By: Noah Wright
The Diamondbacks have begun their rebuild. This started when they traded Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals. They’ll likely not be done trading off pieces just yet. They still have a handful of pieces worth value to not just them, but other teams. So let’s take a look at some of those players that they still could move before the season starts.
1.) David Peralta (OF):
The former indy league player turned MLB star turned in a career season in 2018. In 614 plate appearances, Peralta batted .293/.352/.516. He reached career highs in home runs with 30, 87 RBI’s, and nearly in wRC+ ranking at 130. Plus, his ISO of .223 was also the best of his career. All of this helped Peralta earn a Silver Slugger. David is also a decent defender in left field. Last season, he had 5 DRS, -.9 UZR, but just -.1 dWAR in the corner position. Peralta is in arbitration. Right now, he is projected to earn $7.7 million per MLB Trade Rumors for his age 31 season, and has one more year left of control through arbitration.
2.) Robbie Ray (SP):
The lefty Robbie Ray did have a disappointing season in 2018. Afterall, he had a 3.93 ERA, 4.31 FIP, and 1.350 WHIP in only 123 innings of work. He was walking batters at an alarming rate (5.1 per 9), while batters were squaring up Ray’s pitches at a 44.4% rate. The only good part about 2018 for Ray was he kept a good strikeout rate at 12 K/9. However, it wasn’t long ago when Ray was an all-star lefty. Last season, Robbie turned in a 2.93 ERA, 3.72 FIP, and 1.154 WHIP in 162 innings. He was only giving up walks at just a 3.9 rate, while keeping a 12.1 K/9 rate. Plus, a move away from Chase Field could be very beneficial for Ray. In his career, Ray has a .801 Opponent OPS at home, but just a .660 Opponent OPS away. Ray is projected to earn $6.1 million in arbitration as per MLB Trade Rumors for his age 27 season, and like Peralta, is controllable through arb. through 2020.
3.) Nick Ahmed (SS):
Ahmed is a very glove first shortstop. In 564 plate appearances, Ahmed was only worth 84 wRC+, while turning in a .234/.290/.411 batting line. But he did have a career high 16 home runs and 70 RBI’s. However, there is a very good reason he won a Gold Glove last season. At short, Ahmed had 21 DRS, 4.6 UZR, and 2.9 dWAR. While Ahmed has never had an elite offensive profile, he does bring some hope of better value with the bat. Last season, he made hard contact 39.2% of the time, while only making soft contact 17.2% of the time. MLB Trade Rumors projects Ahmed to earn just $3.1 in arbitration when he’ll turn 29, which would make him appealing to any team in need of up the middle help. He also has another arbitration year for 2020 as well.
4.) Andrew Chafin (RP):
Andrew Chafin could actually bring back something decent. He is a lefty relief pitcher whose put up good numbers every season except for 2016, since 2014. In 49 and a third innings, Chafin gave the D-Backs a 3.10 ERA, 2.65 FIP, and 1.338 WHIP. Plus, he didn’t give up a single home run last season in a hitter friendly park. Though Chafin does come with a one drawback. Sure, he did make batters K 9.7 per 9 last season, but walked them at a 4.6 per 9 rate. Even though Chafin is better against left handed batters, he has kept right handers to just a .687 OPS throughout his career. Chafin is projected to earn just $1.8 million in arbitration next season, his age 29 season, and with another year of arb for 2020, teams needing a boost in bullpen reinforcements may be willing to give up a nice piece for Chafin.
5.) Archie Bradley (RP):
After coming up to the majors as a starting pitching prospect and struggling, Bradley was moved to the bullpen, Bradley has done fairly well in a relief pitching role. Though 2018 was so-so for the hard throwing righty (3.64 ERA, 3.70 FIP), he did turn in a 1.73 ERA, 2.61 FIP, and 1.014 WHIP in 73 innings in 2017. However everything wasn’t horrible for Bradley in 2018. He still kept a similar K/9 rate at 9.4, and walks per 9 rate at 2.5. Next season, Bradley will enter his age 26 season, and projected to earn $2.0 million in arbitration. Unlike the other names mentioned above, he has another year of control, through 2021.
1.) Zack Greinke (SP):
Entering his mid-30’s, Zack Greinke is still showing that he can pitch at a top notch level. Last year in 207 and two third innings, Zack had a 3.20 ERA, and 1.079 WHIP. Though he did have a 3.70 FIP. Regardless, he only walked batters at a 1.9 rate and struck them out at a decent 8.6 per 9 rate. But even given all the positive Greinke can bring to a team, there’s one thing that will make him extremely hard to move: his contract. Greinke is owed $34-$35 million every season for the rest of his contract, which ends in 2021. By then, he’ll be 37 years old. Not too many teams would be willing to undertake that contract for an aging 34 year old right hander.
2.) Ketel Marte (SS/2B):
After signing a 5 year extension last off season, Ketel Marte turned in a solid .260/.332/.437 batting line in 580 plate appearances, and reached 14 home runs. Overall, he was worth 104 wRC+. Defensively, Marte will bring a decent glove at second base. He had 7 DRS, .6 UZR, and 1.2 dWAR this past season. However, Ketel performed much better in Chase Field than away last season. Regardless Marte is also still very youthful. Next season will be his age 25 season. Plus given the very team friendly extension, if the D-Backs look to shop Marte, he should bring back something decent.
One Year Rentals:
1.) Yoshihisa Hirano (RP):
Many years of success over in Japan led Hirano to the United States, and he was solid in his rookie MLB season. In 66 and a third innings, Hirano turned in a 2.44 ERA, 3.69 FIP and 1.085 WHIP. Peripheral wise, he walked batters at a 3.1 per 9 rate, and struck them out at an 8.0 rate. Plus in a hitter friendly park, Hirano only gave up 6 home runs. He will be guaranteed just $3 million for 2019, but will hit free agency after ‘19.
2.) Alex Avila (C) :
Even though Avila only batted .165/.299/.304 and worth 66 wRC+ in 234 plate appearances, Avila still can bring value to a team. Defensively, Avila is still an above average. Last season, he was worth 6 DRS while throwing out 30% of runners trying to take an extra base on him. Pitch framing wise, he was worth 3.7 framing runs. Plus, it was only 2017 when he batted .264/.387/.447 with 14 home runs in 376 plate appearances split between the Tigers and Cubs.
Along with everyone mentioned here, the D-Backs have some bounceback candidates. That includes Zack Godley, Jake Lamb, and Steven Souza Jr. who not only have control, but also could bring back something decent if healthy. Each has shown they can produce near or at an all star level in the big leagues. Regardless, the team should easily be able to bring back a decent amount if they play their cards right. They could try and pry a few of the Atlanta Braves top pitching prospects for David Peralta, and then attempt to flip Nick Ahmed to the Pirates for a higher ranked prospect in their system. While it will be hard to move Zack Greinke’s contract, they should be able to if they eat part of the money, and/or take on a contract, similar to when Starlin Castro being thrown into the Giancarlo Stanton deal. By the end of the team trading away pieces, they should have a decent farm system, and be ready to contend again by 2021-2022.