D-backs sorting out options at Winter Meetings
Arizona has desirable prospects, money to spend, but seeking right deals
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Kevin Towers is a man with options.
The D-backs general manager came to the Winter Meetings with a bit of money to spend -- maybe $15 million -- and much sought-after trade chips.
Having the pieces and being willing to deal them are two different things, however.
"I think we have the prospects to go out there and get anybody that's out there, if we want to," Towers said. "It's just a matter of if we want to do it."
As Towers has said time and again, no one on his roster is untouchable, but first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and left-hander Patrick Corbin are not going anywhere.
It is almost a certainty that if the D-backs wanted to acquire Rays lefty David Price or White Sox southpaw Chris Sale, the package would have to start with top prospect right-hander Archie Bradley.
"I would say it would be very, very tough for us to move Archie," Towers said. "We really think Archie's got a chance in the very near future to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. I would say that if his name is mentioned in any deal, it's probably a non-starter for us."
Arizona, however, appears willing to deal young left-hander Tyler Skaggs as well as its surplus of shortstops and center fielders.
The D-backs met with the Angels on Monday, prompting speculation that the two teams could be a match for a trade.
Arizona is interested in Angels slugger Mark Trumbo, but the Angels are looking for an established middle-of-the-rotation starter in a deal, rather than banking on a prospect like Skaggs.
It's possible the D-backs could deal Trevor Cahill in a trade for Trumbo, but one baseball source said the discussions with the Angels should not be categorized as "serious" right now.
Towers declined to comment specifically on Trumbo, and when Angels GM Jerry Dipoto was asked if his team was a match with the D-backs he said, "Still trying to figure it out, like with a lot of teams."
The D-backs also made what one source called "an inquiry" into free-agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, but he is expected to command a monster deal.
It is not surprising that the D-backs were linked to many players.
"First day, just trying to get with as many teams as you can," Towers said. "Try to meet with as many agents as we can and teams that we think that we match up well with and then tomorrow try to narrow it down to people that we think we could really do business with or not."
The D-backs would still like to acquire a power bat for a corner outfield spot as well as a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. It's possible they could get both, but not through the same method.
"I just don't think probably we have the financial wherewithal to be real aggressive for a free-agent hitter and a free-agent pitcher," Towers said. "We're not going to empty the cupboard of all our prospects either."
In other words, if they get a pitcher through the free-agent market, the hitter would probably come via a trade, and vice versa.
Teams seem to be flush with cash at the moment, which has driven up the price of free agents and in turn has made teams ask for more when it comes to trades.
"The price is pretty high right now," Towers said. "That's the problem. The player acquisition of what prospects you have to give up, it's a lot."
The D-backs will not pursue free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz due to his history with performance-enhancing drugs, but would place a bid on Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka if the new posting process includes a maximum bid of $20 million.
The D-backs have an offer out to free-agent infielder Eric Chavez, but Chavez has told them he wants to wait to see what moves the team makes because while he would like to stay, his main goal is to play for a team that looks like a playoff contender.
And despite being linked to so many players as well as having trade chips, the D-backs might end up leaving the Meetings having not made any moves.
"It's so hard to ever read timing on things because you may think there's something there and they've got two or three other things that are going on with other clubs that may make more sense for them," Towers said.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.