The Arizona Diamondbacks were on the cusp of going to the playoffs for the second straight year but fell apart in September. They finished with a 82-80 record and third in the NL West. Arizona faces some tough decisions as to rebuild or not because A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin are free agents.
USA Todays Bob Nightengale has speculated that the D-Backs have already made the decision the Diamondbacks are going to rebuild and are listening to offers for Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt among others.
The Arizona #Dbacks could be the most popular team this winter among GMs with the Dbacks expect to strip down the team and rebuild, with virtually everyone on the trade block. They'd love to move Zack Greinke, and will even listen on franchise icon Paull Goldschmidt.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 10, 2018
A great way to start the rebuild would be to move Greinke who will earn over $100 million in the next three years. Greinke is coming off a decent 2018 campaign in which he went 15-11 with a 3.21 ERA and struck out 199 batters. He would be a great addition to a team in need of an ace or number two guy. Arizona could be inclined to eat some of his contract in order to get a decent haul of prospects. Let’s look at some realistic trade destinations for Zack Greinke.
New York Yankees
The Yankees finished with 100 wins but lost in the ALDS to the Boston Red Sox. That has to hurt. New York has two top of the rotation guys in Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino but besides that could use some help. Tanaka has been dealing with injuries and Severino had a disappointing second half and postseason. C.C. Sabathia is 38 years old and cannot pitch forever. Sonny Gray has been a disappointment and needs a change of scenery. J.A. Happ is a free agent and the Yankees liked what he brought to the table but he stumbled in the playoffs.
Greinke brings veteran experience and consistency as he finished the 2017 season with a 3.20 ERA and went 17-7. He had a 3.21 ERA this year and would add stability as a co-Ace/ number three guy. The Yankees have never been shy from paying top dollar for a player.
A trade built around the Yankees 10th, 11th and 15th prospects, Matt Sauer, Garrett Whitlock and Josh Breaux could get trade talks started. Sauer the 19-year-old, went 3-6 with a 3.90 ERA in 13 starts in the minors. He has a fastball in the 92-95 ranges that occasionally reaches 97. The righty is about three years away from being ready and would be able to develop in Arizona’s farm system. He would emerge about a year before Arizona would be ready and would gain valuable experience.
Whitlock went 8-5 with a 1.86 era and struck out 122 batters in 21 starts. The righty similar to Sauer, has a fastball in the mid 90’s and wouldn’t also be ready for at least two years. Whitlock would be able to develop then pitch at the majors for a year or two before Arizona would realistically be finished rebuilding. Breaux, who is 21, hit .269 in 108 at-bats in the minors. The Yankees have an influx in catchers and Breaux could start sooner over in Arizona due to Gary Sanchez.
Arizona would have to eat some of the Greinke contract but this would be worth it for some decent prospects. Greinke would help the Yankees as they make another world series run as he has always been consistent in the playoffs.
The Phillies are coming off a season where they led the NL East for a majority of the season before they fell off in the last two months. They finished third with a losing record but have the money to make a big splash for some high-end talent. A rotation led by Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta and Zack Greinke would be electrifying. Arrieta had a down year but he is only 32 and it would not be a surprise if he returns to his 2017 form when he went 14-10 with a 3.53 era. Greinke would be a formidable number two behind Ace Nola.
A package built around the Phillies number eight and ten prospects, Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin would give Arizona two pitching prospects to build the rotation around. Suarez, a 23-year-old, broke into the majors this year and started three games. He went 1-1 with a 5.40 era with 11 strikeouts over 15 innings. Suarez also spent time in Double and Triple A where he went 6-3 with a 2.75 era in 21 starts. Irvin, who is 24, went 14-4 with a 2.57 era in 26 games at the Triple-A level. The lefty held batters to .227 against him. Irvin is known for his control as he can hit the zone with ease.
The two would give Arizona two capable future starters to build the rotation around. In return, Arizona would eat a good portion of Greinke’s contract. Philly gets a veteran pitcher who is still performing well enough to help contend in the NL East.
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