Even though the Diamondbacks have agreed to a monster contract with Zack Greinke, rumors persist that Arizona still wants another starting pitcher. That has led to more talk they could have more discussions with the Braves about right-hander Shelby Miller.
Buster Olney tweeted Saturday afternoon about a possible deal. It’s obvious the Braves want A.J. Pollock in a trade from Arizona for Miller, while the Diamondbacks have said Pollock is off limits.
The Braves want a bat in return for Miller, but you can almost guarantee they would also want a young pitching arm in the trade. That’s been their style in this rebuilding process – to get pitching in every deal.
If the Diamondbacks push for Miller, but demand to hold onto Pollock, could there still be a trade? Well, sure anything is possible. And one thing to remember – now that teams are able to trade players from the previous draft (instead of having to wait a full calendar year) you have to keep that in mind.
Would the Diamondbacks include Jake Lamb in a trade? He’s the 25-year-old third baseman who took over as the main third baseman for Arizona last season. Lamb hit .263 with six home runs, 34 RBI and a .331 on base percentage in his 390 plate appearances. Lamb played in 37 games in 2014, so his combined numbers in the big leagues include a .254 batting average, .314 OBP, 10 HR, 45 RBI, 19 doubles in 523 plate appearances.
Lamb had 15 home runs in the minor leagues in 2014 and 13 homers in 2013, so his power looks to be in the 15-20 potential. Is he a younger version of Chris Johnson, or is his ceiling higher?
The Braves had interest in Yasmany Tomas before he signed a free agent contract with Arizona. Tomas hit .273 with Arizona last season with nine home runs, 48 RBI and a .305 OBP. Tomas played 57 games in right field and 31 games at third base. Do the Braves already have this player in Hector Olivera?
Could the Braves want Brandon Drury back? Atlanta included Drury in the Justin Upton trade before the 2013 season. Drury made his big league debut last season and hit just .214 in 59 plate appearances with two home runs and eight runs batted in. Last year in the minors, split between AA Mobile and AAA Reno, Drury hit .303 with five home runs, 61 RBI, 40 doubles and a .344 on base percentage.
Drury had a remarkable 2014 season, hitting .299 with 23 home runs and driving in 95 for Arizona’s two teams in Single-A. He’s played second, short and third in his pro career, so Drury offers versatility.
Peter O’Brien also made his major league debut last season, hitting .400 in just 12 plate appearances. O’Brien came over from the Yankees in the Martin Prado deal. The Braves have gotten a lot of former Yankees’ prospects in the last year with the influence of former Yankees’ scouts in the revamped front office.
O’Brien hit .284 in Reno last season with 26 home runs, 107 RBI and 35 doubles. He was a catcher with the Yankees, but the Diamondbacks moved him to the outfield. He’s a hitter, which might interest the Braves.
What about Ender Inciarte? He’s played parts of two seasons with Arizona in all three outfield spots. Last season, Inciarte hit .303 with a .338 OBP, 21 stolen bases, six home runs, 45 RBI and 27 doubles.
The Braves will want Aaron Blair back in return. That’s just a perfect fit. Blair might become another Shelby Miller. He’s a tall (6-5) right-handed pitcher and after 12 starts in AAA, Blair might be ready to join Atlanta’s rotation from day one in 2016.
What about Miller and Christian Bethancourt to the Diamondbacks for O’Brien, Drury and Blair? That would give the Braves another option for the outfield. They can see how O’Brien does as a corner outfielder. Yes, they already have Olivera in left and Nick Markakis in right field. But maybe that would open up a trade of Markakis back to Baltimore? Then Drury can play either third or second, while Blair could immediately join the Atlanta rotation.
It’s just a thought. But the Braves and Diamondbacks seem to have some common ground on a potential deal. We’ll see if something can be worked out in Nashville this week at the winter meetings.
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