At 50-45, the Arizona Diamondbacks sit atop the National League West with a slim 2.5 game lead at the All-Star break.
But while Kirk Gibson and Co. are top dog in the division for now, with 67 games to go, plenty of people within the baseball community believe they might not be the team driving the pace car when the race hits September.
Among them is ESPN baseball analyst Aaron Boone.
Boone, who was a guest on Arizona Sports 620’s Burns & Gambo Tuesday, was adamant that the D-backs need to make a move ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, not only to address needs but to keep pace with the surging second-place Los Angeles Dodgers (47-47).
While Don Mattingly’s squad hasn’t been more than three games above .500 in 2013, they’re white hot heading into the break, winning 17 of their last 22 games — including a three-game sweep in Arizona last week.
Combine that with their ownership group’s recent open-pocket policy when it comes to upgrading personnel, and Boone said the onus is on Kevin Towers to keep up with NL West’s version of The Joneses.
“I don’t think they have to necessarily hit a home run with it,” Boone said. “I keep hearing the name Jake Peavy, Kevin Gregg, Jesse Crain if he comes back from injury. They need to sure up some things because you know the Dodgers are going to continue to shore up their team and get better. Now with (Zack) Greinke back to go along with (Hyun-Jin) Ryu and (Clayton) Kershaw and (Ricky) Nolasco coming over and with what (Yasiel) Puig has done. They’re getting healthier and healthier, and seemingly better and better.
“I don’t think Arizona can stand pat necessarily and hold them off. With that being said, I don’t think it takes a major move. I think they are top-to-bottom a very good team and with some tweaking here and there, they have as good a chance as anyone in the NL West.”
While the D-backs have been linked to the likes of
Peavy, Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza and
Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo
in recent weeks, because the trio could potentially cost a pretty penny respectively, Boone said it’s not out of the question that Towers looks internally to bolster a rotation that at the moment only boasts one winning pitcher (Patrick Corbin).
Specifically if that option is 20-year-old Archie Bradley.
Boone suggested that Bradley could still use some work in the minors before becoming a full-time rotation option, but that the former No. 7 overall pick has a chance to be a worthwhile risk in the short-term.
“You could definitely catch lightning in a bottle (with Bradley) for some starts,” said Boone, who was an analyst for the 2013 MLB Future’s Game Sunday where Bradley pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Team USA. “He certainly has the stuff, and I think the makeup to handle it. Are you going to find consistency right away from a command standpoint? That’s the only place I question.
“If you can’t make the deal you want, then yeah, he might become an option.”
Bradley is a combined 8-4 with a 2.06 ERA and 115 strikeouts with High-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile this season.