Posted on August 29, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Arizona Diamondbacks thought they’d be getting Nick Ahmed back from the DL in time for the stretch run. But those plans have changed. Just days away from returning from a broken hand, Ahmed suffered a broken wrist. Ahmed broke his wrist when he was hit by a pitch Sunday during a minor league rehab game. The Diamondbacks expect Ahmed to miss six to eight weeks because of the broken wrist, likely ending his season.
Ahmed originally broke his hand in late June when he was struck by a pitch from Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal. Two months later, the Diamondbacks thought they were close to getting him back, only to have him sidelined by another pitcher hitting him with a pitch. Ahmed is known for being a strong defensive shortstop. However, before being sidelined in June, he was in the midst of the best offensive season of his career. On the year, Ahmed is hitting .251 with an OPS of .714. That doesn’t sound like much, but it was a big step forward for a player who is also a reliable shortstop defensively.
“We all know the value that (Ahmed) brings,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said last week about Ahmed’s potential return. “He’s a great leader and a great teammate. He has some incredible skills we definitely miss.”
In the wake of Ahmed’s injury, Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen has said that he will explore the trade market for shortstops. Teams can still make waiver trades between now and Thursday. Any player acquired after Thursday won’t be eligible for the postseason.
Of course, Hazen is realistic about the shortstop market at this point in the season. Options are few and far between. Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart could be an option and a great addition at shortstop, although it’s unclear if he’s cleared waivers or not. Players like Asdrubal Cabrera or Jed Lowrie could also add depth to Arizona’s infield.
Barring a trade, Ketel Marte is likely to continue as the team’s primary shortstop. Marte has performed well since moving into an everyday role. On the season, he’s hitting .256 with an OPS of .761. However, he likely would have been pushed aside when Ahmed was set to return, as Ahmed is better defensively and the more experienced player.
It’s also possible, but uncertain, for the Diamondbacks to get Chris Owings back before the end of the season. Owings broke his finger in late July when he was hit by a pitch from Lance Lynn. Early in the season, he was serving as a super-utility player. However, he had taken over as Arizona’s primary shortstop following the injury to Ahmed.
Like Ahmed, Owings was also enjoying the best offensive season of his career before going to the DL. Owings is reportedly doing well in his rehab. But because the Diamondbacks immediately put him on the 60-day DL at the end of July, he’s not eligible to return until late September.
With Owings still a month away from returning and Ahmed likely out for the season, the Diamondbacks appear to be stuck with Marte at shortstop. They could do a lot worse at shortstop, but obviously, the Diamondbacks would have preferred either Ahmed or Owings returning before the playoffs. With Ahmed now ruled out for the season, a late-August trade has to be on the table for the Diamondbacks.