D-backs determined to add pitcher at Meetings
After dealing two players, Arizona likely looking to sign free-agent starter
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The D-backs pulled off a three-team trade Tuesday to acquire the power bat they desired, but don't expect general manager Kevin Towers to slow down before the Winter Meetings end Thursday afternoon.
"We plan on leaving with a pitcher before we're done," Towers said.
The D-backs are looking for a front-line starting pitcher and spent the first two days of the industry gathering meeting with various agents to determine the cost for free-agent hurlers. After dealing left-hander Tyler Skaggs and outfielder Adam Eaton on Tuesday to acquire outfielder Mark Trumbo, the D-backs have to decide if they can afford to deal any more prospects.
"We've pretty much had all the meetings to get a good idea where all the free agents are at," Towers said Tuesday. "We just have a couple of clubs we have to circle back with to see if we're still a player on the trade front with the two pieces that we moved today. A couple of the potential trades we had, one or the other might have been involved in it. I don't know if we still have enough where it makes sense."
Apparently the D-backs do have enough money to spend, though, with Towers saying that the team's payroll could approach the franchise record of $114 million.
Ervin Santana is still on the market, but he would cost the D-backs a first-round Draft pick. Matt Garza, another free agent, however, would not and it would not be surprising to see the D-backs make a run at him if they decide to go the free-agent rather than trade route.
The D-backs do have a surplus of shortstops left to trade from. In addition to veteran Cliff Pennington, the team has prospects Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings.
As it stands now, Towers envisions Pennington being kept as the backup and a spring competition between Owings and Gregorius for the starting role, with the other starting the year with Triple-A Reno.
Or one of the two could be dealt for a starting pitcher.
"People ask about them," Towers said of the shortstops. "It would have to be the right pitcher. We still feel like we have good prospects in our system."
One player that the D-backs appear intent on keeping is right-hander Archie Bradley, ranked by MLB.com as the organization's top prospect.
It figures that without including Bradley it would be extremely difficult to put together a package for Rays ace David Price.
And the D-backs had been linked to Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija, but it is believed that part of a package for him would have included Skaggs and possibly center fielder A.J. Pollock, whom the D-backs need to hang on to now that they've dealt Eaton.
Towers, though, sounds determined to find a way to add an arm.
"The good thing now," he said following the Trumbo trade, "is we can really narrow our focus to pitching."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.