Our friend Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors passes along a post from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, in which he spoke to Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers about their shortstop situation for 2013, now that the club has washed its hands of Stephen Drew, essentially giving him away to Oakland earlier in the week.
“There’s not a lot on the free-agent market, so more than likely it’s going to take a trade,” Towers tells Piecoro. “We’ll probably have to trade a good player — or a couple of good players — to find one.”
Well, well, well. The Jays have something almost resembling a mild surplus at that position! And while the Rangers, with Elvis Andrus in place and Jurickson Profar ready, would be able to do some serious business in this regard, if they wanted to, the Jays might be able to do something a little more modest and reasonable with the Diamondbacks.
I mean, sure, you’re probably already trying to fit together pieces that might make Justin Upton, who was reportedly on the trade block earlier in the summer, available to the Jays. But let’s be a little more realistic. I’m pretty sure that, even with Upton’s down year, neither Yunel Escobar nor Adeiny Hechavarria is making that happen. And with Miguel Montero now extended long-term in the desert, JP Arencibia or Travis d’Arnaud isn’t sweetening any deal.
Now, not to blow my load on the upcoming look at the NL trade market for pitching, but you may not realize that Arizona has a number of arms that might prove be attractive to a club like the Jays.
Joe Saunders will be a free agent, but there’s a lot of returning quality in their rotation: Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill are back, Trevor Bauer and Boz Skaggs will be rotation staples very soon, Josh Collmenter was serviceable as a starter in 2011 (less so this year, though effective out of the bullpen when healthy), Dan Hudson is coming back eventually (he had Tommy John in early July), and perhaps most interestingly to a club like the Jays– assuming the front four will be off-limits– are Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin.
Both pitchers came into 2011 with less than a year of service time, they’re both left-handed, sit in the low 90s, primarily work with a fastball, slider and change, and were relatively high draft picks, with Miley going 43rd overall in 2008, and Corbin going 90th to Anaheim in 2009, and coming over the Dan Haren trade, along with both Saunders and Skaggs.
They were ranked seventh and eighth in an impressive D’Backs system according to Keith Law at the start of this season, and they’ve both pitched to a sub-4 FIP this season, with Miley having the more impressive number of the two, a 2.99 mark that’s driven by a lack of home runs, and some excellent control. Corbin, who has thrown 80 fewer innings, pitched to a 3.70 FIP as a starter, but has been a little better in terms of strikeouts, looks a lot closer by xFIP, where Miley’s home run prevention is neutralized, and is nearly three years younger.
Miley is tied with Josh Johnson and Madison Bumgarner this season, having been worth 3.6 wins, per FanGraphs, so perhaps it’s a stretch to think that Arizona would be willing to move him, which… would be totally fine too, because it’s possible that would then put one of the other guys in play, like the more established Ian Kennedy, or Cahill, who is solid-if-unspectacular, has many years of control remaining, and who the Diamondbacks somehow felt was worth giving up Jarrod Parker for last winter.
Adding any of these guys, at the cost of one of the Jays two shortstop options, would very probably be worthwhile to explore for both clubs, considering the strengths and weaknesses of each roster as it currently stands. So get figuring it out already, Alex… before Jon Daniels knows what hit him!