Diamondbacks a ‘hinge team’ well ahead of MLB trade deadline, Passan says

Jun 4, 2024, 9:56 AM

Joc Pederson at the plate for the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 14,2024. (Felisa Cardenas/Arizona S...

Joc Pederson at the plate for the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 14,2024. (Felisa Cardenas/Arizona Sports).

(Felisa Cardenas/Arizona Sports)

Every change of direction by the Arizona Diamondbacks’ seesaw these next eight weeks could shift their perspective of how they approach the July 30 MLB trade deadline.

Are they the team that put together a five-game losing streak last week or more like one that’s on a current three-game winning streak that followed?

Owner Ken Kendrick in December was pointed in saying a World Series run spurred more willingness for the D-backs to spend money, but that type of comment only leads to wondering about the possibility of the team pulling back the spending reins during less successful times.

It’s why ESPN’s Jeff Passan labels 28-32 Arizona as a “hinge team,” one that could help dictate the activity of the trade deadline.

Two months into the season, the defending National League champions haven’t found their footing, and with a franchise-record $163 million Opening Day payroll, other teams are keeping an eye on the Diamondbacks, thinking owner Ken Kendrick could pursue a reduction. The possibilities Arizona presents are impressive.

Passan fires out the list of potential trade candidates starting with the ever-reliable first baseman Christian Walker and closer Paul Sewald, both on expiring contracts. They would seemingly be trade options if Arizona fumbles clearly out of the playoff picture by the end of July.

More curious options lie in two offseason additions who are meeting the expectations of their current contracts and another who is performing quite below his.

Every playoff team could use an outfielder like Joc Pederson — who has a mutual option for 2025, which means he’ll be a free agent, too — and Randal Grichuk is historically a lefty crusher, though he has a reverse platoon split this season. While third baseman Eugenio Suarez is off to a disappointing start and would command a fair bit of money — the remainder of his $15 million salary, plus a $2 million buyout on a club option for 2025 — he could be popular if Arizona helps pay down what’s owed.

Pederson is owed $14 million if a mutual option is picked up for next season and is hitting .296 and .920 OPS that both lead the D-backs.

Grichuk is sneakily behind him with a .291 average despite seeing about a third of his plate appearances against righties.

On the underperforming end, Suarez is batting .207 with a .593 OPS that, among the D-backs regulars, only sits above struggling star Corbin Carroll.

Passan also lists under-contract relievers Ryan Thompson (1.08 ERA, seven holds) and Kevin Ginkel (4.09 ERA, five saves, four blown saves) as tradeable assets. Their postseason runs in 2023 prop up their resumes.

Point being, the Diamondbacks will have trade options. It’ll be a matter of whether they are in a place to identify winning transactions to keep chasing a Wild Card berth.

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