Get to know the Diamondbacks’ 5 confirmed trade deadline acquisitions
After four trades made by the Arizona Diamondbacks leading into the Monday deadline, there’s some final tallying left to be done on the return.
A player to be named later still has to be confirmed in the Starling Marte deal from Miami, and Arizona Sports‘ John Gambadoro is among those reporting it’s 22-year-old pitching prospect Julio Frias.
The player to be named later coming from the Chicago Cubs for lefty reliever Andrew Chafin still has to come in as well, but we know the other five names. General manager Mike Hazen wouldn’t comment on who among them will be joining the big-league roster right away.
But here’s what Hazen had to say about the five of them.
From Miami for Starling Marte
LHP Caleb Smith
Smith made 44 starts for the Marlins the past two seasons, including 28 in 2019. He went 10-11 with a 4.52 ERA and gave up a league-high 33 homers.
“He’s a left-handed starter that we value his ability,” Hazen said. “He’s got a good fastball up in the zone, he throws strikes. He’s been a good starter in the league and we are valuing that and we always have valued that fairly highly.”
Smith was one of the several Marlins to catch COVID-19 from the team’s internal outbreak and has only one start this season. The lefty has been cleared to throw since mid-August.
RHP Humberto Mejia
Mejia, 23, got quite the jump in competition from high class A at the end of last season to making three starts for a shorthanded Marlins team this year.
“Mejia’s a good prospect, he’s got a good arm,” Hazen said. “This season has probably pushed him up the ladder a little quicker than you would have seen in a traditional year so we’ll get him back on that path.”
The right-hander was ranked as Miami’s 30th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline at the end of the 2019 season.
From Cincinnati for Archie Bradley
INF/OF Josh VanMeter
The 26-year-old VanMeter was never a heralded prospect in Cincinnati or San Diego, not ranking on MLB Pipeline’s top-30 since he was drafted in the fifth round by the Padres in 2013. He was traded in 2016 to the Reds.
He reached the majors in 2019, hitting .237 in 228 at-bats over 95 games.
“He was somebody that we were very high on at the end of last year, so that was probably our driving force in the evaluation,” Hazen said.
VanMeter started at left field, right field, first base, second base and third base for the Reds last year, and Hazen said the D-backs imagine using VanMeter more in the infield for now.
OF Stuart Fairchild
Fairchild has been ranked a top-15 prospect in the Reds system by MLB Pipeline for the past three years ever since being picked in the second round out of Wake Forest in 2017.
The highest level he reached for the 2019 season was Double-A, and across 109 games of that and high class A ball, he hit .264 with 12 homers and 54 RBIs.
MLB Pipeline placed Fairchild 14th on the D-backs’ updated top-30 for 2020.
Fairchild got off to a slow start in ’19 as he made adjustments to his swing that allowed him to recognize pitches sooner and get to the ball quicker. Once he found his swing consistency, it clearly started clicking for him, with an .824 OPS after his promotion in the second half of the season. He has mistake power and that pop enabled him to hit 12 homers last season.
Fairchild is a plus runner who can move well on the bases, but he must improve his stolen base techniques after being caught stealing seven times in 13 attempts last season. His speed and skills in the outfield allow him to be a plus defender at any of the three spots with a decent arm. He has the skills to be a big league regular, with a floor of being a very valuable fourth outfielder.
“We see (him) playing all three (outfield spots). We think he can handle all three at an above-average clip,” Hazen said.
From Toronto for Robbie Ray
LHP Travis Bergen
The 26-year-old left-handed reliever is one that the D-backs have been interested in for a bit.
“He’s somebody we’ve always liked,” Hazen said. “We actually thought about Rule 5-ing him a couple years ago and we didn’t, so we’ve always kind of had to our eye on him.”
Bergen first hit the majors in 2019 for the San Francisco Giants, struggling by giving up 12 earned runs in 19.2 innings.
Bergen’s contract expired with the Giants and he was a non-roster invitee to spring training by the Toronto Blue Jays in February. He was assigned to the team’s alternate training site in mid-July, and Bergen has made only one appearance for Toronto this season.
“We think he’s made some adjustments, some improvements and he’ll go in that mix in our ‘pen,” Hazen said.
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