Hall: D-backs are ‘exploring’ market for bullpen help as trade deadline nears
The Diamondbacks have already made two trades ahead of the July 31 MLB trade deadline, but team president and CEO Derrick Hall wouldn’t rule out another.
First, the D-backs acquired a big bat in J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers on July 18. On Thursday, they made a smaller move by trading Double-A pitcher Gabriel Moya to the Minnesota Twins for catcher John Ryan Murphy.
But shortly before the trade with the Twins was announced, Hall was asked in an interview with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station whether he felt the D-backs needed to make another trade.
“I don’t know that we need to, but we’re certainly exploring,” Hall said. “We’re going to continue to look for ways to improve our team.”
The D-backs’ bullpen has frequently been brought up as an area the team could improve, despite the fact that Arizona has the third-best bullpen ERA (3.59) in the National League. That conversation has largely centered around whether the team should have a contingency plan in place should Fernando Rodney (5 blown saves in 2017) be deemed unreliable as closer.
Furthermore, the D-backs sent reliever J.J. Hoover to Triple-A Reno on Wednesday, a reliever who had a 3.72 ERA in April and May this year but a 8.31 ERA in five appearances this month. Randall Delgado is on the shelf with a right elbow flexor strain, Rubby De La Rosa has had two different DL stints this season and Tom Wilhelmsen was let go in June.
With any battle, there’s bound to be attrition.
“[The bullpen] scuffled a bit, but bullpens are going to go through that. The way they’ve been so good and so reliable and consistent all year, you expect to have a tough period.”
There have already been abundant rumors as to who — if any team — will land Orioles reliever Zach Britton. The Colorado Rockies made a splash Wednesday by acquiring Pat Neshek (1.12 ERA in 2017) from the Philadelphia Phillies.
“We knew, like in a [Pat] Neshek situation, you’re going to have to give up a lot,” Hall said. “The Rockies did, but they were in dire straits there and needed that relief help. So there’s some big moves happening right now, it should be a pretty active weekend and we’ll see.”
Whether the D-backs are among the teams to make a trade for a big bullpen arm remains to be seen. There are multiple options out there, though Arizona Sports’ own John Gambadoro reported that the D-backs are out on Britton.
“We’ve been kicking the tires with every team,” Hall said. “I think some of these bigger bullpen pieces have to go first to really establish what the market looks like. There’s a surplus out there. It’s sort of flooded, which is a good thing, I think, to buyers. But again, we have to establish what that market looks like.”