September 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock (11) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona/Atlanta Trade Hang-up Continues to be A.J. Pollock
Okay, once the Diamondbacks secured an agreement to pay Zack Greinke a million dollars per start for the next six years, I had figured they were done with the quest for starting pitching. Their depth chart, however, now shows just 4 starters’ names – with Greinke to be added once his physical is done on Monday.
Thus it probably shouldn’t be too surprising to learn this from Buster Olney today:
Believe it or not, money isn’t their biggest obstacle here. They do have 7 arb-eligibles to work through (though 4 are first-years), but after adding $30-ish million for Greinke (contract deferments are unknown at present), they should be at around $86 million once all of the smoke clears. With their new TV contract, that should be quite manageable.
But would the DBacks want to go buy another pitcher? A trade would still make more sense at this point. And moreover, don’t they also want to upgrade their bullpen?
We’ve talked about this – that it appears Arizona wants to go “All-in” (that statement was made before they swept in and got Greinke), and thus they naturally would be reluctant to part with the second-best offensive weapon on their roster… for Shelby Miller or anybody.
So what would it take, and would the Braves be satisfied with the result?
That phrase ‘expanded deal’ does ring true – John Coppolella has been working a lot of these in the last year. If I can make an educated guess, this is what I think should be acceptable to Arizona…. which matches something our Brandon suggested Wednesday:
ATLANTA WOULD GET
ARIZONA WOULD GET
Arizona should recognize that with a vastly improved pitching staff, they could do without Pollock. Besides, Smith would provide them with a speed-burner CF to lead off and replace Pollock. He’s not going to be a 5-WAR player like Pollock, but doesn’t need to be, either.
Such a deal also solidifies their bullpen: this trade and the Greinke deal makes Arizona an instant contender out West.
But what if they continue to balk at the notion of including Pollock? Is there another possible fit here that would satisfy the Braves’ wishes?
Short of Pollock, the Braves might have to demand a sizable hunk of the Arizona farm system. Options would include:
- Aaron Blair, for certain
- #1 prospect SS Dansby Swanson would have to be on the table. Not a great fit for Atlanta, given Ozhaino Albies, but if offered, Atlanta would have to consider this strongly.
- Brandon Drury or Nick Ahmed. Both used to be Braves and both have blossomed in the DBacks farm system.
- Maybe power-hitting #9 OF prospect Peter O’Brien.
- Cody Reed
If Pollock were not included, then Mallex Smith would remain a Brave, certainly. But a package of Blair, Swanson, O’Brien and either Drury or Ahmed -or- Blair, Swanson, O’Brien, and Reed would probably be pretty close to a decent return for Miller and Vizzy… but I would have to think that Arizona would hold on to Swanson just as hard as they seem to be doing for Pollock.
If that’s the case: no deal. Not nearly enough for Miller and Vizcaino.
We will continue to monitor the rumors.