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D-backs' path may rest on 9 games after break

@SteveGilbertMLB
July 10, 2019

When the D-backs traded Paul Goldschmidt last December and lost Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, it looked as though they would enter a rebuilding phase. Instead, general manager Mike Hazen was determined to find a way to contend while retooling. At times this year, the D-backs have

When the D-backs traded Paul Goldschmidt last December and lost Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency, it looked as though they would enter a rebuilding phase. Instead, general manager Mike Hazen was determined to find a way to contend while retooling.

At times this year, the D-backs have looked like contenders, but it seems that just when they’re about to take off, they suffer a losing streak. And each time it looks like they’re about to fall completely out of contention, they find a way to claw their way back to .500.

With no waiver trading allowed in August any longer, the D-backs are running out of time before the July 31 Trade Deadline to figure out whether they’re buyers or sellers.

Current status: Caught in the middle
The next week or so could push the D-backs front office to declare one way or the other what will happen at the deadline. The D-backs open the second half with three road games against fellow Wild Card contender St. Louis. After a two-game series at Texas, they have four games at home against the Brewers.

Whether they buy or sell, the D-backs will continue to try to walk a fine line between the present and the future. Hazen is not a fan of complete teardowns, but he is also mindful of the future. That means if the D-backs do buy, it won’t be at the cost of top prospects, and if they do sell, it likely won’t be for players a long way from the Majors.

What they are seeking
Injuries and ineffectiveness have caused the D-backs to run through their starting pitching depth. With Taijuan Walker not expected to be able to start the rest of the season and Luke Weaver’s return date uncertain, adding to the rotation would seem to be the biggest need.

In his two previous seasons as Arizona’s GM, Hazen has made adding bullpen help at the deadline a priority, as well.

What they have to offer

Outfielder David Peralta, shortstop Nick Ahmed, infielder Jake Lamb and left-handers Robbie Ray and Andrew Chafin are all eligible for free agency after 2020 and could be moved.

In addition, closer Greg Holland and outfielder Adam Jones are both veterans who can be free agents at season’s end.

Ace Zack Greinke’s name might be thrown around. But between the amount still owed to him over the next two-plus years -- including deferred payments, he is owed about $110.5 million, plus a prorated portion of this year’s $21 million base salary -- and his 15-team no-trade clause, it seems like a midseason deal involving him would be too heavy a lift.

Possible scenario

In moving Goldschmidt to the Cardinals last year, the D-backs traded a player who had one year to go before free agency for a pair of big league-ready young players in Weaver and catcher Carson Kelly, who have been solid contributors. It’s possible the D-backs could look to do something similar with Ray, whose strikeout rate, no doubt, will get the attention of contending teams.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.