There have been quite a few moves this season that have backfired on Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers. See: Joe Thatcher, Tony Sipp, Heath Bell, Cody Ross, Jason Kubel (which began backfiring after the All-Star break last season), Brandon McCarthy and Eric Hinske.
But the two he got right were on full display big-time Tuesday night in a wild and wacky win over the Padres.
Martin Prado continued his torrid pace post-All-Star break with two more hits, three more runs batted in and a spectacular Brooks Robinson-like play at third base to absolutely rob Will Venable of extra bases with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth inning and the score tied at nine. It was a sensational defensive play, but not the defensive play of the night. That honor went to shortstop Didi Gregorius, who made like Willie Mays with a basket catch on Alexi Amarista in the seventh to save a run and end the inning. It was one if those catches in which you couldn’t believe your eyes, like “did he really just do that?”
I said it last night at the game, I’ll take mama’s boy Prado over Justin Upton, no questions asked. I like J-Up, but he’s never going to be a great player, just a good one and I don’t miss all those strikeouts. Prado leads the league in hits (53) and runs batted in (37) since the All-Star break and on the season is hitting .284 with 13 homers and 71 RBI with just 45 strikeouts while playing top notch defense wherever they put him. Upton is hitting .262 with 24 homers and 64 RBI on the season and has 132 punch outs. Chris Johnson, the throw in in the trade, is hitting an amazing .331, but trust me, not even Atlanta saw that coming as they had penciled him in as a platoon player to start the season. So if we go Upton for Prado, I like the trade for Kevin Towers.
As for Didi Gregorius, this was a great deal for Arizona. They got themselves a bona fide Gold Glove-level shortstop who is hitting a respectable .263 and should solidify the position for many years to come. The guy Arizona gave up, Trevor Bauer, has a Triple-A ERA of 4.18 this season and has 66 walks in 116.1 innings. In four Major League starts with Cleveland, he is 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA and 16 walks in 17 innings. Safe to say Bauer still hasn’t figured it out, and now you have to start questioning whether he ever will. And trust me on this, if Bauer was on the block right now, the Indians aren’t getting a player the quality of Gregorius back in a trade. No chance. So Arizona traded him at the right time while his stock was still high.
So while KT has got some wrong this year, he certainly got these two right.