PHILADELPHIA -- The D-backs could have a pair of interesting trade chips to deal prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline in closer Brad Ziegler and setup man Daniel Hudson, but general manager Dave Stewart might be inclined to explore contract extensions for the pair.
Both Ziegler, who has converted 41 straight saves, and Hudson, who has a 1.73 ERA in 27 games, are free agents after this season.
"With Huddy, it looks like he's just now getting to a place where he really likes what he's doing and he's excelling at it," Stewart said. "With Zig, he's got 41 straight saves, is it? He's done a good job. Regardless of what happens this year, our plan is to compete and win. These guys can be instrumental in that for us. We have to consider it in the upcoming year."
When the D-backs signed free agent Zack Greinke to a record six-year, $206.5 million contract and gave up a lot to acquire Shelby Miller from Atlanta this past offseason, their plan was to compete over the next three years. That's why, even as they find themselves a disappointing fourth place in the National League West, any changes will likely be at the margins rather than a full-scale rebuild.
Even for minor changes, though, the team would have to believe it was out of the postseason hunt, and the D-backs are not at that point yet.
"I don't really know what that timeframe is, I just know that we don't have a lot of time," Stewart said about getting back into the postseason hunt. "We're 10 below .500. At some point, the story will tell itself. If our starting pitching gets better, gets more consistent, then that's going to be the key for us, really. We've just got to see if our starting pitching is going to carry us. We've got a lot of baseball to play, and a lot to play with our division. The starting pitching is going to tell us what we need to do."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.