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.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.