Are D-backs Buyers or Sellers?

At the All-Star break the Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves three games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League Western Division. The team that many had predicted would be in last place was within striking distance of the defending World Champion Giants. To say the Diamondbacks were outperforming expectations would be an understatement.

Suddenly reports were surfacing everywhere that the Diamondbacks would be active at the trade deadline and for the first time in three years they would be looking at adding a piece or two in hopes of making a run for the playoffs.

After two years at the bottom looking up in the standing that was welcome news to Diamondbacks fans. The mood in the stands was guarded optimism. Wherever you turn you hear fans discussing what they think the team’s primary needs are as July 31 quickly approaches.

That mood and optimism took a major hit when shortstop Stephen Drew lay writhing in pain with his ankle obviously broken. Suddenly the talk of adding a starting pitcher or a reliever seemed like a distant fantasy.

Seeing the team’s most consistent performer sprawled out at the plate with trainers working feverishly on his leg is a reminder of how quickly a team’s fortunes can change in the game of baseball.

Now the fans are questioning whether the Diamondbacks should make any trades at the deadline. It is not that they believe the season is lost. Instead there is some question of whether one or two players would be enough to reach the post season.

Any trade would require the Diamondbacks to give up one or more of their minor league prospects somewhat dimming the bright future the fans can see coming. In 2007 the Diamondbacks were in a similar situation. They had young talent at the major league and minor league levels that seemed poised to take the next step and put the Diamondbacks on top of the division for years to come.

Instead then General Manager Josh Byrnes traded away many of them to win. Names such as Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Quentin, and Jose Valverde were sent packing. This coupled with the loss of ace Brandon Webb led to the long arduous journey to the basement of the standings.

Rather than mortgage the future in hopes of a run this season, most fans queried would prefer a second place return to respectability with the chips in place to make 2012 the beginning of a hopefully long-term run at the NL West.

It’s not that the fans are giving up, they are just wary of a one year run followed by two years of rebuilding. The next week will be interesting. With the next 12 games all against NL West teams it will go along way towards determining whether the Diamondbacks are indeed buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Don’t be surprised though if they stand pat and let the players they have make a run.

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