The Athletic’s Bowden: Diamondbacks should eye relievers at MLB trade deadline

Jun 13, 2024, 11:48 AM | Updated: 12:42 pm

Manager Torey Lovullo (L) and general manager Mike Hazen of the Arizona Diamondbacks...

Manager Torey Lovullo (L) and general manager Mike Hazen of the Arizona Diamondbacks meet before Game Three of the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on October 11, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

As the Arizona Diamondbacks limp through their season with starters on the shelf, prolonged absences into July could force the D-backs’ front office to consider adding starting pitching at the trade deadline to make a playoff push.

That’s still a way off.

Realistically, the Diamondbacks could improve while being in a holding pattern as a return of those starting pitchers, not to mention outfield Alek Thomas, resets the season.

If anything, the D-backs could bolster their bullpen at the deadline. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden believes finding reliever help should be Arizona’s priority. He listed out a handful of potential targets.

RP: Michael Kelly, Dylan Floro, Reed Garrett, T.J. McFarland, Austin Adams, Lucas Erceg, Dylan Floro, Steven Wilson, Jason Foley, JoJo Romero

Like the Giants, the Diamondbacks have a strong trio of starting pitchers on the IL — Zac Gallen, Eduardo Rodriguez and Merrill Kelly — and they’re hoping all three are ready to return by the end of July if all goes well. In the meantime, they’re looking to add a reliever as well as some starting pitching depth at the deadline. They are open to bringing in another bat, too.

Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said that the team will remain active — and already is — in trade talks with the postseason in mind.

But he does not appear worried about starting pitching being a top need.

“We’re already starting to make a lot of calls, obviously, and field a lot of calls,” Hall told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Thursday. “It’s gonna feel like we made some huge trades at the trade deadline when we get these guys back. We talked about that rotation and when we do have Gallen back and when we get Kelly and Rodriguez — maybe it’s right around the All-Star break (July 15-18). Whenever that happens, it’s going to feel like a major trade that took place and improved this ballclub.

“I’m not sure you need to address starting pitching but we’re always looking at improving. If it’s gonna take a starting pitcher coming in that makes a lot of sense for us, or a reliever coming in, a position player, we’re going to look at all areas. Just like we were last year, we’re going to be very aggressive.”

What do the D-backs have to offer?

The good news is the D-backs are facing roster crunch questions already. Arizona this week assigned Pavin Smith and his fourth-best OPS of .829 (27 games) to Triple-A Reno. The eventual return of Thomas from injury and Randal Grichuk’s strong play in 42 outings will force limited playing time to Smith and Jake McCarthy. That’ll be especially true if Corbin Carroll continues to find offensive traction.

In the infield, manager Torey Lovullo must juggle starting third baseman Eugenio Suarez’s abysmal offensive season with Kevin Newman and Blaze Alexander fighting for at-bats now that Geraldo Perdomo is back at shortstop.

Bowden lists several of those involved D-backs players as worthy trade targets.

He has Alexander as a target of the Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants.

Newman is also listed as a shortstop target for the Red Sox, while McCarthy is named by Bowden as a player the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves should consider before the MLB trade deadline.

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The Athletic’s Bowden: Diamondbacks should eye relievers at MLB trade deadline