Free agent preview: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have already had an eventful offseason. They traded Chris Young for Heath Bell and Cliff Pennington, and exercised their option on JJ Putz's contract. But this Arizona team is actually set for next year with no major league free agents lined up.

Needs
At shortstop, the Diamondbacks didn't get a lot of production from the injured (and now traded) Stephen Drew, defensive-minded John McDonald, and utility player Willie Bloomquist, but in adding Pennington, they're hoping they can get some sort of consistency at the position. The team also apparently wants a veteran starting pitcher to join Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, and Ian Kennedy in their starting five, which is an odd direction to me considering the breadth of Arizona's minor league pitching depth. Upgrading at third base also could be an option for the team despite Chris Johnson being acquired last July. Johnson qualified as a Super Two this week, and his salary will be taking a big jump in arbitration this year.

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Possible Options
I don't think the Diamondacks will be very active in free agency. I'd imagine they'd inquire on the top starting pitchers (Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez, maybe even former Diamondback Dan Haren) before settling for a trade option if they make a move there at all. As for the third base position, the free agent market is a wasteland at the hot corner and if the D-Backs want to upgrade, it will have to come in a trade.

Trade Options
Now this is where things get interesting. Despite the trade of Young, the Diamondbacks are still keen on moving another outfielder, and superstar Justin Upton is potentially one of the players that Kevin Towers would consider moving. I'm sure trading Jason Kubel would be the more desirable option for him, but Upton would bring in a hell of a return, and could potentially net the Diamondbacks the third baseman or veteran starter they're looking for. Among all of Arizona's young pitching talent they would likely have to move to acquire a veteran starter, I think Ian Kennedy would be most likely to be moved as he's hitting his first year of arbitration this winter. I don't think the team would consider moving Trevor Bauer, but Tyler Skaggs or Pat Corbin might be able to had from Towers in the right deal.

Trade Targets
Obviously when discussing a third baseman, the names David Wright and Chase Headley pop up. Acquiring either would be a coup for Towers, but the likely cost of trading for either would likely have to be a package centered around a young pitcher like Kennedy, Skaggs, or Corbin. In relation to a veteran starting pitcher, I don't think the Diamonbacks will be too pleased about what exactly is out there on the market. Could someone like James Shields (two option years in 2013 and 2014) or David Price (three years of arbitration left) be had from the Rays? What about Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox? It'll be interesting to see just who, if anyone, Towers ends up with, and what the ugly cost of that may be.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and an associate editor at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is smack dab in the middle of some of the best (and worst) sports fans in the country.

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