With Deadline past, D-backs focused on growth

August 3rd, 2022

CLEVELAND -- A few hours prior to Tuesday night's game against the Guardians at Progressive Field, a number of D-backs players were watching MLB Network in the visitors' clubhouse. 

Some had seen their name bandied about in trade rumors, and others were curious as to what moves might be made as the 3 p.m. MST Trade Deadline ticked closer. 

"There are a lot of guys you figure are going to be here, but people like myself and [Christian Walker] and people that have had their names thrown out there, you're kind of counting down," veteran setup man Ian Kennedy said. "You're looking at the clock and at 6 p.m. [ET], we're all out for batting practice, everybody's here, this is the team. There's a little exhale."

Trade Deadline Day was quiet for the D-backs, who dealt outfielder David Peralta to the Rays on Saturday and right-hander Luke Weaver to the Royals on Monday. 

After discovering no one else was going to get dealt, the D-backs went out and beat the Guardians, 6-3, to even the series.

"I know that we're a team that isn't winning," manager Torey Lovullo said of Arizona's 46-57 record. "And we weren't going to be buyers, we were going to be sellers, and the fact that these players remain here and they're still part of the organization, I think should speak volumes as to what we think about them and where we're planning to go. Hopefully, if [the players] were a little tense then, they can relax."

Because of the repetitive rhythm of the baseball grind, players in the sport crave routine, hanging on to what little bit of certainty there is. That's one of the reasons the Deadline can be so stressful. 

"I think there's some relief in just knowing what to expect moving forward," Walker said. "We all know it's the nature of the business, and it can be a stressful time of the year, but I think just being able to settle back in now, we can kind of map out the rest of the year and know what to expect. I think that can be comforting."

While there will be no more trades, this isn't the 26-man roster the D-backs will have for the remainder of the season. 

As Lovullo noted, Arizona is a team that isn't winning, and it's an organization that has a lot of top prospects knocking at the door in the Minors. A number of them will get a look at some point over the next two months.

Case in point is left-hander Tommy Henry, who will be called up from Triple-A Reno to start Wednesday's series finale against the Guardians. He isn't the first to get the call this year, and he most certainly won't be the last. 

One thing the D-backs were not going to do, though, was sell off every veteran they had at the Deadline and go with a team full of inexperienced players. Instead, they will look to veterans like Kennedy -- who notched the save Tuesday -- and Walker to be role models for the younger players. 

"Those are some of the conversations that I've been having with the front office -- that it's nice to have certain guys that will be here and will stick around to be able to stand on the mound in the ninth inning and execute the way Ian did tonight," Lovullo said. "It's a big ask for a young guy, and those younger guys will get there. It's just right now, I think there's a good mixture of guys that are going to bring along some of those youngsters."