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Kurkjian: D-backs seem to lack ‘truly marketable’ trade pieces

It’s hard to imagine that Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers will sit on his hands as the trade deadline approaches, given his team’s league-worst record and franchise-high payroll.

You’d think, given the circumstances, that trades beyond the two he has made involving pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Joe Thatcher are on the horizon.

But the mere fact that Towers’ team has suffered a heap of failure so far in 2014 doesn’t necessitate a heap of changes prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, at least according to one.

When ESPN senior baseball writer Tim Kurkjian joined Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo show Wednesday to discuss the team’s outlook and approach as the month progresses.

“I just don’t think they have many truly marketable players, you know, players that can really bring you back what you need,” he said, frankly.

“You’re not going to trade your very best players, because that’s why they’re there — so you can win more games down the line.”

But Diamondbacks fans ought not lose hope. Kurkjian points out that things can change quickly in baseball, as can be seen with teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers — for better or for worse — this season. Health, a few key pieces and an uptick in performance, he seems to suggest, could go a long way for the team next season, though their 40-56 record this season makes things look awfully bleak until then.

“We also know that teams get really good and really bad in a real hurry in Major League Baseball today,” he went on.

“To look at the Diamondbacks and say, ‘Oh, they’ve had a terrible year; they haven’t been to the playoff in years; let’s just blow this thing up and trade everyone’ — that doesn’t make any sense, either.”

Key players like second baseman Aaron Hill, third baseman Martin Prado, catcher Miguel Montero — all of whom have been linked to trade rumors as of late — are just the types that Kurkjian suggests Towers ought to hang on to, for the sake of next season.

“They have to try to get better for next year and the way to do that is to hang on to their best players unless someone comes along and overwhelms them,” he explained. “But right now, they don’t have a whole lot of guys with a whole lot of value.”

Trading just for the sake of being a seller — fitting the bill of a losing team — is pointless, the analyst concluded. It has to be purposeful to make a true difference.
“You’ve got to make the right trades this time of year, and if it doesn’t present itself then you don’t make it.”