The 5: Revisiting the D-backs’ most notable deals of the last five years
The Arizona Diamondbacks have made their fair share of trades in the past five years.
Some deals are simple.
The D-backs got more than what they could have ever dreamed for when picking up J.D. Martinez as a rental from the Detroit Tigers last season, and despite the desire to re-sign him, he played himself out of Arizona’s price range.
Some deals need more time.
It’s too soon to say if Steven Souza Jr. has worked out in Arizona when he’s not even two weeks into his season, or if Anthony Banda was too valuable an asset going back to Tampa Bay for Souza.
The most notable deals over the past five years all have pieces changing the perception of each of those trades. Here is where those five deals stand as we head into the second month of the 2018 season.
December 2013: Trumbo flops in Arizona
We begin with a player who was traded to the Diamondbacks and traded by them over a span of less than two years.
Mark Trumbo was coming off a 34-home run, 100-RBI season with the Los Angeles Angels.
In need of some power in their lineup, the D-backs acquired Trumbo in a three-team deal.
The players sent out from the D-backs’ perspective were top pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs to Anaheim and outfielder Adam Eaton to the Chicago White Sox. Arizona received two players to be named later, pitcher A.J. Schugel from the Angels and outfielder Brandon Jacobs from the White Sox.
Trumbo struggled immensely in Arizona, hitting 23 home runs and batting .243. The D-backs traded him in June of 2015, but what they originally gave up to acquire the power hitter doesn’t appear to be too devastating at this point.
What did hurt a bit was Trumbo’s resurgence in Baltimore, where he was traded from Seattle in late 2015, less than a year after the Mariners acquired him from Arizona.
Trumbo hit an American League-leading 47 home runs in 2016 while batting .256 and was an All-Star, but regressed in 2017 with 23 home runs and a .234 batting average. In 2018, Trumbo made his season debut in early May after coming back from a quad injury.
Skaggs, still only 26 years old, had Tommy John surgery in 2014 after making 18 starts for a 4.30 ERA. Struggling with injuries throughout his last two seasons, he made 26 combined starts and posted ERAs of 4.17 and 4.55.
Skaggs, though, has had a career-best start to the 2018 campaign, posting a 3.08 ERA in his first seven starts.
Eaton, meanwhile, hit .290 in Chicago over three seasons before being dealt to the Nationals in December of 2016. He only played in 23 games in 2017 before tripping up on the way to first base and tearing his ACL and meniscus, missing the rest of the season.
Just as the 29-year-old Eaton was getting his career back on track in 2018, hitting .345 in eight games, he has been unable to come back from an ankle injury he suffered in early April and had surgery this week.
Schugel only appeared in five games for the D-backs in the 2015 season before being waived in December, but had a breakthrough 2017 season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, putting up a 1.97 ERA over 32.0 innings and 32 appearances. This season, Schugel is battling back from a nagging shoulder injury that has kept him sidelined all season.
Jacobs was released by Class A-Advanced Visalia in late 2014 and has been out of the minor leagues since April of 2015.
In return for Trumbo in the June 2015 deal with Seattle, Arizona received Gabriel Guerrero, Welington Castillo, Dominic Leone and Jack Reinheimer.
Guerrero was designated for assignment in late 2016 and Leone pitched in 25 games in 2016 for a 6.33 ERA before being designated for assignment at the end of the season. Leone had a huge year in 2017 with Toronto, posting a 2.56 ERA over 70.1 innings. This season he’s with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he’s a key member of the bullpen and has a 4.05 ERA in 13.0 innings.
Castillo was the power source the D-backs were desperate for in the second half of that season and he delivered, hitting 17 home runs in 80 games. In 2016, however, he hit only 14 but posted a batting average of .264 and drove in 68 runs. He signed a one-year deal with Baltimore and last offseason signed a two-year, $15 million deal with the White Sox. In 2018, Castillo is hitting .250 with five home runs and 10 RBI.
Reinheimer is the lone piece of Trumbomania remaining on the D-backs roster. The infielder played in two games for Arizona last season after hitting .278 with four home runs and 56 RBI in his second full season with Triple-A Reno. At 25 years old, Reinheimer is with the Triple-A Reno Aces and was ranked the team’s 25th best prospect by MLB.com.
December 2014: Gregorius, Ray become unexpected stars
In our only deal that still holds heavy contributors on each side, the D-backs traded shortstop Didi Gregorius to the New York Yankees in a three-team deal. In return, they received starting pitcher Robbie Ray and infielder Domingo Leyba from the Detroit Tigers.
An everyday player since he arrived in New York, Gregorius exploded the past two seasons as a legitimate bat for the Yankees. Two seasons ago, he posted a .276/.304/.447 slash line with 20 home runs and 70 RBI, and improved off that last season with a .287/.318/.479 slash on top of 25 home runs in 87 RBI.
He has continued to trend upward this season, looking like an All-Star in 2018. Through 36 games, the 28-year-old is hitting .280 with 10 home runs and 31 RBI.
Luckily for the D-backs, Ray has matched Gregorius in terms of impact. He had a disappointing 2016 with a 4.90 ERA over 32 starts but bounced back in a real way in 2017. He was an All-Star, managing a stellar 2.89 ERA in 28 starts.
There’s been some cause for concern this season, however, as the 26-year-old has a 4.88 ERA in six starts and a right oblique strain has him out for an unknown period.
The last piece of the deal is Leyba, who was in Double-A Jackson last season and has yet to play this season as he makes his way back from a shoulder injury. Leyba doesn’t turn 23 until September and was ranked as Arizona’s No. 13 prospect by MLB.com.
June 2015: D-backs take a beating after sending Touki to Atlanta
Perhaps the most scrutinized move in the history of the D-backs, Arizona traded Bronson Arroyo and highly-regarded pitching prospect Touki Toussaint to the Atlanta Braves for infielder Phil Gosselin. In the deal, the D-backs were able to get rid of Arroyo’s $9.5 million in salary.
ESPN’s Keith Law was amused at the time.
The most notable aspect of the deal, as Law notes, was the D-backs essentially selling a prospect when they recently signed a TV deal worth over $1 billion.
Toussaint, the D-backs’ No. 16 selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, turned only 19 years old on the day of the trade.
Now 21, Toussaint is pitching in Double-A Mississippi and has a 3.19 ERA through seven starts. It was a nice rebound for the young arm, who had a poor 5.04 ERA in 19 starts last season for Class A-Advanced Florida.
Less than two weeks after the trade, Arroyo was again dealt, this time to the Los Angeles Dodgers in late July. In a factoid to make you sound smart around your baseball buddies, 2017 All-Star Alex Wood was also sent from Atlanta to Los Angeles in that deal.
Arroyo didn’t pitch in 2015 or 2016 but had a comeback with the Reds in 2017 that did not go well. He went 3-6 with a 7.35 ERA in 14 starts and retired at the end of the season.
Gosselin played in 146 games over two years for the D-backs, hitting .283 as a utility player before being traded to the Pirates in February of 2017.
December 2015: D-backs yet to get money’s worth on hefty price for Miller
The Toussaint trade was only a precursor to how the D-backs would be perceived after acquiring Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves.
In exchange for the 2015 All-Star right-hander, Arizona gave up outfielder Ender Inciarte, top pitching prospect Aaron Blair and the year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Dansby Swanson.
Miller had a horrid 2016 debut season, doubling his ERA from 3.02 to 6.15 in 20 starts. After some signs of hope that he could still be a rotation piece through four starts in 2016, he was forced to have Tommy John surgery and is slated for a return sometime this season. While it’s been quite the fall from grace, Miller is still only 27 years old.
A defensive ace who could also hit, Inciarte followed a solid 2016 by becoming an All-Star in 2017, batting .304 with 11 home runs and 57 RBI. He won back-to-back Gold Gloves for the Braves in those two seasons.
At the age of 27, Inciarte has plenty of good years ahead of him, and is hitting .265 with Atlanta this year and had a major league-leading 16 stolen bases.
Blair, ranked as a top-50 prospect by Baseball Prospectus in 2015 and 2016, has had a shaky start with the Braves to say the least. He had a sky-high 7.59 ERA in 15 starts two seasons ago and only made one appearance last season, making 25 starts in Triple-A Gwinnett and posting a concerning 5.02 ERA.
Unfortunately for Blair, he couldn’t even get going in 2018, as shoulder surgery in mid-April ruled him out the rest of the season. He is 25 years old, but his future with Atlanta appears to be in jeopardy.
Swanson was an everyday shortstop for Atlanta last season at the age of 23 when he hit .232 and led the Nation League in errors with 20. Currently on the disabled list due to a wrist injury, Swanson is hitting .289 with two home runs and 13 RBI.
November 2016: Mariners running away with early returns on Segura deal
In the one and only deal we cover from the Mike Hazen era, the D-backs sent middle infielder Jean Segura, outfielder Mitch Haniger and pitcher Zac Curtis to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for middle infielder Ketel Marte and starting pitcher Taijuan Walker.
The main piece of the deal, Segura, 28, hit .300 in 2017 and is off to a start of a .305 batting average in 2018 with 24 RBI.
The 27-year-old Haniger, though, has been the breakthrough star of the deal.
After hitting only .229 in 34 games for the 2016 season with Arizona, the 27-year-old Haniger was a solid contributor for the Mariners in 2017, hitting .282 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI.
This season, he’s had terrific form through 36 games. He’s hitting .297 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI.
Walker, 25, was solid in 2017 with a 3.49 ERA in 28 stats but Tommy John surgery in April now has him pegged as potentially returning at the All-Star break in 2019. That would leave Walker with under a season and a half before he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.
Marte’s slow start in 2018 hasn’t helped matters regarding the current outlook of the deal. After being nothing but impressive last season, Marte is hitting .216 this season. The 24-year-old, though, recently signed an extension with the D-backs and looks poised to be a prominent core piece for years to come.