MLB insider: If D-backs decide to sell, will likely move bullpen pieces

Jun 29, 2016, 10:33 AM | Updated: 1:31 pm

As the MLB trade deadline approaches, the question of whether or not the Arizona Diamondbacks plan on being buyers or sellers is nearly impossible to answer.

Their disappointing record of 36-44 entering play Wednesday would lead one to believe they should be looking to sell, with an eye on the next couple of seasons after this one.

However, they are just 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, and have played better of late.

Complicating matters further could be the fact that ace Zack Greinke, whose stellar pitching helped contribute to the team’s recent surge, left Tuesday’s game with what has been described as an oblique injury.

No one is quite sure just how many starts the right-hander figures to miss, but if it’s more than a couple, the D-backs’ chances of competing for a playoff spot — slim as they may have already been — would seem likely to pretty much vanish.

Given that, might it make sense for the team to sell at the deadline?

According to MLB insider Jon Morosi, maybe.

“I think the Diamondbacks have been right in that middle ground for a long time, buy or sell,” he said on the MLB Network Wednesday morning. “Certainly they began the season with such great expectations, but they’ve never really recovered from the A.J. Pollock injury, and now of course the news about Zack Greinke maybe needing to go on the DL as well with that oblique injury.”

The team has certainly struggled to replace Pollock, who was lost in the days just before the opener with an elbow injury. Last week D-backs president Derrick Hall said the All-Star will “be back sooner than we thought,” though there has been no word of a target date for his return.

If it turns out Greinke’s injury isn’t too serious and the team can stay within striking distance until Pollock returns, perhaps the D-backs could make a late postseason push. But if not, or at least if the team feels like it makes sense to focus more on the future than the present, then some deals may be looked into.

“If the Diamondbacks decide to become sellers as a result of Greinke’s injury,” Morosi added, “I think we could see their bullpen guys moved first. The likes of Brad Ziegler, Daniel Hudson as well, because I think they want to keep that position player group together among those players because I really think they have a chance to maybe make some noise in 2017 if not in 2016.”

This is not the first time Ziegler and Hudson have come up in trade speculation. Both are slated to become free agents after this season, and each has been pretty effective when called upon. According to FOX Sports baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal, teams have inquired about both pitchers, though the D-backs were planning on looking into possibly extending their contracts before trading them away.

Ziegler has converted 16 of 18 save opportunities, posting a 2.88 ERA in 34.1 innings. Hudson, meanwhile, has a 3.26 ERA and 14 holds across 30.1 innings. The 29-year-old was a 16-game winner in 2011 as a starter, but multiple elbow injuries cost him the 2013 campaign as well as most of 2014, and he’s been a member of the bullpen since.

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MLB insider: If D-backs decide to sell, will likely move bullpen pieces