Arizona Diamondbacks – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-10-20T01:21:22Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Junior Guerra Changes Representation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=253471 2020-10-08T03:23:48Z 2020-10-08T03:23:48Z Diamondbacks reliever Junior Guerra is changing representation, per Robert Murray (Twitter link). He’ll now be represented by MVP Sports Group.

Guerra, 35, signed a one-year contract with Arizona last offseason worth a guaranteed $2.65MM. That deal comes with a $3.5MM club option for 2021. It’ll be an interesting decision for GM Mike Hazen and the rest of the D-Backs front office. The veteran righty worked to a strong 3.04 ERA in 23.2 innings this season, but that was driven by an unsustainably low opponents’ BABIP (.250) and HR/FB rate (7.1%). Guerra’s 21:15 strikeout-to-walk ratio hints at potential regression. If Arizona decides to exercise the option, they’ll control him through 2022 via arbitration.

The change has been updated in our Agency Database.  If you see any notable errors or omissions within the database, please let us know via e-mail: mlbtrdatabase@gmail.com.

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TC Zencka <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Will Retain Coaching Staff For 2021]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=252710 2020-10-06T01:25:23Z 2020-10-06T01:22:49Z The Arizona Diamondbacks are bringing back their coaching staff intact for the 2021 season, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.

After remaining surprisingly competitive throughout the 2019 season, the Diamondbacks entered 2020 as a dark horse contender in the National League. The season went about as poorly as possible for Arizona, who finished 25-35, last place in the NL West. They ended with the second-worst record in the National League, better only than the 19-41 Pirates. Still, manager Torey Lovullo and those in the organization are not letting themselves be swayed by the bizarre circumstances of a 60-game season. It would not be uncommon, of course, for a team in their situation to make some changes on the coaching staff, even if ownership were intent on retaining the manager. Credit the Diamondbacks for their show of faith in this group. Arizona’s coaching staff will now get at least another season to prove the anomalous nature of their 60-game stretch in 2020.

The starting pitching presented particularly poorly over the first half as Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, and Luke Weaver each got off to poor starts. Their struggles were untenable over a full campaign, and positive regression was sure to come had it been a normal season. Of course, how much of a return-to-form to expect is difficult to gauge. Bumgarner, for example, entered the 2020 campaign without ever yielding an ERA or FIP over 3.99. The 31-year-old free agent prize nevertheless posted a 8.53 ERA over his first 7 starts while opposing hitters slashed .319/.392/.689.

A pair of spotless 5-inning outings to finish the year somewhat salvaged his campaign, though Bumgarner still finished with a highly uncharacteristic 6.48 ERA/7.18 FIP. Though his final two outings didn’t accomplish much in terms of lessening the eyesore of his 2020 season, they did lend some credence to the idea that significant positive regression was in the offing has the season continued to its usual length.

Regarding the true talent level for this group, Piecoro provides a quote from General Manager Mike Hazen, who said, “My mindset going (into the offseason) is I feel like we have a good baseball team. I feel like we have a good baseball team that did not — and as a group, for whatever reason — we didn’t come out on the end of making the playoffs. That still doesn’t take away from what I feel like is the talent base of the roster and we need to make sure we maintain some focus on that and not overreact in the other direction.”

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Outright Joe Mantiply]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=250065 2020-10-01T23:17:58Z 2020-10-01T23:17:26Z OCT. 1: The D-backs announced that they have outrighted Mantiply to Triple-A Reno.

SEPT. 28: The Diamondbacks announced that they have designated left-hander Joe Mantiply for assignment. They reinstated infielder Domingo Leyba from the restricted list in a corresponding move.

Mantiply, a former Tiger and Yankee whom the Diamondbacks signed to a minor league contract last winter, threw 2 1/3 innings of four-run ball for the D-backs in 2020. The 29-year-old has tossed just eight major league innings and surrendered 12 earned runs on 13 hits with more walks (eight) than strikeouts (six) thus far.

Leyba, meanwhile, is back with the Snakes after receiving an 80-game suspension for a positive performance-enhancing drug test last March. The 25-year-old Leyba made his D-backs debut a season ago with 30 plate appearances and seven hits. FanGraphs ranked Leyba as the D-backs’ 26th-best prospect last November.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall On Payroll, Future Plans, 2020 Disappointment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=249101 2020-09-27T03:54:01Z 2020-09-27T03:54:01Z On the strength of three consecutive winning seasons and an aggressive offseason, the Diamondbacks were a trendy playoff pick and even a dark-horse NL pennant contender last spring, but things didn’t at all go to plan.  The D’Backs have a 24-35 record, and tonight’s loss to the Rockies ensured that Arizona will finish last in the NL West for the first time since 2014.

It was “a disappointing season, obviously, for everybody” in the organization, team president and CEO Derrick Hall told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan and other reporters.  How the D’Backs will regroup for 2021 is still up in the air, and it is quite possible “the uncertainty of this upcoming season” means that the club might just decide to run things back as best as possible next year.

I would never say never, but I have had no indication that anyone wants to make changes as a result of this year,” Hall said.  “I also think it’s so difficult to judge the performance of either leadership or the majority of the players in such a short and strange season.  It may not have worked out well for us, and I think there’s obviously nearly half the teams that could say the same thing and be disappointed, but it’s too short a season in a strange season to make those judgment calls.  I’m excited to turn the page, start over and see how we do with guys that we have a lot of confidence in down there.

However, some changes will be afoot for the D’Backs, as Hall called it “far-fetched” that the club will have the same payroll it was prepared to spend coming into a normal season.  The Diamondbacks were projected to have roughly a $124MM payroll going into Opening Day back in March, and they already have over $51MM committed to next year’s payroll.  Yasmany Tomas’ salary will finally come off the books, though those savings will mostly be eaten up by the second-year raise built into Madison Bumgarner’s contract.

The Diamondbacks have never had more than a $132MM payroll since Ken Kendrick’s ownership group bought the team in 2004, and though the team has spent up to and close to that amount over the last three seasons, Hall said the loss of revenues from this season and the unanswered questions about next year’s revenues will limit spending to some extent.  This doesn’t necessarily auger a drastic payroll cut or even anything beyond a minor cut, and Hall said Kendrick and company could potentially sign off on more player spending if fans are allowed at Chase Field.

It’s hard to pinpoint where our payroll will be at this point just because it’s going to be fluid….Not just us, but every other team as well,  we’re having to plan for different scenarios of revenue, different scenarios of attendance,” Hall said.  “Smaller minimal crowds, no crowds, no restrictions and what that looks like.  It’s going to take some time before we know exactly what that direction will be and what the payroll will look like.”

Hall also noted that GM Mike Hazen wasn’t under any mandate to cut payroll at the trade deadline.  The deals of Starling Marte, Robbie Ray, and Archie Bradley shaved some significant dollars off of Arizona’s books for both this season and (in the cases of Marte and Bradley) in 2021, and it’s probably safe to assume that Hazen was taking payroll into consideration just as a matter of standard operating procedure, even if he received no direct instruction from upper management.

In the broader financial picture, Hall said the team’s explorations into a potential new ballpark have been “completely put off to the side” in the wake of the pandemic, as “in this economy, it doesn’t make sense to even kick the tires or talk to anybody.”  The construction of the Diamondbacks’ new player academy in the Dominican Republic is also “on pause” for the time being.

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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Athletics Sign Jake Lamb]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=244125 2020-09-14T18:03:47Z 2020-09-14T18:00:33Z Sept. 14: The Athletics announced that they’ve signed Lamb to a Major League contract after he’d become a free agent (i.e. cleared release waivers). Lefty A.J. Puk, who is slated to undergo shoulder surgery, was moved to the 45-day injured list to open a roster spot. Oakland also placed Frankie Montas on the paternity list and added righty James Kaprielian as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader.

Sept. 13: The A’s are set to sign corner infielder Jake Lamb, as first reported last night by Shayna Rubin of the San Jose Mercury News (Twitter link). The Diamondbacks designated Lamb for assignment on Thursday.

Jake Lamb | Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The left-handed hitter isn’t officially eligible to sign until Monday, Rubin adds; presumably, he’s still on release waivers, although it’s a lock he’ll clear them since any team that claims him would absorb what remains of Lamb’s prorated $5.515MM contract. By waiting until he clears waivers, the A’s will leave the Arizona organization on the hook for all but the prorated portion of the league minimum salary. As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out (on Twitter), Lamb’s deal should be finalized before Tuesday’s deadline for players to be eligible for a new team’s playoff roster.

Lamb came up as a third baseman, but he saw an increasing amount of time at first base in his final couple seasons in the desert. The A’s have Matt Olson locked in at first, so Lamb’s path to playing time in Oakland is surely back at the hot corner. The A’s just found out yesterday that star third baseman Matt Chapman was lost for the season. With Chapman out, Rule V pick Vimael Machin and veteran utilityman Chad Pinder have taken most of the third base work over the past week. Neither Machin nor Pinder has hit well this season, though, so the A’s are adding another bat to the mix. Additionally, Pinder also seems ticketed for the injured list after getting scratched from yesterday’s lineup with a hamstring strain.

Of course, that Lamb was designated for assignment this week speaks to his own recent struggles. While he once looked like a building block for the Arizona organization, the 29-year-old has never returned to form after a 2018 shoulder injury that eventually required surgery. Over the past three seasons, Lamb has combined for a paltry .199/.307/.330 line (73 wRC+) in 514 plate appearances. He’s continued to draw his fair share of walks, but the power he showed from 2016-17, when he combined for 59 home runs, has evaporated. Lamb has just 12 long balls over the past three seasons. He was off to the worst start of his career before the Diamondbacks moved on, hitting .116/.240/.140 in 50 plate appearances.

Lamb will be a free agent at season’s end, so he’s a short-term stopgap for the A’s. Oakland has a 40-man roster spot available already, and further space can be cleared by placing Chapman on the 45-day injured list.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Caleb Smith To Return Friday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=243384 2020-09-10T23:19:35Z 2020-09-10T23:19:35Z After a nearly two-month layoff, Diamondbacks left-hander Caleb Smith will return to the mound Friday with a start against the Mariners, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reports. It will be Smith’s debut with the D-backs.

Smith was part of the return that Arizona received from the Marlins for outfielder Starling Marte at the Aug. 31 trade deadline, but the hurler was on the shelf at the time because of COVID-19 issues. As a result of those problems, Smith has only pitched once this season, back on July 25.

The 29-year-old Smith broke into the league in earnest with 77 1/3 innings of 4.19 ERA/3.96 FIP ball in 2018. He then piled up 153 1/3 frames and 28 starts a year ago, but after a promising first half, his numbers fell apart as the season progressed. Smith wound up with a 4.52 ERA/5.11 FIP with 3.52 BB/9 and a paltry 26.1 percent groundball rate, but he did fan 9.86 batters per nine – in line with the overall 9.88 K/9 he has posted in the majors.

Now, with the Diamondbacks well out of contention, Smith will get a chance to end the season on a positive note and perhaps lock down a starting spot for 2021. Arizona could certainly use another shoo-in for its rotation going forward, as the current unit ranks just 21st in the majors in ERA and 26th in FIP. Zac Gallen (another former Marlin) has been one of the NL’s best starters, but Madison Bumgarner, Luke Weaver and others have had immense difficulty, and Merrill Kelly isn’t a sure bet to return to the team next year after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery this week.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Designate Jake Lamb]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=243332 2020-09-10T20:36:34Z 2020-09-10T20:25:21Z The Diamondbacks have designated infielder Jake Lamb for assignment and selected infielder/outfielder Pavin Smith’s contract, per a team announcement.

Arizona has been Lamb’s only organization since he went in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, but it now looks as if his run with the club will end. Primarily a third baseman, Lamb looked like a legitimate building block for the Diamondbacks from 2016-17. He combined for above-average offense then and totaled 4.9 fWAR, adding 30 home runs in 2017 and earning his lone All-Star nod. However, thanks in part to shoulder problems, Lamb’s career took a negative turn the next season and hasn’t recovered since.

In 514 plate appearances going back to 2018, the 29-year-old Lamb has batted .199/.307/.330 with 12 home runs. He was amid a horrid season this year (.116/.240/.210 without a homer in 50 PA) before the Diamondbacks designated him. He was due to reach free agency in the offseason anyway, so the D-backs decided to cut the cord a few weeks early.

Smith, the No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft, signed a $5,016,300 bonus with the Diamondbacks on the heels of his selection. Despite his draft pedigree and the money he initially received, the former Virginia Cavalier is not regarded as a premium prospect anymore (Baseball America ranks him 18th in the D-backs’ system), though Smith did bat an impressive .291/.370/.466 in his first 506 Double-A plate appearances last year.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Place Ketel Marte On 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=243101 2020-09-09T22:27:41Z 2020-09-09T22:27:41Z The Diamondbacks have placed second baseman Ketel Marte on the 10-day injured list with wrist inflammation, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Josh VanMeter and right-hander Joel Payamps, and optioned lefty Joe Mantiply.

The Diamondbacks are arguably the majors’ most disappointing team at an NL-worst 15-28, and with their playoff hopes all but dead, it’s possible we have seen the last of Marte in 2020. His presence was among the reasons Arizona was a popular pick as a contender entering this year. After all, just a season ago, Marte posted an MVP-level 7.1 fWAR with a .329/.389/.592 line and 32 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 628 plate appearances.

On the heels of last season’s tremendous performance, there wasn’t much reason to believe Marte would fall off dramatically this year. But he, like his team, has. Thanks in part to a significant decrease in walk percentage (8.4 to 2.9) and a massive drop in power (.264 ISO versus .117), he has hit a relatively underwhelming .290/.342/.407 with two homers and a single steal over 173 PA. Marte has also endured a roughly 6 percent decrease in hard-hit rate, per FanGraphs, and has seen his expected weighted on-base average fall from .379 to .327.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Merrill Kelly To Undergo Thoracic Outlet Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=242904 2020-09-09T03:51:55Z 2020-09-09T03:51:55Z Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly will undergo thoracic outlet syndrome surgery on Wednesday, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.

Kelly was already done for the season as a result of a procedure on a blood clot in his shoulder, though this latest surgery could perhaps put at least some of his 2021 campaign in danger. However, the Diamondbacks are optimistic Kelly will return to spring training at full health, according to general manager Mike Hazen. In the meantime, they’ll have to decide on a $4.25MM club option or a $500K buyout for Kelly for next season. Hazen said he doesn’t expect Kelly’s TOS procedure to “have a major impact on that decision right now,” though.

Before his health problems came to the fore, Kelly looked like a valuable summer trade chip for the Diamondbacks, as Steve Adams of MLBTR wrote leading up to the Aug. 31 trade deadline. A deal obviously didn’t materialize, as Kelly hasn’t taken the mound since Aug. 19. The 31-year-old ended the season with a 2.59 ERA/3.95 FIP and 8.33 K/9 against 1.44 BB/9 over five starts and 31 1/3 innings.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Activate Madison Bumgarner From 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=240925 2020-09-06T00:35:59Z 2020-09-06T00:30:34Z SEPTEMBER 5: Bumgarner has been activated and infielder Andy Young was optioned to the team’s alternate training site, the Diamondbacks announced.

SEPTEMBER 2: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo announced that left-hander Madison Bumgarner will return from the injured list Saturday, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com was among those to report.

Bumgarner, who has been out since Aug. 10 with a mid-back strain, will start against the Giants this weekend. The 31-year-old had an incredible run in San Francisco from 2009-19, when he registered a 3.13 ERA across 1,846 regular-season innings, made four All-Star teams and emerged as one of the greatest postseason performers in the history of the game. Thanks in no small part to Bumgarner, the Giants won three World Series when he was part of their organization.

Despite his overall brilliance as a Giant, they let him walk in free agency last offseason in favor of receiving draft-pick compensation via the qualifying offer. The division-rival Diamondbacks then swooped in with a five-year, $85MM guarantee, but the gamble hasn’t gone according to plan so far. Before going on the IL, Bumgarner made four starts and posted a hideous 9.35 ERA/8.60 FIP over 17 1/3 innings, during which he recorded career worsts in K/9 (6.75), BB/9 (3.63), groundball rate (23.7 percent) and average fastball velocity (87.8 mph).

The Bumgarner signing was among the reasons Arizona was a popular pick to vie for a playoff spot this season, but the team has instead crashed to a 14-22 record past the halfway point. While a postseason spot now looks out of the question, seeing Bumgarner end the year on a positive note – if he’s able to – would at least give the Diamondbacks some peace of mind heading into the winter. Conversely, should Bumgarner’s woes continue this month, it would be another negative for the D-backs entering the offseason.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Make Several Roster Moves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=240418 2020-09-01T21:25:39Z 2020-09-01T21:25:39Z The Diamondbacks announced that they’ve selected righties Artie Lewicki and Keury Mella and lefty Joe Mantiply from their alternate site. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Josh Rojas, placed righty Taylor Widener on the 10-day injured list with a strained right rib cage and transferred a pair of hurlers – righty Merrill Kelly and Jeremy Beasley – to the 45-day IL. After all of that, Arizona has 39 players on its 40-man roster.

Lewicki has been part of the Arizona organization since it claimed him off waivers from the Tigers after 2018, but he hasn’t pitched for the Diamondbacks yet, owing to Tommy John surgery. He last took the mound professionally in ’18 for Detroit, where he recorded a 4.89 ERA with 6.98 K/9 and 3.26 BB/9 in 38 2/3 innings.

Mella, formerly a Red and Giant, joined the D-backs on a minor league contract in the offseason. The 27-year-old logged 17 innings as a Red from 2017-19, though he carries a much bigger sample of work – 172 2/3 frames – in Triple-A ball. Mella has notched a 4.59 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 at the minors’ highest level.

Mantiply also became a Diamondback on a minors pact last winter. He has 5 3/3 innings’ experience as a Tiger and Yankee in his past, though obviously most of his action has come in the minors. Mantiply, 29, combined for 39 2/3 frames at three different minors levels as a Yankee and Red last season, when he recorded a 4.31 ERA and put up 7.5 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Indians Had Interest In Starling Marte]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=240226 2020-09-01T18:46:06Z 2020-09-01T18:46:06Z Before the Diamondbacks traded Starling Marte to the Marlins yesterday, “the Indians made a run at” acquiring the outfielder, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (subscription required).  Marte would’ve been a enormous boost to Cleveland’s long-struggling outfield, and it is interesting to wonder what it would have cost the Tribe to land Marte.  Looking at what the D’Backs accepted from Miami, the Indians would have had to surrender a pitcher with some proven MLB-level ability (like Caleb Smith), another big-league ready young arm (like Humberto Mejia), and a lottery ticket of a long-term pitching prospect like Julio Frias.

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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[NL West Trade Deadline Recap]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=239987 2020-09-01T04:55:01Z 2020-09-01T04:55:01Z With the deadline in the rearview mirror, we’ll look back at each NL West team’s trade activity over the past month.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers

San Diego Padres

San Francisco Giants

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TC Zencka <![CDATA[Deadline Day DFAs: Phillies, White Sox, Cubs, Marlins]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=239395 2020-09-01T00:36:29Z 2020-09-01T00:34:20Z Given the flurry of transactions around the deadline, a number of players have been designated for assignment. This is, of course, the natural consequence of such a dramatic amount of shuffling to the roster via trade. These players will be available to the 29 other teams via waiver claim. We’ll use this post to track some of the more recent DFAs around baseball.

Latest Updates

  • The Marlins have designated left-hander Adam Conley for assignment, MLBTR has learned. The 30-year-old hasn’t pitched this season after going on the injured list in the wake of Miami’s clubhouse COVID-19 outbreak. Conley was a prominent member of the pitching staff, recently as a pure reliever, from 2015-19. He struggled to a miserable 6.53 ERA/5.19 FIP last season, although he posted much more palatable 4.09/3.60 marks the year prior.

Earlier Today

  • In perhaps the most surprising DFA of the day, the Phillies designated catcher Deivy Grullón for assignment, per the team. Grullon had been the Phillies presumptive third catcher after J.T. Realmuto and backup Andrew Knapp. The 24-year-old has long appeared on Philly prospect boards, making his first big-league appearance last season, going 1 for 9 in limited action. Rafael Marchan and Logan O’Hoppe are the other catchers in the Phillies’ 60-man player pool.
  • Philadelphia also DFA’ed right-hander Reggie McClain. The 27-year-old McClain had appeared in 5 games this season with a 5.06 ERA across 5 1/3 innings. These moves came as a consequence not of trades, necessarily, but because Jay Bruce and Ranger Suárez both were reinstated from the injured list.
  • The White Sox designated infielder Ryan Goins for assignment after activating Yolmer Sanchez, per Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Goings, 32, is a veteran of the Blue Jays and Royals. He appeared in 14 games for the White Sox this season, often as a pinch-runner. At the plate, he was 0 for 9 with a walk and a strikeout. Sanchez rejoins the White Sox after being designated for assignment by the Giants. Sanchez spent 2014 to 2019 with the White Sox.
  • The Cubs DFA’ed Ian Miller and Hernan Perez, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter links). Miller and Perez are making room for Andrew Chafin and Josh Osich, respectively, the pair of lefties acquired from the Diamondbacks and Red Sox. Miller, 28, is a speed specialist who appeared in just one game for the Cubs as a pinch-runner. Perez never cracked the rotation in Chicago after several years of regular reps with the Brewers. He appeared in just 3 games for the Cubs, going 1 for 6.
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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Marlins Acquire Starling Marte For Caleb Smith, Humberto Mejia]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=239059 2020-08-31T21:14:25Z 2020-08-31T21:00:39Z In a major deadline swap that no one could’ve foreseen a month ago, the Marlins announced Monday that they’ve acquired All-Star center fielder Starling Marte from the D-backs. Heading to Arizona are lefty Caleb Smith, right-hander Humberto Mejia and a player to be named later (reportedly Class-A lefty Julio Frias).

Starling Marte | Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Not long before the trade was agreed upon, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the D-backs throughout the day had been signaling to other teams that they don’t expect to pick up their $12.5MM club option on Starling Marte.

The aversion to picking up the option on Marte registers as a major surprise. It’s certainly not for any lack of production; Marte has been flat-out excellent in Arizona, hitting at a .311/.384/.443 clip with a pair of homers, eight doubles, a triple and five steals. His defense in center has graded out as +0.5, per Ultimate Zone Rating, and -2 per Defensive Runs Saved. Through 33 games, FanGraphs has Marte at 1.1 WAR, while Baseball-Reference has him at 0.9 — a pace that is roughly in line with Mate’s characteristic 3-4 WAR output.

Of course, the 2020 season has brought about some pressing revenue losses for all 30 clubs, and D-backs owner Ken Kendrick was among the most outspoken owners about the hardships faced by teams with fans unable to attend games. Kendrick pined for revenue sharing with players, placing the blame on them for the difficult negotiations and steadfastly expressing that owners would not green-light any scenario that saw games played into November.

As surprising as the fact that the D-backs are moving on from Marte is the fact that the Marlins are the team that will acquire him. Miami entered the season expected to be a cellar-dwelling outfit in the NL East, and those expectations only grew when more than half their active roster was sidelined by a team-wide Covid-19 outbreak. But Miami has continued to persevere, hovering around the .500 mark and now sitting in a tie for a postseason bid in the National League. Some exciting young players, Sixto Sanchez perhaps chief among them, have made their big league debuts in 2020, as other young talents like Pablo Lopez have taken substantial steps forward.

Miami’s move to add Marte comes in simultaneous conjuncture with another trade shipping the versatile Jonathan Villar to the Blue Jays. Marte will now step into his roster spot while making up for some of the speed lost with the Villar trade (and more overall offensive output). He’ll cost the Marlins an additional $1.71MM in 2020 — the remainder of this year’s prorated $11.5MM salary — and they’ll surely be picking up that $12.5MM option, given the price they paid to acquire him.

Moving forward, that’ll position the Marlins to trot out an outfield with Corey Dickerson in left field, Marte in center and some combination of Harold Ramirez, Monte Harrison, Lewis Brinson, Jesus Sanchez, Garrett Cooper or an outside addition to patrol right field. Alternatively, the Fish could push Brian Anderson back to right field and pursue a new third base option, though their abundance of in-house outfield options makes that seem less likely. Assuming that the options on both Marte and Brandon Kintzler are picked up, the Marlins will have $35.85MM on the 2021 books before arbitration raises to Anderson, Jorge Alfaro, Jesus Aguilar, Ryne Stanek and Yimi Garcia, among others.

The 29-year-old Smith, controlled through 2023, has missed bats in droves since being acquired from the Yankees prior to the 2018 season (259 punchouts in 233 2/3 innings). He’s also been plagued by injuries in that time, though, including a brutal Grade 3 lat strain in 2018 and a hip injury that cost him just shy of a month last year. Smith was placed on the injured list earlier this month after the Marlins’ Covid-19 outbreak and has pitched just three innings so far. He looked rusty, issuing six free passes in that time. Overall, he has a 4.39 ERA and 10.0 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in his time with Miami.

But Smith also fits the modus operandi we frequently see under general manager Mike Hazen in Arizona. Rather than moving Marte for well-regarded but unproven prospects, he’s instead added a big league arm who can step immediately onto the roster and help this year and for years to come. Smith, in many ways, gives the Snakes a replacement for the recently traded Robbie Ray — one who bears some stark similarities to Ray, as a high-strikeout lefty with occasional control difficulties.

Also able to provide help in the very near future will be the 23-year-old Mejia, who made his big league debut earlier this season. He’s allowed six earned runs on 13 hits and six walks with 11 strikeouts in eight MLB innings. His promotion to the big leagues was in some ways necessitated by the aforementioned outbreak, as he’d yet to even pitch at Double-A when he was promoted. The Diamondbacks may well want to get Mejia some additional development time before bringing him to Chase Field, but he’s already on the 40-man roster and has gotten his feet wet in the bigs, so he’s a viable option anytime moving forward.

As for Frias, he’ll give Arizona a 22-year-old southpaw who shined as a 21-year-old in short-season Class-A last year, when he pitched to a 2.83 ERA with a 73-to-23 K/BB ratio in 70 innings. Frias isn’t considered among the Marlins’ best prospects, but Miami has a relatively deep system after years of rebuilding moves. FanGraphs called Frias a “low-slot lefty” whose heater touches 97 mph but who has battled poor command at times. He’s a much further-off piece, but any club would welcome the opportunity to add a power-armed, left-handed lottery ticket.

SportsGrid’s Craig Mish broke the news that the two sides were close to a deal (Twitter link). Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported (on Twitter) that a deal had been reached. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported various aspects of the return (all Twitter links).

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