Diamondbacks in tough spot

By Matt Verderame

The Arizona Diamondbacks were supposed to be one of the best teams in Major League Baseball this season. Instead, the Diamondbacks went out and traded for star pitcher Shelby Miller and signed Zach Greinke to more than $34 million per year, hoping to propel themselves into the championship chase.

Instead, things went south from the start. Arizona never competed in the National League West, sitting in the cellar alongside the San Diego Padres from April until the present day. The Diamondbacks are 37-47 and 15 games behind the San Francisco Giants for first place. In other words, it is time to start thinking about when to sell and who to send packing.

For most teams, this is an easy grouping of choices to make. This is not the case for the Diamondbacks.

Arizona has some quality, young players. However, they are also under team control for years with arbitration for seasons ahead. If the Diamondbacks want to strip the team to bare bones and rebuild, it would make sense to trade some of the bigger names such as Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt, who is having another fine season with a .292 average, 15 home runs and 55 RBI. Goldschmidt is the biggest name on the roster and signed for three more seasons at a salary that eventually reaches $14.5 million in the final year.

In essence, general manager Dave Stewart has to make the ultimate decision. How does he reload a team with good, young talent, but also huge contracts weighing down his options?

Stewart might be wise to hold onto Goldschmidt, Jean Segura, Jake Lamb and A.J. Pollack. Those players should be the core moving forward, but perhaps moving Greinke would make sense. Greinke is signed through the 2021 at $35 million per season. Already be 32 years old, Greinke won’t have many great years ahead. Still, a contending team might jump at the chance to add a front-line starter, especially with Greinke already having 10 wins on a bad squad this year.

It might take eating some salary, but moving Greinke’s massive contract would open up other possibilities for Stewart. He could also add another young part or two while keeping Miller and hoping the youngster rebounds from a wildly disappointing 2016. Arizona could also move outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who is a good player but not a core piece. Considering he is inked through 2020, he could bring back a nice prospect.

Arizona has to come to terms with some tough choices. Holding onto the exact same roster and waiting for a different result in 2017 is insanity, something Stewart has to know will likely result in his ousting.

The Diamondbacks know that the trade deadline on Aug. 1 is a huge opportunity. They need to take advantage of the moment.