With their 3-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last night, the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves in a rough spot. Despite all the money and prospects they spent acquiring talent in the offseason, they are currently 36-44 and a full 13.5 games back of the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants. No matter what hope they clung to at the start of the season, the realistic option for them at this point is to sell at the trade deadline. If they do, the Cleveland Indians should be very interested.
For all the misfortunes of the Diamondbacks' 2016 season so far, they have consistently had a couple intriguing bullpen arms. If the Indians are going into this deadline looking to improve upon their 11th-ranked (AL) reliever ERA, they have plenty of options to pick from the corpse of the Diamondbacks.
First and foremost, if the Indians want a quick rental reliever, they can look at a reliever like Daniel Hudson. The 29-year-old veteran has a 3.26 ERA in 30.1 innings this season but is only under contract until the end of 2016. If the Diamondbacks are sellers, Hudson is probably one of the players they will be the most motivated to move.
If the Indians want to go potentially a bit cheaper, they could target 36-year-old Brad Ziegler instead, who has served as the Diamondbacks closer over the last two seasons. Ziegler is owed a bit more than Hudson ($5.5M compared to $2.7M), but if he is willing to move out of a designated closer and into Bryan Shaw's setup role and if Terry Francona is finally willing to turn away from pushing Shaw onto the mound every other day, it would be a perfect fit for the Tribe.
Alternatively, if the Indians are willing to part with a few more prospects, they could also look at Tyler Clippard. The Diamondbacks signed Clippard to a two-year, $12.3 million deal this offseason, but like many of their signings, it has not resulted in a winning team. Clippard is not having a particularly amazing season -- 3.07 ERA, 4.01 FIP -- but he is striking out 29.7 percent of the batters he faces and has a track record as a solid reliever.
Moving away from relievers, let's a get a little crazy. Dim the lights and make sure no children are reading this post right now, because what if the Indians traded for Jake Lamb? The 25-year-old third baseman is the midst of a breakout season for Arizona with a .286/.366/.584 slash and 16 home runs. He is under team control through 2017 with arbitration carrying him to 2020. If the Indians truly do not see a future in Giovanny Urshela or even Yandy Diaz and the Diamondbacks are really slamming that sell button, maybe something can happen there. Perhaps something built around Tyler Naquin and one of the many young arms in the Tribe system?
Of all the deals that the Indians could make with the Diamondbacks, a Jake Lamb trade is admittedly pretty low on the totem pole of possibilities. But before you angry-comment, sit on it, chew on it, sleep on it. Let it rattle around your head. It's not too crazy.
No matter what the Indians consider doing at the trade deadline, I have to imagine a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks will be at least discussed. The two teams talked during the winter meetings about a trade for Danny Salazar (which obviously is not happening now), and when the Diamondbacks were spurned they went after Shelby Miller instead. They dumped a whole lot of prospects for the struggling pitcher, and now the top of their farm system is looking pretty barren. And on the Indians side of things, no matter who they would want to acquire from Arizona -- save for my loony Jake Lamb suggestion -- it would not take the entire farm. Everybody wins*.
*Except whoever gets sent to Arizona and has to wear their jerseys.