Arizona Diamondbacks – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-20T20:16:34Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Carlos Asuaje]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163351 2019-06-19T23:15:11Z 2019-06-19T23:14:12Z The Diamondbacks have reached a minor league agreement with infielder Carlos Asuaje, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.

Asuaje’s now returning to a major league franchise after spending the first few months of the season in the Korea Baseball Organization. The Rangers released Asuaje last December, allowing him to sign with the KBO’s Lotte Giants, but the Korean club let the 27-year-old go on June 9. Asuaje hit .252/.356/.368 in 194 plate appearances with the Giants this season.

To this point, all of Asuaje’s major league action has come with the Padres. He debuted in San Diego in 2016 and then managed a .240/.312/.329 line (75 wRC+) with six home runs in 586 PA through last season. Asuaje picked up nearly all of his playing time at second base along the way.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks To Sign First-Rounder Blake Walston]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163341 2019-06-19T22:52:21Z 2019-06-19T22:48:46Z The Diamondbacks have reached an agreement with first-round left-hander Blake Walston, the team announced. Walston received $2.45MM, just below the $2,653,400 slot value, Jim Callis of MLB.com tweets.

The Walston agreement brings the Diamondbacks closer to finishing their heavy lifting with respect to this year’s draft. They already signed fellow top 60 picks Corbin Carroll, Brennan Malone, Drey Jamison and Ryne Nelson before reaching a deal with Walston. That group helped comprise quite a 2019 haul for the Diamondbacks, who entered this draft with a league-high $16,093,700 to spend on their selections.

Arizona received the pick it used on Walston because it failed to sign 2018 first-rounder Matt McClain a year ago. In Walston, the team’s getting a prospect whom FanGraphs, Baseball America, ESPN’s Keith Law and MLB.com each ranked in or near the top 50 players available entering the draft. Law (subscription required) noted the high school hurler from North Carolina could be difficult to sign, but the Diamondbacks now have the 17-year-old under wraps.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[D-Backs Agree To Terms With First-Rounder Corbin Carroll]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163273 2019-06-19T13:17:46Z 2019-06-19T13:17:46Z The Diamondbacks have agreed to terms with first-round draft pick Corbin Carroll, according to MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). The high school outfielder will receive the full slot value that comes with the 16th overall pick ($3,745,500).

This is the latest in a string of early draft signings for the Snakes, who had the game’s highest overall draft bonus pool due to a series of compensation picks. They’ve now reportedly inked four of their five highest selections, with only 26th overall choice Blake Walston still to go.

Carroll was the top target of the Arizona organization. He’ll forego a commitment to UCLA to begin his professional career. Entering the draft, MLB.com’s pundits graded him the 15th-best player available, right near his actual selection point. He landed 12th on the Baseball America board and ninth on the Fangraphs ranking.

There was one draft watcher who was quite a bit more bullish. ESPN.com’s Keith Law slotted Carroll way up in the number four spot on his own draft board. He posits that Carroll’s slate of exceptional tools — everything but his arm is a plus — warrant top-five consideration despite the youngster’s relatively diminutive frame. While Carroll stands at just 5’10, Law points to a variety of current big leaguers who deliver ample power from similarly modest heights.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Second-Rounder Ryne Nelson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163232 2019-06-19T03:59:08Z 2019-06-19T02:26:42Z
  • The Diamondbacks have signed second-round pick Ryne Nelson to an above-slot deal, Callis tweets. Nelson’s pick, No. 56, came with a slot value of $1,276,400, but the Diamondbacks awarded him $1.1MM. Nelson’s a former two-way player from the University of Oregon who could end up as a major league reliever, according to Callis and Mayo.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Diamondbacks To Sign First-Rounder Drey Jameson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162935 2019-06-16T17:45:03Z 2019-06-16T17:45:03Z The Diamondbacks have agreed to a deal with 34th overall pick Drey Jameson, MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports (Twitter link).  Jameson was one of two compensatory first-rounders awarded to the D’Backs after Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock rejected qualifying offers and left in free agency.  High schooler Brennan Malone was taken with the other compensation pick (33rd overall) and agreed to his own contract with Arizona earlier this week.

    Jameson, a right-hander out of Ball State, inked a deal with a $1.4MM bonus.  This is significantly below the $2,148,100 assigned slot price for the 34th overall pick, though Callis notes that “issues had to be ironed out after [Jameson’s] physical.”  These savings will help the Diamondbacks navigate their enormous draft class, as while Arizona’s $16,093,700 bonus pool was the largest of any team, the Snakes also had five extra picks beyond their allotted ten choices in the draft’s first 10 rounds.

    Jameson is relatively undersized at 6’0″ and 165 pounds, and he also has what Fangraphs’ scouting report describes as “high-maintenance delivery” that “may make it hard for him to start.”  Some scouts believe Jameson could ultimately end up in the bullpen, though his overall stuff certainly merits a look as a starter.  MLB.com and Baseball America rank Jameson 49th in the draft class and Fangraphs has him 50th, all citing his plus fastball that can hit 97-98mph and regularly sits in the 93-96mph range.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Adam Jones Opens Up About Invoking 10-And-5 Rights]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162804 2019-06-15T17:07:57Z 2019-06-15T17:07:57Z To the casual baseball fan, 10-and-5 Rights are little more than an annoyance that get in the way of otherwise stimulating trade content in July, but for players, this rarely-achieved benchmark represents a kind of hallowed ground. Ten years of MLB service time and five with the same organization provide players a full no-trade clause, a distinction that Adam Jones celebrated in Baltimore with a party thrown for him by his wife, writes The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli. After interviewing Jones about the process that brought him to Arizona, Ghiroli walks us through Jones’ mindset as he maneuvered a uniquely tumultuous calendar year for the Orioles’ long-time star.

    Jones invoked his veto power to block a trade to Philadelphia last season, choosing stability and comfort in playing out his final contact in Baltimore where he played 11 seasons and accrued 31.6 rWAR. When a player like Jones rejects the opportunity to join a contender, many are quick to denounce the move as meddlesome, obstinance, or a signal of waning competitive drive. But players around the league supported Jones with texts of both congratulations and thanks. At season’s end, of course, Mike Elias took over the show in Baltimore and Jones heard nothing but crickets from Baltimore’s front office and ownership.

    Jones’ saga is typical of the struggle facing veteran players these days (and Ghiroli’s piece is well worth a read). After being in-part vilified for invoking his well-earned right to stay in Baltimore, he received no interest as a free agent. Yet not even half a season later (now that he no longer controls his destiny), Jones could once again be in high-demand. This after receiving no interest as a free agent until a Steven Souza Jr. injury opened up playing time in right field for the Diamondbacks. His humbling offseason led to a resurgent season thus far for Jones, who brings a .279/.326/.488 line into play against the Nationals today.

    At 33-years-old, Jones has the reputation of a player in decline largely because of a too-long stay in centerfield, but offensively he has remained much the same player he was in his prime. For his career, Jones carries a .278/.318/.458 line with 278 career home runs. He is not a superstar, but perhaps the poster boy for baseball’s undervalued middle class. Come the postseason, non-elites like Cody Ross, David Freese and Steve Pearce have often made the difference for championship clubs, and yet front offices around the league overlooked players like Jones and Hunter Pence – veteran clubhouse leaders whose on-field contributions in 2019 have so far outpaced the projections of their decline.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[MRI Confirms Shoulder Inflammation For Jon Duplantier]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162786 2019-06-15T05:29:03Z 2019-06-15T05:29:03Z
  • An MRI on Diamondbacks righty Jon Duplantier’s shoulder confirmed he’s dealing with inflammation, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets. Like Mize, it seems Duplantier has avoided a catastrophic injury. The D-backs placed the 24-year-old on the IL on Wednesday, cutting off an encouraging start to his career. Duplantier has pitched to a 4.32 ERA/3.83 FIP with 8.64 K/9 and 3.24 BB/9 in 25 innings (eight appearances, three starts).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Alex Avila Suffers Left Calf Strain]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162625 2019-06-14T04:17:27Z 2019-06-14T04:15:12Z Diamondbacks catcher Alex Avila exited the team’s game Thursday with a left calf strain, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports. Avila will go for an MRI, but he told Buchanan, “It will cost me some time.”

    The 32-year-old Avila already missed more than a month earlier this season because of a strained left quad. When healthy, though, the soon-to-be free agent has enjoyed a productive season for the playoff-contending Diamondbacks. Avila, who hit his fifth home run of the year Thursday, has slashed .220/.410/.508 (135 wRC+) with a sky-high 23.1 percent walk rate through 78 plate appearances. Almost all of the lefty-swinging Avila’s trips to the plate have come against right-handed pitchers, as he has struggled versus southpaws throughout his career.

    Although it’s a small sample of work, Avila has earned solid defensive marks and continued to throw out base stealers at a high clip (3 of 5) this season. The all-around package is one the Diamondbacks will miss if Avila has to return to the IL.

    Primary catcher Carson Kelly – acquired in last winter’s Paul Goldschmidt trade with the Cardinals – has been a bright spot for the D-backs, but right-handed pitchers have manhandled him. He’ll continue to get the majority of reps, though, with either Caleb Joseph or John Ryan Murphy likely to come up from Triple-A Reno to grab Avila’s roster spot. Joseph is already on Arizona’s 40-man roster, while the team outrighted Murphy off it June 1.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mike Hazen On D-Backs’ Deadline Approach]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162472 2019-06-13T12:00:12Z 2019-06-13T12:00:12Z Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen chatted with Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription link) about his organization’s approach to the coming summer trade period. The entire chat is well worth a full read, but we’ll cover some highlights here.

    Hazen says he’s waiting to see how his team performs over the next several weeks before settling on an approach. Some “things need to get ironed out for us to see the team the way it needs to be seen as a true playoff contender,” he says. The club “need[s] to see a little more consistency,” he adds, though it’s unclear whether he’s looking for anything in particular beyond the bottom-line results in the win/loss columns.

    Lest there be any confusion, Hazen went on to make clear: “The amount of the resources that we contribute [to improving the 2019 roster] are going to be more of a reflection of where we’re at playing-wise at the time.”

    That’s a different tone than we heard recently from Jon Daniels, whose Rangers are in a generally similar situation to the D-Backs. Both clubs are chasing powerhouse division leaders with more realistic, but hardly clearcut, Wild Card prospects. Daniels indicated that his deadline approach would not waver too substantially based upon the results over the next several weeks, referring instead to the team’s broader strategic plans.

    Those teams share another similarity: a glaring need for starting pitching. The Arizona club is without two of its highest-upside arms (Taijuan Walker and Luke Weaver) and just lost another for an unknown duration in Jon Duplantier. If the D-Backs pursue additions, there’s little question where they’d look first. “The pitching is probably the area that would be more of a focus,” says Hazen. “The losses to the rotation have been significant and probably would need to be addressed.”

    The Arizona org is already “canvassing, at least watching the market” for hurlers, says Hazen, though there’s “not a lot of activity” just yet. One significant rotation piece did recently go off the board, of course; Hazen allowed that it’s “probably fair” to say Dallas Keuchel was just too expensive. Otherwise, the club is hoping the Jake Lamb and Wilmer Flores will provide an offensive boost, making for “fairly low” interest in offensive additions.

    The D-Backs, not unlike the Rangers, could seek to buy some pitching now that could also help the team in the future. That could take the form of higher-grade, younger starters or more established, more expensive hurlers. The Arizona org already looked into Mike Leake, who’d fit into the latter camp, though it’s unclear just how far down the line they went on that concept. Financial limitations will create some obvious constraints. There aren’t many players under contract next year for the Snakes, but the team already has a hefty salary starting point owing to its massive obligations to Zack Greinke ($35MM) and Yasmany Tomas ($17MM).

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ketel Marte Elevates, Celebrates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162415 2019-06-14T18:55:33Z 2019-06-13T01:59:13Z Ketel Marte joined the Diamondbacks in November 2016 as part of a blockbuster trade with the Mariners. At the time, Marte wasn’t regarded as the biggest piece of the deal – one that also featured Jean Segura, Taijuan Walker and a pre-breakout Mitch Haniger – but he has evolved into an indispensable piece for the Diamondbacks.

    Baseball America considered Marte one of the majors’ 50 best prospects when the Mariners promoted him to the majors in 2015. The switch-hitting middle infielder lived up to the billing initially, as he slashed .283/.351/.402 (112 wRC+) with 1.8 fWAR during a 57-game, 247-plate appearance debut. Marte sharply declined in Year 2, though, and the Mariners deemed him expendable after he accounted for minus-0.4 fWAR in 466 trips to the plate that season.

    On the heels of his trade to Arizona, the D-backs elected to slow cook Marte. They kept him at the Triple-A level the first few months of the 2017 campaign, during which he raked, before calling him up at the end of June. Marte didn’t log world-beating production over his two months in Arizona that year, but he impressed the organization enough for it to award him a five-year, $24MM guarantee heading into 2018. The extension appeared to be a shrewd choice on the D-backs’ part last year, when Marte hit .260/.332/.437 (104 wRC+) with 2.5 fWAR in 580 PA, and now it looks downright brilliant.

    With 2.4 fWAR in 294 plate trips, Marte’s already on the verge of surpassing his career-high total in mid-June. His value has largely come from a massive uptick in power. The 25-year-old entered the season with 22 major league home runs, including 14 in 2018, but has already added 17 to his ledger thus far. And Marte’s isolated power number (.258) dwarfs the below-average .126 he posted from 2015-18.

    Like many other hitters, Marte’s profiting from more of a fly ball-oriented approach. His flies are up almost 9 percent over his career mark, his grounders are down nearly 8 percent, and he’s pulling more pitches than ever. Since his last year in Seattle, when Marte hit a mere one homer and managed a similarly weak .064 ISO, his exit velocity on fly balls and line drives has risen almost 7 mph.

    The changes Marte has made since he switched organizations have helped lead to a meaty .284/.332/.542 line (122 wRC+) this season. Better still, his increased output looks relatively sustainable. Marte’s not a product of his ballpark, having hit better outside Chase Field, and has recorded above-average production from both sides of the plate. His walk rate’s a below-average 6.4 percent, down from 9.3 last season, though he has never been a BB king (sorry). While Marte has swung more – including outside the strike zone – and made less contact than he did in 2018, his still-low 16.1 percent strikeout rate indicates he’s not totally selling out for gains in the power department.

    In further good news, Marte’s .288 batting average on balls in play isn’t on the lucky side – particularly for a fast runner who hits the ball with authority. His exit velocity (90.9 mph), expected batting average (.287), expected slugging percentage (.516) and expected weighted on-base average (.361, compared to a .365 real wOBA) all rank in the league’s 77th percentile or higher, according to Statcast. And Marte hasn’t been vulnerable versus any offering, having registered an xwOBA between .342 and .401 against fastballs, offspeed pitches and breaking balls.

    Adding everything up, it appears the Diamondbacks have a solid offensive presence in Marte. Not only that, but he has morphed into a multi-positional defensive building block. After saving seven runs as a full-time second baseman last year, Marte has combined for another seven this season – including six as a center fielder. The all-around package is an enviable one for Arizona, which looks as if it will continue to benefit from its choice to lock up Marte at set prices for the foreseeable future.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[D-Backs’ Jon Duplantier Placed On IL, Headed For MRI]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162377 2019-06-13T00:19:37Z 2019-06-13T00:19:37Z The Diamondbacks announced Wednesday that they’ve placed righty Jon Duplantier on the 10-day injured list due to shoulder inflammation. Manager Torey Lovullo told reporters prior to tonight’s game that Duplantier will undergo an MRI tomorrow to determine the severity of the injury (Twitter link via Zach Buchanan of The Athletic).

    Duplantier, 24, entered the season considered by many to be among the game’s top 100 prospects. He’s given the D-backs 25 respectable innings thus far, pitching to a 4.32 ERA with a 24-to-9 K/BB ratio. It’s an ill-timed trip to the IL for both Duplantier and the organization. He’d been in line for what looked to be an extended audition in the bullpen with both Taijuan Walker and Luke Weaver on the injured list with significant injuries.

    Those injuries to Walker and Weaver, plus the struggles of Zack Godley, had prompted the Diamondbacks to turn to Duplantier and fellow rookie Taylor Clarke to help round out the starting five behind Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Merrill Kelly. With Duplantier sidelined, the Diamondbacks could again turn to Godley, as there’s not much help looming in Triple-A. Both Taylor Widener and Braden Shipley have ERAs north of 9.00, while other starters such as Anthony Vasquez and Matt Koch have had struggles of their own.

    D-backs general manager Mike Hazen chatted with Buchanan for a Q&A (subscription required) that was published earlier today, wherein he stated for the second time in as may weeks that he’s been exploring the market for rotation depth. “Ever since we lost Taijuan Walker and Luke Weaver, we’ve been canvassing, at least watching the market,” said Hazen. One can presume that any type of notable absence for Duplantier will only create more urgency on that front.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks, Brennan Malone Agree To Terms]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162189 2019-06-11T20:46:09Z 2019-06-11T20:46:09Z The Diamondbacks agreed to terms with No. 33 overall pick Brennan Malone, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter). He’ll receive a full-slot bonus of $2,202,200.

    Although he was selected 33rd overall, Malone was the third pick in a massive D-backs draft class that was buoyed by compensatory picks for the losses of Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock as well as their inability to sign their top 2018 pick, No. 25 overall selection Matt McLain. Malone is the first of the team’s high-profile picks to agree to terms.

    A high school right-hander out of Florida, Malone had been committed to the University of North Carolina but will instead begin his professional career. He ranked 18th on Baseball America’s Top 500 list heading into the draft while also placing 20th at MLB.com, 21st at ESPN and 23rd at Fangraphs. Malone generally receives praise for a fastball that sits 93 to 96 mph but has reached 99 mph when he needs to, as well as a series of potentially average-or-better breaking pitches that is headlined by his slider. At 6’3″ and 203 pounds, he’s the type of athlete on which clubs can dream as they look down the line. Baseball America wrote that Malone “might have the best combination of current stuff and future projection of any prep pitcher in the 2019 draft class.”

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mike Leake Trade Talks "Never Got Serious"]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161993 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z
  • The Mariners and Diamondbacks discussed a potential trade earlier this week that would’ve sent Mike Leake to Arizona, though in the words of FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link), these negotiations “never got serious.”  As we heard on Thursday, Leake was never contacted about the trade, which would’ve been a necessary step since Leake has a no-trade clause in his contract.  Given that the M’s have shown a willingness to eat money in trades of their veteran players, Leake could have been (and perhaps even still is) a particularly attractive option to a D’Backs team that doesn’t have a ton of payroll room.  In Leake’s case, Seattle would also be sharing the financial burden with the Cardinals.  As per the terms of the trade that brought Leake to the Mariners from the Cardinals, St. Louis was responsible for $9MM of the $36MM owed to Leake over the 2019-20 seasons.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Notes: Rotation, Lamb]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161768 2019-06-08T06:40:45Z 2019-06-08T06:40:45Z At 32-32 and just 2 1/2 games out of wild-card position in the National League, the Diamondbacks are approaching the July 31 trade deadline with a buyers’ mindset, according to general manager Mike Hazen (via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic).

    Hazen suggested Arizona’s main priority is upgrading its starting staff, saying, “We’re looking at any way we can to continue to improve and help both our depth and our rotation in general.”

    Injuries to Luke Weaver and Taijuan Walker, not to mention Zack Godley’s demotion to the bullpen, have left Arizona’s rotation without any clear answers after Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Merrill Kelly. The club’s on the lookout for help as a result, and it tried to swing a deal with the Mariners for right-hander Mike Leake earlier this week. Now, though, those talks “appear to have gone dormant,” Piecoro writes.

    Assuming a trade for Leake or another starter doesn’t come together imminently, the D-backs seem inclined to continue with Jon Duplantier and Taylor Clarke at the back of their rotation. Duplantier, MLB.com’s 62nd-ranked prospect, has turned in 10 innings of nine-hit, five-earned run ball and notched 11 strikeouts against three walks in two starts since the Diamondbacks recalled him from Triple-A Reno. Clarke hasn’t been that successful as a starter this year, having compiled a 5.12 ERA/4.55 FIP with 6.05 K/9 against 3.26 BB/9 in 19 1/3 frames.

    On the position player side, Arizona has been without corner infielder Jake Lamb for almost the entire season. The 28-year-old went to the injured list with a quad strain April 5, but he’ll begin a rehab assignment Saturday at the Triple-A level, Piecoro reports. A third baseman from 2014-17, Lamb entered this season as the D-backs’ primary first baseman in the wake of Paul Goldschmidt’s exit via trade. The lefty-swinging Lamb’s injury opened the door for the righty-hitting Christian Walker, who excelled in April but has come back to Earth since. Those two seem likely to form a platoon upon Lamb’s return.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[D-Backs, Mariners Nearly Struck Trade Involving Mike Leake]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161502 2019-06-06T16:51:29Z 2019-06-06T16:50:12Z Details remain sparse, but it seems the Diamondbacks and Mariners nearly lined up on a trade involving veteran Seattle right-hander Mike Leake. According to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, the teams “worked to finalize” the swap as late as Tuesday evening.

    Clearly, talks fell through since Leake ended up on the bump. He says that he never caught wind of the possible deal, which certainly is notable given that he possesses full no-trade protection. Leake added that he’s willing to consider approving a deal in the right circumstances.

    It seems quite likely Leake will at some point have an opportunity to consider approving a move. With the Mariners trying to move more veteran assets after already shipping out Jay Bruce, it’s not surprising to hear that the club went down the line on a swap involving the expensive pitcher.

    Leake, 31, has managed to deliver 81 2/3 innings of 4.30 ERA ball this year despite some worrying peripherals. He has averaged 6.2 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 but has already surrendered 18 home runs. That said, Leake’s start last night was awfully impressive. He worked a 119-pitch complete game while allowing just one earned run.

    While the Diamondbacks are obviously interested in adding Leake or another veteran starter to bolster their staff, it’s hard to imagine they’d take on anything close to his remaining contract. Leake is earning $16MM this year, $15MM in 2020, and a $5MM buyout for a 2021 mutual option. The Cardinals are on the hook for $5MM this year and $4MM next, but it’s still a hefty commitment. It’s not clear whether the Arizona organization remains a potential landing spot for Leake.

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