The Arizona Diamondbacks, losers of three straight, swapped relievers with their Class AAA affiliate on Tuesday: right-hander Yhency Brazoban and left-hander Alberto Castillo are in; righties Esmerling Vasquez and Bryan Shaw are out.
And if those fixes don’t work, more expensive bullpen reinforcements could arrive soon.
Diamondbacks president/CEO Derrick Hall told FOXSports.com on Tuesday that first-year general manager Kevin Towers will have the ability to add payroll leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“We’ve got the flexibility,” Hall said in a Tuesday telephone interview. “Our ownership group is willing to invest in this team. We’ve told KT, ‘If we’re in it, we’ll do whatever it takes to support you.’”
Arizona opened the season with a payroll of $53.6 million, sixth-smallest in the majors, according to the USA Today salary database. And now the Diamondbacks have become one of the surprise teams in baseball; they entered play Tuesday night only 2 1/2 games back of San Francisco in the National League West.
Diamondbacks officials are hopeful that Brazoban and Castillo can help a bullpen that had grown thin in the middle. Brazoban’s fastball has reached 96 miles per hour in the minor leagues, a source said, and Castillo’s deceptive arm slot could help his effectiveness against left-handed batters.
Meanwhile, Diamondbacks scouts will continue evaluating outside options. Ironically, the team with the most relievers to auction appears to be the San Diego Padres – the organization that fired Towers as its GM after the 2009 season. A number of San Diego executives previously worked for Arizona, and vice versa. But in this instance, that would probably hinder, rather than help, the consummation of a deal. In addition to that, the teams play in the same division.
So, Towers will probably need to shop elsewhere. One name to keep in mind is Minnesota’s Matt Capps, who had a bumpy May but has a 1.00 ERA over his last nine appearances.
— Jon Paul Morosi