As the offseason winds down and Spring Training approaches, the Jays are left several cards short of a stacked deck. Positions that still need attention are well known, so I won't waste your time explaining why the Jays need a second baseman, a couple right handed relievers, and potentially a starting pitcher and centre fielder. Instead, we will look at one place where a lot of these pieces can be found: The Arizona Diamondbacks.
Yes, the Arizona Diamondbacks were the worst team in baseball, but on every bad team, there are good pieces (and no, I'm not advocating trading for Goldy). A quick look at the Diamondbacks' Depth Chart shows a team with a lot of pieces in positions the Jays do not have depth. Here is a cursory look at the players that play these positions.
David Peralta - Former pitching prospect, redefined himself as an outfielder with a good arm who should stick to the corner outfield spots.
AJ Pollock - Posted his second consecutive 3+ WAR season, this time more on his bat than his excellent defense.
Mark Trumbo - A DH who doesn't hit good enough to be a DH, stuck on a team that doesn't employ a DH. Projected for $5.7m in arbitration this year, his second last year.
Cody Ross - Lefty Masher with surprisingly average defense. Signed last year with the Diamondbacks for 3 years, $26m. Huge disappointment last year, but 2013 was good.
Ender Inciarte - Young burner with great defense and an ability to slap the ball and avoid the strikeout. My personal favorite on the Diamondbacks.
Yasmany Tomas - slated to play third base at the moment, but he is a natural outfielder who would be blocking top prospect Jake Lamb, who started 39 games for the Diamondbacks in 2014. Signed out of Cuba to the Diamondbacks for 6 years, $68.5m.
Chris Owings - Slick fielding, young SS who lost his only competition for the spot when Gregorious was shipped to the MFY.
Aaron Hill - The legend himself, owed $24m over the next 2 years.
Nick Ahmed - Excellent fielding youngster who will make a life of being a solid backup middle infielder.
Cliff Pennington - Defense first middle infielder with good control of strikezone and a slightly below average bat for a middle infielder. Owed $3.3m for 2015.
Nick Punto - Signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training
Josh Collmenter (R) - Low strikeout, low walk and low groundball rates. Consistently outperforms FIP, but is still projected for a -0.1 WAR next year. Owed $1.45m in 2015.
Rubby De La Rosa (R) - Average walk and strikeouts, slightly above average groundball. Steamer of 0.2
Jeremy Hellickson (R) - Average strikeouts, low walks and low groundball. Steamer of 1.2.
Allen Webster (R) - Thus far low strikeouts, high walks and average groundball. Steamer of 0.1
Vidal Nuno (L) - Average strikeouts, better than average walks, below average strikeouts. Steamer of 1.1.
Trevor Cahill (R) - Uptick in strikeouts last year, but generally below average. High walks, great groundball rate. Steamer of 1.3. Owed $12min in 2015.
Chase Anderson (R) - Above average strikeouts, average-ish walks and groundballs. Steamer of 1.1
Daniel Hudson (R) - Just came back from double TJ surgery, could very well be headed for the bullpen for the rest of his career. Average strikeouts and groundballs, low number of walks. Steamer of 0.1.
Addison Reed (R) - Former White Sox closer (that should be red flag enough on it's own). High strikeouts, low walks and groundballs. Was great in 2013, replacement last year. Projected for $3.8m in first round of arb.
Evan Marshall (R) - High strikeouts, average walks, excellent groundball rate. 2.89 FIP last year.
Matt Reynolds (L) - Had TJ in 2013. Should be good to go now. Average strikeouts and groundballs, low walks.
Matt Stites (R) - Power fastball. Average strikeouts and groundballs, high walks. Steamer FIP of 3.84.
Oliver Perez (L) - Owed $2.5m for 2015. Great strikeout rate, average walks and below average groundball. 3.16 xFIP last year.
David Hernandez (R) - Had TJ. Should be back May or so. High strikeouts, average walks and low groundball. Steamer FIP of 3.50. Owed $2m for 2015.
Brad Ziegler (R) - Low strikeouts, average walks, exceptionally high GB%. $5m for 2015, option for '16 worth $5.5m with $1m buyout.
Randall Delgado (R) - Transitioned to bullpen, saw a spike in strikeouts as well as walks. Groundball rate all over the place for his career. Projected for a 3.95 FIP.
Robbie Ray (L) - Highly sought after young lefty. Munirs showed good strikeout rate. Average walks and below average groundballs in his first 29 innings for the Tigers last year. Projected for 4.11 FIP.
Andrew Chafin (L) - Young, good groundball rate in his 14 innings in 2014. Low strikeouts throughout minors. 4.64 FIP projected.
Another thing you may have noticed on the Diamondbacks' Depth Chart is that it contains one name at the catcher position: Tyler Gosewisch. Over 55 career games, he has produced a 33 wRC+ which, combined with his decent defense, has made him a -0.2 WAR catcher. This is a team that Dioner Navarro should be asking AA to send him to, as the starting spot would be his, even if he struggles.
But who else? The Diamondbacks aren't likely to be competing in 2015, so prospects with high ceiling but are a few years off would likely be their objective. Guys like Tirado, Labourt, Smith, Nay and Osuna would probably interest them, but should only be included if the return brings back guys with years of control. And Sanchez is always an option in my books, so long as he brings back good value.
My top targets, one for each hole, would be:
CF - Inciarte, although he won't likely be moved given that he has an option and 6 years of control left. However, he is the only outfielder I'd be interested in.
2B - Pennington, as he can also cover SS well if the need arises. He matches up well for a trade with Navarro money and commitment wise, but may not be enough for a straight up trade.
SP - If it wasn't for Cahill's $12m salary, I'd be all over trading for him. If they'd consider moving Anderson, he'd my target. That changeup is filthy.
RP1 - Marshall is definitely at the top of my list. Years of control, excellent strikeout and groundball rates. It would take a lot to pry him away though.
RP2 - I think Reed would be a good addition to the Jays.
A trade for Inciarte, Pennington, Anderson, Marshall and Reed will likely cost the Jays a fair bit in value. To get all 5, it may take Navarro, Sanchez, and Nay, possibly more. I would be OK with those 3, but more than that is probably a little steep.
All that being said, even a trade for Pennington would be nice. What would you trade with the Diamondbacks?