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The D-backs are interested in trading a key player for a starter

This past week Major League Baseball was dominated by pitchers. Francisco Liriano and Justin Verlander threw no hitters while guys like Anibal Sanchez flirted with no-nos. The Arizona Diamondbacks haven’t been quite that lucky this year.

Their starting pitchers have the second worst ERA in the majors (5.06) and opponents are hitting .271 against them. The poor pitching has already cost Barry Enright his spot in the rotation and it may be leading the D-backs front office to consider adding another pitcher.

According to’s Ken Rosenthal the team may be interested in acquiring a starter via trade.

In this, the Year of the Pitcher II, teams with strong offenses are in excellent position to trade for pitching. The Diamondbacks, in particular, seem ideally suited to make such a deal. But the player they are most likely to move, second baseman Kelly Johnson, is batting .175/.256/.317.

If Johnson is the trade bait right now, you’d have to imagine the pitcher they’d get in return wouldn’t be much better than the options they currently have in place. If he can return to his 2010 form though, it could become an intriguing option. With the emergence of guys like Ryan Roberts and Willie Bloomquist in the infield who are hungry for playing time, Johnson has become more expendable.

At 15-18 it isn’t quite clear whether the D-backs will be buyers or sellers come the trade deadline this July. If they can stay near the .500 mark and Johnson’s batting average can get over the .250 mark the idea of selling him to pick up a quality starting pitcher becomes very attractive.