If the Arizona Diamondbacks are serious about changing their fortunes this offseason, they should consider trading either Martin Prado or Aaron Hill. Both are good players, but with the development of Chris Owings, Didi Gregorius and Matt Davidson, the D'Backs are in a position where they could potentially move one of the veterans.
Arizona needs pitching, power and payroll flexibility.
Trading Prado would be a tough pill to swallow given that he was traded for Justin Upton less than a year ago. Having to trade Prado to fill other needs would force general manager Kevin Towers to acknowledge that he waited too long to deal Upton and did not get enough of a return.
Trading Hill might be a little bit easier to stomach, partially because the D'Backs rescued him off of the scrap heap of the Toronto Blue Jays and the cost was only Kelly Johnson. Hill is a valuable player when healthy, but staying healthy has been an issue for him recently. Hill provides offensive production from a position where most teams are looking for defense first and offense second.
Hill could have value in that he is under team control until 2017 at a pretty reasonable $35 million.
I would suggest potentially moving catcher Miguel Montero, but due to his poor 2012 season and the remaining money on his contract, I can't really see a team trading for him unless the D'Backs are taking a bad contract back or eating a lot of money.
The D'Backs have backed themselves into a corner. They have almost $80 million tied up into too few players, leaving very little room for improving the 2014 squad without getting very creative.
This should be a season where the D'Backs take a step back and try to regroup, but due to the uncertain contract status of Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, it is unlikely that the 2014 Diamondbacks will focus on development. Both men will be aiming to keep their jobs, even if their roster tells them otherwise.
The Cardinals came up short in the World Series. St. Louis has the ability acquire Hill, and such a trade would provide a huge boost the Cards lineup. Hill would give St. Louis the ability to move Matt Carpenter over to third. He would give St. Louis much-needed offensive production.
And the D'Backs could acquire one of St. Louis' young arms.
If Arizona can acquire a good young pitcher, it might take the sting out of trading Jarrod Parker and Max Scherzer. A rotation built around Archie Bradley and Patrick Corbin would be a fine starting point for Arizona, and Wade Miley would benefit from being at the back of the rotation.
Signing big-ticket free agents is unlikely given Arizona's payroll restrictions. Trading away Bradley or Corbin makes zero sense if the object is to make the team better in the short and long term.
The Snakes will also have to make a decision when it comes to Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy. Neither pitcher has lived up to his billing, and both pitchers are highly overpaid. Cahill might be more valuable simply due to his age and the fact that teams might view him as someone who can thrive in a better environment for pitchers.
The D'Backs have much to do this winter. They will have to be creative to do it.