Diamondbacks Send Andrew Chafin to Brewers for Peter Strzelecki, Snag Tommy Pham from Mets for Young Prospect

Andrew Chafin throwing a pitch, Tommy Pham batting. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Chafin to the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday and traded a young prospect to the New York Mets in exchange for Pham.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) (Right) NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 30: Tommy Pham #28 of the New York Mets in action against the Washington Nationals during a game at Citi Field on July 30, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks Trade Deadline: Andrew Chafin to Brewers, Tommy Pham from Mets

The 2023 trade deadline saw the Arizona Diamondbacks make two more trades, sending lefty reliever Andrew Chafin to the Milwaukee Brewers for young righty reliever Peter Strzelecki and 17-year-old rookie-league shortstop Jeremy Rodriguez to the New York Mets for veteran outfielder Tommy Pham. These moves, according to general manager Mike Hazen, “addressed some areas that we sought to do address coming in —most notably, the back end of the bullpen.”

Challenging Market Prevents Rotation Acquisition

The trade market overall was “challenging,” he said. “Given the dynamic with the sellers and the buyers, it was an interesting (deadline), which is good. I think it’s good for the game. There were a lot more buyers, it seemed, than sellers.” The Diamondbacks were among the buyers for another starting pitcher. Basic economics dictates that high demand combined with low supply drives up price. Consequently, the market was “really tough.” Hazen said, “There weren’t a lot of starters out there available. Some of the starters that were out there got held; some got traded. We didn’t end up acquiring one.”

The asking price was higher than the Diamondbacks were willing to pay, not only due to the prospects being asked for but because “a lot” of what they were asked for was off the major-league team. As Hazen said Monday, “You never really want to give off of your team” when in the situation the Diamondbacks currently are in. Sometimes it’s “prohibitive.” Tuesday he added, “The question you have to ask yourself is what you’re actually putting together. When your team comes back together, you need to put a team together…. It’s not just about holding prospects.”

They were willing to “be aggressive” with some of their players, but almost every deal proposal involved two or three players, some of whom are on the big-league squad. When most of the big-league squad contains younger players still under team control for the next few years, that makes deal-making even more challenging. “Sometimes it was hard for us to pick up combinations that included those guys with prospects,” Hazen explained. “And so we just didn’t end up getting anything done there.”

Diamondbacks Send Andrew Chafin to Brewers for Peter Strzelecki

By dealing Andrew Chafin for Peter Strzelecki, the Diamondbacks exchanged one of their lefties for a righty. Overall, Chafin has appeared in 43 games with a 4.19 ERA (95 ERA-minus) and 35 scoreless outings (81.4%) across 34 1/3 innings. He has converted 20 of his 24 save opportunities into either a hold (12) or save (8), a success rate of 83.3% (NL avg 61%).

However, a look at goose eggs (GE) shows a different story. He has entered the game in 19 goose egg situations, converting nine against four broken eggs (BE) — a 2.3 ratio (3.0 is the average). In six cases, he got neither. In addition, his WHIP (1.427) is 93 points higher than the NL average of 1.334. Plus, 47% of his inherited runners have scored, 16 percentage points more than the NL average of 31%. The NL average of scoreless outings is 69.3%, so Chafin on the surface looks like he’s well above average (81.4%). But when throwing out scoreless outings where Chafin allowed at least one inherited runner to score, Chafin’s percentage drops to 67.4%.

Chafin has mostly done well in the seventh or eighth inning of games. Of his 34 1/3 innings pitched, 19 have been in either the seventh or eighth, and he has allowed a grand total of two earned runs. But even that has a “but…” to it, as seven of the eleven runners he inherited when entering a game in the seventh or eighth inning have scored. The ninth inning has been his undoing. He has appeared in the ninth inning in 23 games, combining for 15 1/3 innings. In 10 of those, he did not finish the game. His GE/BE ratio in the ninth was 2.5.

The Return Haul

When looking at the most recent individual reliever rankings, the Diamondbacks seem to have fleeced the Brewers. Through July 26, Strzelecki was 19th while Chafin was 27th. Strzelecki has appeared in 36 games with a 4.54 ERA (104 ERA-minus) and 1.178 WHIP across 34 1/3 innings. He has not had any saved opportunities but has 14 holds in 15 attempts. When it comes to goose eggs, Strzelecki has a better-than-average ratio of 4.0 (12 goose eggs/3 broken eggs). Of his 36 appearances, 27 have been scoreless (75.0%). When throwing out scoreless outings where he allowed an inherited runner to score, the number drops to 26 (72.2%). Strzelecki has also kept the ball in the ballpark well, as shown by his 1.9 HR%.

He is a prime example of why reliever ERA is so unreliable. Of his nine appearances where he allowed a run, five saw him give up one run. One saw him give up two runs in one inning. Two saw him give up three runs in an inning. But the appearance that did the most damage came May 4 in Denver, when he allowed five runs while recording only one out.

The Diamondbacks like his ability to attack righties with his slider. However, he will start his tenure in the organization with the Triple-A Reno Aces.

Mets Send Tommy Pham to Diamondbacks for Jeremy Rodriguez

The Pham trade came minutes before the deadline. About the acquisition, Hazen said, “This is the last chance you have to improve your roster for the rest of the season, outside of somebody getting released. He has a proven track record of hitting. What we had heard in New York is how motivated and disciplined he was in the clubhouse in making himself a really good baseball player. I think that’s something that will fit into our clubhouse.” Pham brings another right-handed hitter to the outfield, giving more lefty-righty balance to the lineup.

Looking Ahead

The Strzelecki acquisition became more important later Tuesday night. Righty Austin Adams left the game after facing one batter in the eighth inning due to a hard Joc Pederson comebacker off the ankle. On Wednesday, the Diamondbacks placed Adams on the 60-day injured list with a fractured right ankle, meaning he will miss the rest of the season.

Hazen confirmed that the team would have been “even more aggressive” had they maintained their standing from a month ago. However, he said that regardless of their place in the division standings, the goal was to improve the team.

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