GM Byrnes casts wary eye at Deadline
Arizona general manager in no hurry to make moves
PHOENIX -- If you had to classify the Arizona Diamondbacks as either buyers or sellers at this year's Trade Deadline, you would have to say the latter.
The D-backs, though, will not be trading players just to move them.
"We're going to be open-minded," GM Josh Byrnes said. "There's not a trade we have to make."
In other words, if you're hoping to get some of his players on the cheap, you're going to be disappointed.
"Change just to make change, we're not at that point," Byrnes said. "We will make a deal if it helps us competitively and with our payroll going forward."
That was the genesis of the trade a couple of weeks ago that sent outfielder Conor Jackson to the A's for reliever Sam Demel. The D-backs liked Demel and obviously had a need in the bullpen. At the same time, Jackson was headed for his third year of arbitration and was due for a raise from the $3.1 million he's making this year.
So the D-backs helped themselves immediately with Demel, while saving themselves some money in payroll next year.
The only untouchable right now appears to be right fielder Justin Upton, but Ian Kennedy's performance as well as low cost makes him very unlikely to go anywhere.
The biggest chip the D-backs have is ace Dan Haren, but they would have to be overwhelmed by an offer to part with him.
Haren is making $8.5 million this year, which will increase to $12.75 in 2011 and 2012. The club holds a $15.5 million option for 2013 that includes a $3.5 million buyout. While that's expensive for a mid-to-low market team, it would be more than affordable for some larger markets.
Haren, who has a limited no-trade clause in his contract, stated a few weeks ago his desire to remain in Arizona, where he owns a house.
"I don't want to leave," Haren said. "I came here in 2008 to put us over the top and with the exception of the first month or two of that season, things haven't gone that great. My goal was to come here. I was so excited to get traded here and I wanted to win here, and it hasn't worked out that way. Ultimately, I want to stay here, but if they choose otherwise, then that's that."
The D-backs certainly would like to move catcher Chris Snyder's contract. Snyder, who has been relegated to a backup role by the performance of Miguel Montero makes $4.75 million this year and is due $5.75 million next year. There is a club option for 2012 at $6.75 million that includes a $750,000 buyout.
First baseman Adam LaRoche and second baseman Kelly Johnson, who were both signed as free agents in the offseason, may appeal to contenders looking to add a bat. LaRoche has a mutual option for next year, which would cost a team $1.5 million to buyout, while Johnson is arbitration-eligible.
With a farm system that has been depleted at the top levels by trades over the last few years, most of the organization's top prospects reside at the lower levels, meaning the D-backs would be looking at receiving young players in any deal they make.
"Again, we'll listen to what people have to say and go from there," Byrnes said. "It has to make sense for us."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.