Many Diamondbacks fans were left puzzled Saturday when news broke the team had traded former first-round draft pick Touki Toussaint and Bronson Arroyo to Atlanta for Braves infilder Phil Gosselin.
According to the latest Sanderson Ford Poll Question of the day from Sunday, 66 percent disagreed with the trade.
34 percent of voters said they approved of the deal.
Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa told
Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Bickley and Marotta that the team needed to move Arroyo now with the talent currently on the roster.
“When you get a situation like Bronson Arroyo, who’s really a quality pro and unfortunately was hurt for us, we’re going to get younger in our rotation,” La Russa said. “You have the opportunity to create payroll flexibility and we’ll put that in the pot. As we look to improve the club right now, that flexibility will add a key pitcher or a player.”
Arroyo, 38, went 7-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 starts for the D-backs before missing the rest of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He signed a two-year deal in Feb. 2014 that paid him $9.5 million in 2014 and 2015 with an $11 million team option for 2016 or a $4.5 million buyout.
Moving Arroyo will save the team $20.5 million, money that La Russa said will create financial flexibility moving forward.
Toussaint, 19, was the D-backs first round draft choice last year and was 2-2 with a 3.69 ERA in seven starts with Single-A Kane County.
The idea of trading a young pitching prospect can be a bitter pill for D-backs fans to swallow after watching an endless stream of former pitchers have success with other teams, including Max Scherzer.
Scherzer was the Diamondbacks’ first round pick in 2006 before being traded to the Detroit Tigers as part of a three-team trade with the New York Yankees that sent Edwin Jackson from the Tigers and Ian Kennedy from the Yankees to Arizona.
Since leaving the Diamondbacks, the 30-year-old Scherzer won the 2013 AL Cy Young Award after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and recorded 240 strikeouts. He signed as a free agent with the Washington Nationals in the offseason, and in his last two starts, has pitched back-to-back complete games giving up one hit while striking out 26 hitters and coming within a strike from a perfect game Saturday before settling for a no-hitter. His last two starts earned him National League player of the week honors.
“There’s a sensitivity about us trading prospects,” La Russa said. “There has been a move in recent years to take guys like (Trevor) Bauer, (Tyler) Skaggs and so forth to try to win now … this is an atypical move to trade Touki (Toussaint) but it all comes together in our minds because our core is ready to win very soon.”