Instant Reaction: D-backs wheel and deal at MLB trade deadline
The MLB trade deadline came and went Wednesday afternoon.
After it was all said and done, the Arizona Diamondbacks turned out to be one of the most involved teams during the trade deadline.
The biggest deal of the day revolved around ace pitcher Zack Greinke, who was sent to the Houston Astros in exchange for four prospects.
The team also worked to add a veteran arm in Mike Leake and an up-and-coming pitcher in Zac Gallen.
Looking toward the future, general manager Mike Hazen felt the moves were necessary to set the organization up for success down the line.
Here are instant reactions from the 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station hosts and ArizonaSports.com reporters on the day’s moves:
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta
Leading up to the MLB trade deadline, I had a hard time picturing what the concept of “being buyers and sellers” that D-backs brass talked about as a possibility would look like.
After a flurry of activity on Wednesday, I’ve got a much clearer image.
It’s tough to lose Zack Greinke — clear-cut number-one starters are hard to come by. Greinke, who was never fully appreciated by the local fan base in my opinion, was simply one of the best pitchers in baseball since he signed that massive deal in December of 2015. He’s got the fifth-most wins in the big leagues in that span to go along with the 10th-most strikeouts. Am I surprised Mike Hazen was able to find a taker with so much time remaining on that contract? You bet I am. But I also expected Arizona would have to pay more of the remaining dollars owed Greinke.
I like the collection of prospects the D-backs got back (I’d feel better if Corbin Martin wasn’t on the shelf until 2021) and adding Mike Leake and Zac Gallen in separate deals could ostensibly keep Arizona in the Wild Card chase this season (if the bullpen starts holding leads).
Mostly though, I’m really anxious to see what Hazen and Co. can do in terms of roster construction without being saddled with Greinke’s contract. I think that’s what he thought he’d be doing when he got to the desert in 2017.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo
Stunned, obviously. Not so much that it happened but that it happened at the buzzer. Once the news settled in, a couple of things stood out to me.
First, that the D-backs did simultaneously buy and sell at the same time. Gallen and Leake are “buy” moves, Greinke is clearly a sell. The amount of money the D-backs are chipping in to cover his salary was lower than I expected given the prospects that are coming back. Mostly, though, it was a feeling of relief that his contract was finally off the books. That’s not to say he wasn’t worth that money; he acquitted himself well. But guys who make $30K a year shouldn’t have a Benz in the garage. And baseball teams that have to operate on a budget can’t have players who make money that’s more befitting of New York or Los Angeles.
Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf
I never saw the D-backs trading Greinke but keeping Ray. Trade Ray or trade them both, but not the way it went down. I love the trade because it’s not my money. If Ken Kendrick is willing to pay down some of Greinke’s salary, so be it. The return is outstanding.
The D-backs will be dripping with Major League ready pitching that will report to Salt River next February.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo
The D-backs did what they had to do. They understood they were not a contender this year despite what the standings said, and so they sold the one player who not only occupied the highest salary spot in team history but the one who was good enough to put a team trading for him over the top.
Mike Hazen now has 53 million more dollars to spend, four more close-to-major-league-ready prospects, a solid innings-eater for the rest of this season and next on a bargain basement deal and a young fireballer to add to the rotation right now. All in all, a good day for Hazen and his staff and for the future of Diamondbacks baseball.
Matt Layman, reporter and editor
The D-backs did what was difficult but necessary.
Zack Greinke is undoubtedly one of the best players to ever play for the Diamondbacks. But his tenure here will be remembered chiefly as being expensive (to no fault of his own), and secondly as being a time when the D-backs didn’t have much postseason success, despite having an ace to help them do so.
This season would be no different, with or without Greinke. Arizona is probably not a playoff team, and definitely not a scary one if they happen to squeak in. Failing to use current assets to build for tomorrow would be malpractice, and the D-backs had the self-awareness to realize that. They cashed in on their best player, opening up some salary and getting prospects in return that they hope can be part of the next playoff team.
Jordan Byrd, host of Arizona Sports Saturday and producer of Burns & Gambo
I’m surprised. Not because the D-backs traded a starting pitcher for a haul of prospects, I expected that. I was just convinced that it would be Robbie Ray and not Zack Greinke. The fact that Arizona got four intriguing prospects and didn’t have to eat a ton of Greinke’s contract is a win that I didn’t think was possible. Equally surprising was the other additions by Mike Hazen on Wednesday. Trading a guy like Greinke should be a clear signal that you are waving the white flag on the rest of the season but by adding Mike Leake and Zac Gallen, the D-backs can still stay competitive while continuing to build the roster up to a true contending team.
Tyler Drake, reporter and editor
The biggest concern for most everybody was how much would a Greinke trade cost the D-backs financially in the future, and in the Wild Card race this season.
With all the moves made Wednesday, the D-backs not only built for the future, they also looked to remain in the mix in 2019.
While it’s obvious Greinke was the best player in the dugout, his contract provided flexibility issues for the team. And with the D-backs only accountable for $24 million ($8 million a year) of the $77 million still owed to the pitcher, Arizona looks like an early winner.
And although they gave up an ace, the D-backs gained two pitchers that could make an immediate impact for the team in Mike Leake, who the D-backs will owe just $6 million of his salary, and Zac Gallen.
The returns might not be immediate with the four prospects the team received from the Greinke deal, but from what was said about Corbin Martin from GM Mike Hazen, there’s a ton of potential in the pitcher. Even if he’s coming off a Tommy John surgery from earlier this month.
After it was all said and done, the sky didn’t come crashing on the D-backs at the MLB trade deadline. If anything, the team looks more poised than ever for the future.