Last-place Diamondbacks are preparing for a fire sale

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Arizona’s front office is in flux, with Tony La Russa coming in and both general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson seemingly unlikely to stick around, and not surprisingly the last-place Diamondbacks are hoping to unload some of their veteran players for long-term help before the July 31 trade deadline.

Who exactly could be available? According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic just about every veteran player except All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, but the problem is that most of them aren’t having good seasons and/or have undesirable contracts.

Right-hander Brandon McCarthy, left-hander Oliver Perez, outfielders Cody Ross and Mark Trumbo, and second baseman Aaron Hill will likely be shopped around, and Eric Chavez and Bronson Arroyo are other trade candidates if they can get healthy. And it’s possible that the Diamondbacks could look to trade Martin Prado or Gerardo Parra if the other guys don’t generate enough interest to bring back significant long-term building blocks.

Piecoro quotes one scout as saying that there’s “not a lot of pieces to move” and another scout as saying that “the pieces they will want to move will only get a marginal return because of the money involved.”

In other words: Tony La Russa may have his hands full with this remodel job.

Adrian Beltre cleared for extended spring training

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Adrian Beltre has been on the disabled list all year because of nagging right calf strain, but he’s about to take a big step toward getting back to action.

Beltre has been cleared to begin playing in extended spring training games. He’ll commence them tomorrow at the Rangers facility in Surprise, Arizona. After three games the team’s doctors will reevaluate him. If things go well, he’ll likely be sent off for a full minor league rehab assignment.

Joey Gallo has filled in for Beltre all season, bringing a lot of power but not much else to the table. While Beltre is 38, his all-around game would be welcomed back on the field and his leadership would be welcomed back in the Rangers clubhouse. On a personal note, Beltre is only 58 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

Barring a setback, he’ll be back with the big club in early June and will hit the milestone eventually.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.