-winning core still intact, Arizona focused its energy on replacing J.D. Martinez and Fernando Rodney while piling on a horde of bullpen candidates.

    Major League Signings

    Trades & Claims

    Options Exercised

    Extensions

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    [Arizona Diamondbacks Depth Chart/Arizona Diamondbacks Payroll]

    Needs Addressed

    The Snakes made a surprising postseason run in 2017, the first season under GM Mike Hazen and skipper Torey Lovullo. While the core of the roster remained under contract for 2018 (and, in many cases, beyond), the Hazen-led front office still faced challenges.

    The most stinging loss for the Snakes headed into the offseason was outfielder J.D. Martinez, who was a monster after coming over at last year’s trade deadline. They always seemed a long shot to re-sign him, with Zack Greinke’s massive deal weighing heavily on the future payroll and the team’s 2018 tab already set to reach record heights.

    Still, the club never really shut the door on Martinez through the first three and a half months of the offseason. After all, they had a King Kong-sized hole to fill in the lineup. It’s no coincidence that Martinez finally made things official with the Red Sox just a week after the Diamondbacks gave up on him and pivoted to Steven Souza on the trade market.

    Of course, the team had a powerful right-handed bat set to return from injury. But it has been clear for a while now that Yasmany Tomas won’t meet the lofty expectations placed on him when he came over from Cuba. The club officially recognized that fact when it outrighted him to Triple-A at the start of the season. It’s unfortunate that he’s fallen so far in the eyes of the organization, which is surely disappointed that its $68.5MM investment won’t pay off.

    Tomas, then, was not seen as a real part of the plan to replace Martinez. Rather, the club first picked up free agent Jarrod Dyson at what seems to be an appealing price. He provides another piece (and a different skillset) for the corner outfield mix while also ably complementing and providing insurance for oft-injured center fielder A.J. Pollock. While Tomas still could have been viewed as the righty thump to go with Dyson’s left-handed-hitting speed and defense, the front office elected instead to chase down Souza. Though that deal cost the D-Backs an important upper-level rotation asset in Anthony Banda and a quality infielder in Brandon Drury, the organization obviously felt it was dealing from depth in those areas.

    Of course, parting with Drury also helped spur the Diamondbacks’ late move to acquire infielder Deven Marrero from the Red Sox. The depth has proven necessary following an injury to third baseman Jake Lamb, which has left Daniel Descalso seeing much of the action at the hot corner. Marrero was available at a minimal price owing to a roster crunch in Boston.

    The D-Backs also had an opening at catcher with vet Chris Iannetta hitting the open market. While a reunion was pursued, market timing led Iannetta to join the division-rival Rockies and left the Snakes to pursue Alex Avila. Though he has had his ups and downs over the years — including, especially, a frightening run of concussion problems — Avila could be a great value if he can hit anything like he did last year (.264/.387/.447, 14 home runs).

    Outside of Archie Bradley, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen was the team’s other big area of concern. But without much room to spend, they certainly weren’t a likely landing spot for marquee relievers like Wade Davis, Greg Holland or Addison Reed. Instead, they opted to add Yoshihisa Hirano, who comes over after a long run of success in Japan’s top league. While he appears to be the beneficiary of some good batted ball fortune, holding hitters to a .215 wOBA despite a .329 xwOBA, Hirano has managed to induce a solid volume of swinging strikes. Arizona also turned to the trade market to add Brad Boxberger, an experienced late-inning arm who has had his share of injury troubles in recent years. Like Souza, he came courtesy of the Rays’ rebuild. Boxberger has performed well as the closer in the early going.

    The organization didn’t stop there, though. It made a flurry of other moves to bolster the bullpen. MacFarland was added on a cheap major league deal, in addition to minor league reliever signings that reached double digits by the season’s outset. While there were no doubt some targeted arms in the group, to an extent the strategy seems to have been one of throwing possibilities against the proverbial wall to see what would stick. As of now, members of that group make up nearly half of the club’s bullpen, as MacFarland, Salas and De La Rosa have all captured middle relief jobs for the time being. Several others remain on hand in the upper minors as depth options.

    While most of the above moves were geared towards a strong push for contention this season, the Dbacks did make one important move with their long-term future in mind. The extension of Ketel Marte helped them gain cost-certainty over their second baseman while picking up a pair of options over two of his would-be free agent seasons. It’s an intriguing move with a good bit of upside. Marte proved to be something of a Statcast darling last year with his batted ball profile. He finished in the top 25% of MLB hitters in xwOBA, a statistic that measures expected offensive output based on launch speed and angle of batted balls. That made him a popular breakout pick entering the season despite a mediocre offensive output in 2017 on the whole.

    Questions Remaining

    While Arizona’s starting rotation is a strength overall, it doesn’t come without its share of question marks. It’s no sure bet that Zack Godley or Robbie Ray will sustain the surprise breakouts they each enjoyed last season. Indeed, the latter had some struggles with walks and home runs in the early going (before being felled by an oblique injury). Patrick Corbin’s off to a scorching start, but he and fellow veteran Zack Greinke both come with some injury concerns that ought not be overlooked.

    The club’s pitching depth always seemed likely to be tested at some point this season. That’s now a certainty with Ray hitting the DL after the team already lost one starter for the campaign in Taijuan Walker, who underwent Tommy John surgery after suffering a torn UCL in his pitching elbow. As such, Matt Koch has been forced to take on a full-time role in the rotation, leaving the club without much in the way of inspiring depth options. Troy Scribner, Braden Shipley and Kris Medlen are probably next in line. As things stand, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the D-Backs end up looking for a starter on the mid-season trade market.

    While Marte has a nice ceiling, the infield duo of he and Nick Ahmed did not look particularly strong entering the year and remains a question mark. Though Ahmed is off to a nice start with the bat, there’s still quite a lot for him to prove at the plate. And Marte has endured a brutal opening month with the bat. Whether or not these players can hit enough to provide a quality middle-infield unit will be a situation to monitor for the Diamondbacks throughout the season.

    Despite the overwhelming quantity of moves geared towards patching it, Arizona’s bullpen looks a bit flawed outside of Bradley and Boxberger. While much of the relief corps has actually performed pretty admirably so far, one has to wonder how long a patchwork group of relievers with mediocre reputations can (in conjunction with that late-inning duo) continue to post the best ERA of any bullpen in baseball. Then again, their entire pitching staff is likely benefiting at least marginally from the new humidor that’s been installed at Chase Field; that’ll be an interesting sub-plot throughout the season.

    Overview

    The Diamondbacks didn’t need to do much outside of addressing their bullpen. As a result, they focused their energy on plugging an important hole in the lineup, finding a backstop, and making an avalanche of reliever additions. The result so far? They’ve won their first nine series of the season, and they’ve done it mostly without Souza or Lamb.

    Arizona now has a great shot at a second consecutive playoff berth, but its roster depth will continue to be tested. The front office pulled off an impactful, high-value swap last summer to land Martinez. He won’t be available this time around, but Hazen and his compatriots may need to work similar magic again at this year’s trade deadline.

    How would you rate the Diamondbacks’ offseason work? (Poll link for app users)

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    D-Backs Place Robbie Ray On 10-Day DL With Strained Oblique https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/robbie-ray-suffers-strained-oblique.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/robbie-ray-suffers-strained-oblique.html#comments Mon, 30 Apr 2018 22:30:42 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121125 TODAY: Ray has officially been placed on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. Reliever Silvino Bracho has been called up to replace him on the active roster.

    The diagnosis is a grade two strain for Ray, as Zach Buchanan of The Athletic was among those to tweet. There’s still quite a lot of potential variability in the amount of time Ray could miss, but that portends a fairly lengthy stint on ice. Southpaw starter Tyler Skaggs, for instance, suffered a similar injury almost exactly one year ago, and did not return until early August of 2017.

    YESTERDAY: Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray departed his start against the Nationals on Sunday with a strained right oblique, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic was among those to report. Ray exited after 1 1/3 innings and 21 pitches.

    Given what we know about oblique strains, it seems like a strong bet that Ray will head to the disabled list in short order. It’s unclear how much time he’ll miss, though this injury often sidelines players for several weeks. As Zach Buchanan of The Athletic notes, Diamondbacks reliever Randall Delgado has been out since the beginning of spring training with an oblique strain.

    An extended absence for Ray would leave the D-backs without two members of their season-opening rotation, as righty Taijuan Walker recently succumbed to an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. While Ray’s injury isn’t nearly that catastrophic, it may nonetheless deprive the D-backs of one of the game’s premier strikeout artists for a while. The 26-year-old has averaged a ridiculous 14.64 strikeouts per nine across 26 1/3 innings this season, though he has somewhat offset that with an untenable walk rate (5.53 BB/9). Ray has also induced grounders at only a 32.2 percent clip, which has helped lead to a high home run-to-fly ball rate (19.2 percent) and a bloated ERA (4.88). He managed a stingy 2.89 ERA over 162 innings last year, when his walk, grounder and homer numbers were significantly better.

    Even though Ray’s run prevention hasn’t been in top form yet, the D-backs still managed to win four of his five starts prior to Sunday. After unexpectedly clinching a playoff spot last year, Arizona has raced to a 19-7 mark and a five-game lead in the NL West early in 2018. But the Diamondbacks’ starting depth, which was a question mark entering the season, is being put to the test.

    Should Ray miss time, the D-backs could turn to either Braden Shipley or Troy Scribner –  two Triple-A hurlers on their 40-man roster –  to join Zack Greinke, Zack Godley, Patrick Corbin and Matt Koch in their rotation. The club doesn’t have any other healthy depth starters on its 40-man, though veteran Kris Medlen is on hand at Triple-A. Medlen hasn’t been effective this year, however, with a 6.00 ERA/5.91 FIP in 18 innings (four starts).

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    Archie Bradley "Still Would Like To Start" https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-notes-panik-d-backs-cards-pirates.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-notes-panik-d-backs-cards-pirates.html#comments Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:36:26 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=121067
  • Although Diamondbacks right-hander Archie Bradley has been among the game’s most dominant relievers since moving to the bullpen last year, he hasn’t given up on working as a starter again someday. “I still would like to start and see what I can do,” the 25-year-old told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “But for what I’m doing right now and what this team is doing, it’s kind of the perfect spot for me. It just fits with what we’re doing.” Bradley was a high-end prospect as a starter, evidenced in part by the fact that he went seventh overall in the 2011 draft. However, he struggled at times in that role in the minors and then in the majors, where he logged a 5.18 ERA (with a much more encouraging 4.27 FIP) in 34 starts and 177 1/3 innings from 2015-16. As a reliever, on the other hand, Bradley has posted a 1.73 ERA/2.47 FIP over 88 1/3 frames.
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    Patrick Corbin Open To Discussing Extension With D-Backs https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/al-east-notes-corbin-gleyber-machado-donaldson-tulo-eovaldi.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/al-east-notes-corbin-gleyber-machado-donaldson-tulo-eovaldi.html#comments Thu, 26 Apr 2018 17:25:26 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120891 For the time being, Patrick Corbin is pitching brilliantly for the Diamondbacks, but Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes that he could have been doing so for the Yankees. It was reported that the New York organization looked into dealing for Corbin over the winter, but Nightengale suggests that the interested was more focused than was realized at the time. It’s anyone’s guess how things will play out in the future, but Nightengale notes that Corbin is the member of a family of rabid Yankees fans. It’s not hard to connect the dots, at least speculatively, but Corbin also says he’s happy in Arizona and would be amenable to discussing a new deal during the season.

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    D-backs Trade Tyler Pill to Dodgers https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/diamondbacks-trade-tyler-pill-dodgers.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/diamondbacks-trade-tyler-pill-dodgers.html#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2018 14:06:02 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120628
  • The Dodgers picked up right-hander Tyler Pill from the Diamondbacks in exchange for cash considerations in a minor swap late last week (Twitter link via J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group). Pill, 27, signed a minor league deal with the D-backs after making his big league debut with the Mets in 2017. The brother of former big league first baseman Brett Pill, Tyler tossed 22 innings for the Mets and yielded 13 earned runs (5.32 ERA) on 22 hits and 10 walks with 16 strikeouts last season. He’s posted solid numbers up through Double-A but struggled at the Triple-A level, although those shaky results came exclusively at an exceptionally hitter-friendly setting in Las Vegas (and the Pacific Coast League in general). Pill debuted with the Dodgers’ own Triple-A affiliate over the weekend and tossed three scoreless frames. He’ll add some depth to an organization that shuffles its pitching staff and the fringes of its 40-man roster perhaps more aggressively than any club in the game.
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    Jake Lamb Shut Down With Elbow Tendinitis https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-belt-lamb-rockies-hoffman-chatwood.html https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/04/nl-west-notes-belt-lamb-rockies-hoffman-chatwood.html#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:04:25 +0000 https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=120610
  • An MRI revealed that Jake Lamb has tendinitis in his right elbow, and Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo told reporters (including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic) that the third baseman will be shut down for a few days.  Lamb appeared in just four games before hitting the disabled list due to a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, and the Snakes were hopeful that he could return to action this week before this new injury cropped up.  Deven Marrero and Daniel Descalso have served as a third base platoon in Lamb’s absence.
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