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Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate 4th of July by initiating fire sale

Brandon McCarthy
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

On this year's Fourth of July weekend, the Arizona Diamondbacks set off fireworks and a fire sale by trading reliever Joe Thatcher on Saturday and starter Brandon McCarthy on Sunday.

First the Diamondbacks traded Thatcher and minor league outfielder Tony Campana to the Los Angeles Angels for two prospects on Saturday. The main draw of the trade is outfielder Zach Borenstein who dominated the Single-A level by hitting .337 with 28 home runs and 95 RBIs in 112 games for the Inland Empire 66ers. This year he's hit .260 with seven homers and 51 RBIs while splitting time in Double-A and Triple-A. He'll likely report to Reno for the Diamondbacks.

Then on Sunday, the D'backs ship McCarthy to the New York Yankees for Vidal Nuno. McCarthy signed with the Diamondbacks going into the 2013 season but has been a disappointment ever since. McCarthy, who is turning 31 years-old on Monday, went 5-11 with a 4.83 ERA in 2013 and leaves Arizona with a 3-10 record and a 5.01 ERA over 18 starts this season.

McCarthy spent the first seven years of his career in the American League with the White Sox, Rangers and Athletics before joining the D-backs last year and knows the AL East pretty well, going 12-10 lifetime with a combined 3.90 ERA against the Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays. That record is his best mark against any of the three AL divisions.

Coming to Arizona is Nuno with a 2-5 record and a 5.42 ERA over 17 appearances (14 starts) this season. He went 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in five outings (three starts) in his debut season last year, so there is some potential with Nuno.

Both Thatcher and McCarthy were entering free agency after this season so to get back young, controllable players who can utilize both now and later is a good move for Arizona's chief baseball executive Tony La Russa. Acquiring Borenstein to go with rookie outfielders Ender Inciarte (.236) and David Peralta (.327) puts Cody Ross, Gerraldo Parra and even Mark Trumbo on the trade block. Trumbo is currently injured but is going to Triple-A Reno for a rehab assignment.

Trumbo went 3-for-6 with a double, a homer, four RBIs and a strikeout in two games with the Arizona League D-backs this past week so there is some encouraging news for the big slugger. Trumbo won't be a free agent until 2017 so the Diamondbacks will likely opt to keep him and continue to pair him with All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Trumbo hit seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 21 games before being sidelined due a stress fracture in his foot.

Both Ross and Parra are not expected to bring anything back of considerable value because of Ross's salary and diminished production and Parra's diminishing abilities. Both outfielders would likely be traded for the purpose of creating depth in the outfielder and the Diamondbacks will surely be required to pick up the tab on Ross's $8.5M salary.

With their surplus of young middle infielders, veterans Aaron Hill and Martin Prado may be the next to go. Both infielders are currently struggling but do provide value to whoever decides to trade for them. Look for the Miami Marlins to in hunt for either on of them with hopes of solving their problems at second base.

Both infielders are signed through the 2016 season and can play second base, while Prado is more versatile. The Marlins prospect experimentations have failed and the team still has to figure out what to do in second base and their starting rotation.

The Marlins are still in competition for a playoff spot, even without their ace Jose Fernandez. Every key player is signed for 2015 so any addition that the Marlins attempt to do will be for both for this year's playoff chase and next year which looks to be a banner year for the Fish.

Eric Chavez would normally be considered as trade bait, if he was healthy. He was moved to 60-day DL with a sprained left knee on June 29, so he is likely done not for the season but for his career too.

Bronson Arroyo (7-4, 4.08 ERA) is on the disabled list for the first time of his career and will likely require Tommy John surgery if his elbow tendon turns out to be worse than originally diagnosed. Arroyo is signed through 2015 (2 yrs/$23.5M with a team option for 2016) and if he returns and the Diamondbacks fall off again next year, Arroyo will be back on the trade market.

Only time will tell how many veteran players can the Diamondbacks ship out of the desert by August, but they surely have a new, fresh look by the end of July.

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