Ain’t No Fang: Diamondbacks trade deadline ideas, Part 2

Jul 2, 2023, 11:59 AM

Marcus Stroman...

Marcus Stroman #0 of the Chicago Cubs delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field on September 16, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are at 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 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 races thus far, which teams are sellers and how competitive is the market remain pertinent questions.

Arizona will reportedly look inward for roster solutions before making a splash for external help.

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:

Cubs RHP Marcus Stroman 

There’s no doubt that the D-backs need help in the starting rotation. So far this season, it’s been Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly — who went on the 15-day injured list this week with a blood clot — with an assortment of young guys along with Zach Davies. Tommy Henry has had his stretches, but outside of him, they’ve had many guys struggle.  

The answer to their problems could be found in Chicago with Marcus Stroman. Stroman is having a great season with the Cubs so far. He’s 9-6 with a 2.76 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP in 18 starts. He would without a doubt add a lot to this Diamondbacks starting rotation. The downside of a Stroman trade is that he could be strictly a rental player for this season. Stroman has a player-option for the 2024 season worth $21 million, but if he continues to pitch as well as he has been this season, he can become a free agent to get a long-term deal. It’s also possible the Cubs don’t sell if they feel there’s a chance to win the NL Central.

But in a year when the D-backs have a chance to win the NL West and make some noise in the postseason, a deal for a pitcher of Stroman’s caliber would be well worth it. – Cody Fincher 

Tigers RHP Alex Lange

The Tigers are only five games out in the AL Central, but a 36-46 record with a -81 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 .175 against. Since the start of 2022, he has a 3.89 ERA and 3.28 FIP while punching out 11.4 batters per nine innings.

The thing is, Arizona’s bullpen has actually been pretty good, ranking No. 15 in MLB in ERA (3.97) and No. 6 in FIP (3.66) since the start of May. Scott McGough has been particularly effective in this stretch, but its a group without a solidified closer.

Lange is 27 and under team control through the 2027 campaign, 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 price heavily. – Alex Weiner

Cardinals RHP Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks will be a free agent at the end of this season, making him a potentially cheaper relief target. Not to mention his inflated walk rate (5.7 BB/9) could make him available. The appeal to the Diamondbacks is Hicks’ ability to strike guys out and crank out fastballs over 100 miles per hour.

The Cardinals are having a disappointing season after going all in on Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. They could be looking to offload some contracts of players who aren’t going to be around long-term. The Cardinals have plenty of other relievers with years of control (Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley), and their plethora of position players creates a need for pitchers. Maybe a starting pitching prospect and cash could get the deal done. – Steve Zinsmeister

Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes

Why not get a little nuts with this last pick? Burnes has finished in the top seven of the Cy Young race in each of the past three seasons, winning the award in 2021. Only Zack Wheeler and Kevin Gausman have amassed more wins above replacement among starting pitchers since the start of 2021.

Burnes got lit up for seven runs against the D-backs two weeks ago, but he had a 2.89 ERA over his previous nine starts. He’s an ace pitcher for a team currently tied atop the NL Central. The Brewers may have to fall off some in the race and get blown away by a prospect package to move him, especially since he has another year under contract and could be an offseason target instead.

Attaining Burnes would be costly in a seller’s market, so this deal would be an all-in trade for 2023 and 2024. The D-backs have firepower on the farm, but this could be a step too far if the Brewers continue pushing for a playoff spot. – Alex Weiner

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Ain’t No Fang: Diamondbacks trade deadline ideas, Part 2