What are the Diamondbacks Doing?
Going into the year it was a pretty surefire thing that the Arizona Diamondbacks would not be competing this year or even in the near future. The Diamondbacks have quite a few decent young players, a young roster overall, and arguably one of the best hitters on the planet in Paul Goldschmidt.
Their offense has been great this year (one of the best in the National League) but their pitching staff has struggled to find any consistency. It is clear they are still in somewhat of a rebuild but they have made a few puzzling moves this season that seem to suggest otherwise.
Their first move was trading Outfielder Mark Trumbo as half salary dump and half an attempt to open up an outfield position for Yasmany Tomas. This made sense given the lack of need for Trumbo but a more recent trade raised a few more eyebrows. The Diamondbacks then traded their number one pick from last year, Touki Toussaint, to the Atlanta Braves along with veteran pitcher Bronson Arroyo for a low level prospect.
This trade was most clearly a salary dump of Arroyo but a puzzling trade for a team in need of pitching help. Many have suggested that the Diamondbacks perhaps are ready to spend money, either at the deadline or in the offseason, and are clearing as much salary as they can to make that happen. Perhaps the Diamondbacks could go even further and dump more salary at the all star break.
The D’backs are still in striking distance in the NL West but seem to lack the pitching talent in order to go along with their stellar offense towards competing this year. What seems more likely is that the D’backs are shooting for some offseason spending in order to field a competitive team for next year. Until the D’backs make another move, it will continue to be puzzling as to what direction their franchise is going.
The San Diego Padres Impending Dumpster Fire
Last but not least it is time to discuss something close to my heart: the Padres impending dumpster fire. After getting swept by the lowly Mariners in a two game series at Petco the Padres found themselves a season low 6 games below .500 at 37-43 and a season high seven games back of the first place Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.
It seems like not a single player on the Padres is playing with any heart, desire, passion, or effort. Ever since the firing of Bud Black it seems like the Padres roster is filled with a bunch of zombies simply going through the motions of playing baseball every day and collecting their paychecks.
Pat Murphy can’t really be blamed for this lackadaisical attitude because it really shouldn’t be expected that a new manager can come in midseason and fix all of teams problems. At this point, based on their performance on the field, the Padres really have nothing going for them and no bright spots to be highlighted. In the month of June nearly every offseason acquisition, and really every player on the roster, has been downright terrible.
The Padres were shut out in back to back games against the Seattle Mariners and only managed four hits in 18 innings of play. From the top of the lineup to the bottom the Padres are getting nearly no production. In the month of June, Justin Upton hit .196, Derek Norris hit .168, Matt Kemp hit .243, Will Middlebrooks hit .187, and Melvin Upton hit .147 while Wil Myers still sits out following wrist surgery.
Last year’s roster holdovers such as Will Venable, Alexi Amarista, Clint Barmes, Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, and Yonder Alonso are doing better than new acquisitions but not by much. As a team for the month of June the Padres found themselves 27th with a wRC+ of 86, 27th with a wOBA of .288 as well as 27th with a .231 batting average.
As a team the Padres have been offensively terrible and the pitching has not been that much better. By ERA they are 24th for the month of June although they do find themselves 6th in FIP which is a bit of a bright spot for a team that had a horrible month of June. They finished the month 12-15 and have really taken a step back from the high expectations before the season.
None of the trades have worked out the way they had hoped and the signing of James Shields has been a bit of a bust as well. On top of that, it seems that not a single player on the roster is playing with any fire or passion. Supposed team leader Matt Kemp seems to be completely disinterested in playing and is almost at the point of being an embarrassment out there. I won’t even mention Jedd Gyorko and the disaster that he is and has been.
The Padres face a tough ten game road trip before the All Star Break where they play against three playoff contenders in St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Texas. If the Padres struggle up to the All Star Break it seems more and more likely they could be headed towards some sort of dumpster fire at the trade deadline. Whether it is a limited sale or a full on team-wide fire sale remains to be seen but what is for certain is the Padres have been quite an embarrassment in the month of June and need to do something to get some fire under them if they hope to salvage the season.
Thanks for reading my little rant and stay tuned for another edition of Brewer’s Banter next Friday!