Arizona Diamondbacks announce untouchable players

It has been a forgettable 2014 season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have the worst winning percentage in the National League and are near the bottom of every major statistical category.

Every July, teams at the bottom of the standings trade their desirable players to contending teams for future assets. The Diamondbacks have already proved they are willing to make moves. They traded Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana to the Angels and subsequently traded Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees the very next day.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, various Diamondbacks players contending teams have inquired about will be unavailable to trade before the July 31st deadline.

Some of the players Rosenthal mentioned as untouchable were no surprise. Paul Goldschmidt is a franchise player who is signed through 2018 with a club option of extending him through 2019. Patrick Corbin was the team’s ace going into spring training before having a season ending Tommy John surgery on his elbow. He is a promising 24-year-old pitcher who is signed until 2019.

The remaining players listed are all under club control for quite some time and are part of the Diamondback’s future plans. Trading them would make little sense. The Diamondbacks are in a rebuilding phase but that does not involve trading the pieces they see in their long term plan. The one player MLB executives are surprised to see on the list is relief pitcher Brad Ziegler.

Brad  Ziegler (Rob Shumacher/azcentral sports)

Brad Ziegler (Rob Shumacher/azcentral sports)

Ziegler is an outstanding setup man with a career ERA+ of 169, 69 points above league average. He has always been good but 2014 has been a particularly strong year for him. He allows just 6.3 hits per 9 innings which is the lowest of his career and his striking out eight batters per 9 innings, the highest of his career.

Ziegler is wanted and needed by contending teams with struggling bullpens like the Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers. He is a sinker ball pitcher who is a ground ball machine. He is signed through 2016 which makes him even more desirable. Whoever would trade for him would get his production in this year’s pennant race and for the next two years.

Marking Ziegler as untouchable is puzzling. He is 34 years old and will not be a part of the Diamondback’s long term plans. Relief pitchers do not often yield a big return in trades, but a pitcher as good as Ziegler could bring back a pair of good pitching prospects. It is interesting that Rosenthal tweeted “probably Ziegler.” Don’t expect Ziegler to be dealt before the July 31 deadline, but the Diamondbacks will trade him if they are blown away by an offer.

In less surprising news, it appears Mark Trumbo will remain in the desert for the foreseeable future. Trumbo was acquired from the Angels in a three-team trade in which the Diamondbacks lost promising outfielder Adam Eaton and young lefty Tyler Skaggs.

The Diamondbacks gave up a lot to get Trumbo. He is a power hitter, slugging .469 per year over his short career and hitting 32 home runs per year, but does not contribute much else. He is a poor defensive left fielder and has more strikeouts than games played. He just got activated to the roster after missing 71 games due to a stress fracture in his left foot. As Rosenthal pointed out, if the Diamondbacks tried to trade Trumbo today, the return would be much worse than what they gave up to get him.

Trumbo is signed through 2017 and is eligible for arbitration at the end of this season. His power bat will play well in Chase Field and he is part of the Diamondback’s long term plan. He makes a reasonable 4.8 million per year and his power bat will protect Goldschmidt in the lineup if manager Kirk Gibson ever decides to read a “Managing 101″ book and protect his best hitter.

With all of these guys listed as untouchable it leaves very few trade possibilities for the Diamondbacks. Many veteran assets the Diamondback’s have are overpaid and most teams don’t want to touch any of those salaries.

  • sasquatch

    I think Goldschmit should be sent to the Badnews Bears as bat boy. He has a lot of people SNOWED.

  • sullyxter

    re right about Gibson. No knowledge of managing. Was an outfielder when he played. With Trammel, he coached for Detroit on a losing team. When Trammel and Gibson left, Detroit begin to win. He has to go.

  • ItsThatBriGuy

    Fangraphs’ advanced fielding numbers suggest Trumbo is, essentially, an average left fielder. His horrific numbers in right field tend to make his overall outfield work look less palatable than does a positional breakdown. (Incidentally, he grades out as a dynamite first baseman. Too bad Goldschmidt can’t play anywhere else.)

  • James Attwood

    “He makes a reasonable 4.8 million per year and his power bat will protect Goldschmidt in the lineup if manager Kirk Gibson ever decides to read a “Managing 101″ book and protect his best hitter.”

    Except Trumbo will be due another increase, something in the vicinity of $7.5 million dollars for 2015 and quite possibly well over $10 million to play in 2016. Providing no defense and truly limited offense is worrisome at those rates. Furthermore, batting Trumbo directly behind Goldschmidt provides very little protection of any sort. Trumbo’s horrendous OBP, combined with his prolific strikeout rate and same-handedness in batting all work against him serving to protect Goldschmidt.