As if it weren't painfully obvious as they muddle through the 2009 season, the non-contending Arizona Diamondbacks are sellers, not buyers, on the trade market this July. So, after Sunday's loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, the D-Backs shipped leadoff hitter and second baseman Felipe Lopez to the Cards' division rivals the Milwaukee Brewers for a couple of prospects.
It's not a bad move for the D-Backs, who unload the remainder of Lopez' $3.5 million salary (surely the biggest reason for the trade), but it would've been nice to get a little more in return from the Brew Crew. Milwaukee sent over an outfielder, Cole Gillespie, who's not hitting a whole lot in Triple A and a right-handed pitcher, Roque Mercedes, who's only at the Single A level still, but is striking out lots of batters there.
For Lopez, who hit .301 for the D-Backs in the leadoff role and played a solid second base, it's a good opportunity to help the Brewers get back to the playoffs again. While he doesn't hit for power and hasn't stolen many bases, despite his speed, Lopez should help the Brewers, who have been trying to plug a hole ever since Rickie Weeks became lost for the season in May.
It is believed that Lopez is one of a handful of unnamed players who were called out by Mark Reynolds for their lack of effort, desire to win, and generally poor play. That outburst by the slugging third/first baseman occurred on Friday, July 3. The D-Backs went on to win seven out of their final nine games before the All-Star break. They dropped two of three to St. Louis this weekend.
The trade was the third big move in the past two weeks. Reliever Tony Peña was traded to the White Sox for a prospect and journeyman infielder. Tony Clark was released by the team to give first baseman Josh Whitesell some playing time in the majors. It's been speculated that left-handed starter Doug Davis and left-handed-hitting infielder Chad Tracy are among those who could be on new teams before the July 31 trading deadline. The D-Backs have said they will not listen to offers for all-world starting pitcher Dan Haren.
Light-hitting infielders Ryan Roberts and Augie Ojeda will take over glove duties at second base.