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MLB Trade Deadline, Rumors & Roundup: Arizona Diamondbacks In Search Of Young Arms

HOW THE DIAMONDBACKS GOT TO WHERE THEY ARE

Arizona are stumbling their way through another disappointing season, currently with the same record as they had at this point in 2009, and basically out of the playoff picture in the NL West. The ongoing absence of Brandon Webb, combined with a horrific bullpen (an ERA over seven, putting them on pace to be among the worst in baseball history), are the main factors which have led to the high hopes of contention, which were present before the season, completely evaporating.

BUYERS OR SELLERS?

Look, didn't you read the above paragraph? The Diamondbacks are 15.5 back, and only two teams in the NL have a worse record. Go on, take a wild stab in the dark. Less sarcastically - the format of these pieces didn't take into account teams for whom this was clearly a rhetorical question - Arizona will be sellers. Perhaps the more interesting question is "Sellers or COMPLETE Sellers?" In other words, whether the team will be reloading, with a view to trying to compete in 2011, or rebuilding, for further down the road. Who gets moved will give some insight into the front-office's feeling there.

WHO'S AVAILABLE

About the only two players completely off the table are probably Justin Upton, who signed a long-term contract in the off-season, and Ian Kennedy, who has been excellent during his first full season in the majors. Anyone else? Make an offer. 1B Adam LaRoche, who'll be a free-agent at the end of the year [the team won't exercise the 2011 option] and 2B Kelly Johnson are likely top of the lists. Johnson is under team control via arbitration next year, and has been one of the most productive players at his spot this season. The team could elect to trade him or shortstop Stephen Drew, plugging the younger, cheaper Tony Abreu into either spot, and would also like to deal Chris Snyder, who is being paid a front-line salary to be a back-up catcher.

On the pitching front, I would not be surprised to see Edwin Jackson traded away. He and Dan Haren will both earn big bucks in 2011, but Ken Rosenthal recently speculated that Haren's value isn't what it was. On the other hand, a no-hitter - even one with eight walks - will certainly have raised Jackson's profile. Rodrigo Lopez is another one- year rental who may be moved, but he has been solid and cheap enough, and likes it in Arizona, so I think the team will likely try to keep him around and re-sign him for 2012.

WHAT DO WE WANT?

Pitching, pitching and more pitching. It's generally been a rule of thumb that you don't trade for relievers, but the Arizona bullpen has been so abhorrent this season, that it desperately needs new blood. We already saw this with the deal that sent Conor Jackson to Oakland in exchange for relief arm Sam Demel, and we could see some more help sought in that area. Most positions are largely set, either with existing players or prospects (such as 1B Brandon Allen), but the farm system is largely devoid of starting pitchers. The 2009 and 2010 drafts helped restock things a bit, but obviously, those won't be available to help for another couple of years.