Ain’t No Fang: 5 Diamondbacks trades to bolster the pitching

Jun 28, 2023, 1:27 PM | Updated: 2:14 pm

Zack Greinke...

Pitcher Zack Greinke #21 of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses with the Rawlings Gold Glove Award before the MLB game against the Boston Red Sox at Chase Field on April 05, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are approaching the halfway point of a season in which they are ahead of schedule and leading the NL West.

Five weeks out from the MLB trade deadline, however, and not much has cleared up regarding the league’s landscape.

With the extra playoff team in each league and not many clubs falling out of their respective races thus far, which teams are sellers remains a pertinent question.

The next month of baseball will shape how the remainder of the season looks, and here are trade ideas from the Ain’t No Fang podcast crew to help boost the roster:

Cardinals trade LHP Jordan Montgomery to the D-backs

The Cardinals are 32-45, but could they find themselves back in the mix in the NL Central with a big July at only 8.5 games back? If not, that’s a team with veteran help throughout the roster.

Montgomery was a trade deadline acquisition last year by St. Louis, which cost it center fielder Harrison Bader and a player to be named later. The 30-year-old has been steady in a turbulent rotation, averaging over 5.5 innings per start with a 3.69 ERA and 3.48 FIP.

Since he became a full-time MLB starter in 2021, he’s been consistent with few walks and a mid-3s ERA without overwhelming stuff. In the simplest terms, he can pitch. The southpaw is in the final year of his contract and could attract to teams looking to rent a starting pitcher for depth. –– Alex Weiner

D-backs trade for Zack Greinke of the Royals

Zack Greinke is a better fit for the Diamondbacks now than when he signed his $206 million mega-contract in 2015. The Snakes are in need of starting pitchers, and Greinke plays for an abysmal team in Kansas City. He doesn’t need to be an ace. He can be a reliable fourth or fifth starter in your rotation.

Greinke is the definition of reliable, having started at least 26 games every year since 2008 (with the exception of 2020’s shortened season). He’s 39 years old but is still crafty when it comes to getting batters out. Maybe Zack intended to retire with the Royals, coming full circle in his career. But if he wants one last chance at a championship, with an organization that he is familiar with, Arizona makes a ton of sense. The Diamondbacks should shoot higher than this, but it’s not a bad move to make even if they trade for a better starting pitcher. — Steve Zinsmeister

 Guardians trade Shane Bieber to D-backs

The D-backs could look to Cleveland for answers to the starting rotation and they should look no further than Shane Bieber. Bieber is 5-5 with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 16 starts for the Guardians this season. While the former AL Cy Young winner has seen his strikeout numbers fall this season (77 Ks in 100 innings), he still is putting together a good season in Cleveland. The D-backs would not be asking Bieber to be their ace, so he would be a huge boost to the rotation as a No. 2 or 3 with Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Arizona could then round out their rotation with a combination of Tommy Henry, Ryne Nelson and Zach Davies.

A nice plus to adding Bieber is that he would be under club control through the 2024 season via the arbitration process. So, this would not be a straight up rental for the D-backs. But, the Guardians may not be sellers due to their weak division being up for grabs.— Cody Fincher

Tigers trade RHP Alex Lange to D-backs

The Tigers are only 4.5 games out in the AL Central, but a 34-43 record with a -70 run differential paints an inauspicious outlook for the rest of the season. Lange has been a bright spot, though, as a closer with 12 saves who misses bats.

His 98th percentile whiff rate is propelled by a curveball opponents are hitting .151 against. Since the start of 2022, he has a 3.51 ERA and 3.21 FIP while punching out 11.7 batters per nine innings.

The thing is, Arizona’s bullpen has actually been pretty good, ranking No. 12 in MLB in ERA (3.84) and No. 8 in FIP (3.69) since the start of May. Scott McGough has been particularly effective in this stretch, but it’s a group without a solidified closer.

Lange is 27 and under team control through 2027, so he could be a long-term contributor if dealt. Many contenders look for bullpen help at the deadline, and a lack of sellers could increase Detroit’s asking price heavily. — Alex Weiner

Royals trade Aroldis Chapman to D-backs

Teams aspiring to make the playoffs always need bullpen help. The Diamondbacks could look to the struggling Royals for that assistance.

After a rough ending to his tenure with the Yankees, Aroldis Chapman has had a bounce-back season so far with the Royals. He has an ERA of 2.63 with a 1.32 WHIP to go along with two saves in 29 games. In 27.1 innings pitched, Chapman has struck out 50 batters while walking 20.

The D-backs haven’t been using a traditional closer this year, as we have seen Andrew Chafin, Miguel Castro and McGough all pitch with the lead in the 9th inning. Chapman would be a nice addition to that mix as he was once one of the top closers in the game.

A big plus is that Chapman’s famous fastball is back to being what it was in years past. His fastball velocity is up two miles per hour this season from last season going from 97.5 mph in 2022 to 99.5 mph in 2023. — Cody Fincher

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