ESPN’s Kurkjian: D-backs could look for relievers at the trade deadline
As the Los Angeles Dodgers expect to acquire Manny Machado before the second half of the season begins, the Arizona Diamondbacks must counter to keep pace in the NL West.
The D-backs are in need of upgrades in the starting rotation, bullpen and the left-side of the infield. The D-backs have been looking to acquire bullpen help for a few weeks now.
“I think you win down the stretch with a deep, versatile bullpen,” said ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on Doug & Wolf on 9.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “If they can go get (Orioles left-handed reliever) Zach Britton, who I was told was this close to being really, really good again, that would be a gigantic move for the Diamondbacks.”
Britton returned from a torn Achilles suffered during the offseason and minus two bad outings has pitched well in 13 of his 15 appearances. Britton has posted an ERA of 3.68 with four saves on the season in 15 games. Britton will be a free agent after this season.
Another late-inning lefty the D-backs might target is a pitcher they’re familiar with.
“If they can get Brad Hand from the Padres, who pitched in the All-Star game last night, (he’s) another guy who can close for you and get big outs in the sixth, seventh or eighth against right-handers or left-handers,” said Kurkjian. “I’m just not sure there’s too much out there but those are two pitchers who can help any team, including the Diamondbacks.”
Hand has been the Padres’ closer for the last two seasons, making back-to-back All-Star teams. Acquiring Hand would most likely cost the D-backs more than it would take to acquire Britton because he is under contract through 2021 with a team option for 2022.
Playing in the same division as the Padres also complicates any potential trade, because certain teams are cautious about trading prospects to a division rival.
Adding either Britton or Hand to a late-inning relief corps of Archie Bradley, Yoshihisa Hirano and Brad Boxberger would put the D-backs among the best bullpens in the league.
After acquiring J.D. Martinez last season in a win-now move at the deadline, the D-backs appear to be willing to try and make similar moves this season.
“I just think going down in the second half, the pitching is probably more an area where we’re going to take a look at,” said general manager Mike Hazen on Doug & Wolf.