The Arizona Diamondbacks have been very aggressive this offseason in an attempt to win their second National League West Division title in three years. But their apparent strategy to deal from a surplus outfielders is not working and has been at times unorthodox.
They sold low on outfielder Chris Young and top prospect Trevor Bauer, but they strengthened their bullpen and picked up Didi Gregorius, who could be their long-term solution at shortstop.
Once again the rumors have been swirling around one-time MVP candidate Justin Upton. As Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal wrote, the Diamondbacks have talked to the Rangers, Mariners, Padres, Braves and possibly other teams about moving Upton.
Jason Kubel has also been rumored to go to many places, and according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Baltimore Orioles could be an interested party.
The Diamondbacks have young outfielders Gerardo Parra, A. J. Pollock and Adam Eaton under control. Trading away Young appeared to open a spot for at least one of them.
But then the Diamondbacks signed free-agent Cody Ross (via ESPN). While the outfielder gives the Diamondbacks depth to make a trade, the signing has also put them in an unenviable position. Everyone in baseball knows they need to deal one outfielder.
Barring injuries, there is no way the Diamondbacks are committing $26 million to Ross to just sit on the bench.
The leverage in a deal was unnecessarily removed from Arizona by themselves. Instead of bargaining with a desperate Texas Rangers team, who had just lost Josh Hamilton to free agency, the Diamondbacks may now be forced to take a lesser package.
According to Rosenthal, the Rangers would be willing to part with star prospect Mike Olt and a young pitcher such as Martin Perez in a deal for Upton.
The Diamondbacks might rather want to deal Kubel. But, as Heyman wrote, they might not get the pitching return that they desire.
Had Arizona waited to sign Ross or another outfielder until after they pulled off a deal, they might have had more bargaining power.
The Diamondbacks might be stumbling on their own creativity and lack of patience.