"I'd say in the last week or so we've made pretty aggressive proposals for 10-15 players," Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. "We just couldn't get to a deal."
The D-backs still thought they had a reasonable chance to make a pair of trades late Monday night and Tuesday morning, but both evaporated about an hour before the deadline.
Of the 10-15 players Arizona targeted, there was roughly a 50-50 split between starters and relievers.
The D-backs came into Tuesday's deadline tied for first place with the Dodgers, just one-half game ahead of the Padres and 3 1/2 in front of the Rockies.
"We're disappointed, because I think the offers we were making were aggressive attempts to try and get us better," Byrnes said. "We worked hard as a team to get where we are in this race. Obviously, we were hoping to get a trade that helps us in this race and made sense long term. We're frustrated in not being able to do that."
The lack of a deal seems to mirror what went on in the market as a whole. Only two of the 10-15 players the D-backs made offers on wound up getting dealt.
"It's a trading environment where people are being cautious," Byrnes said.
The D-backs jumped into the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes late last week before the Rangers dealt the slugging first baseman to the Braves. Texas was believed to be looking for a package that included first baseman Conor Jackson, Minor League outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and one of the organization's top pitching prospects.
Of some consolation to the D-backs is the fact that neither the Dodgers nor Padres made a big splash at the deadline. Los Angeles picked up Scott Proctor from the Yankees while the Padres acquired infielder Morgan Ensberg, pitcher Wilfredo Ledezma and utility player Rob Mackowiak.
"That always helps, and we are generally aware of what they're trying to do," Byrnes said, referring to the team's divisional foes. "This continues to be a tight race."
While the D-backs rank 14th in the National League in runs scored, their focus at the deadline was pitching. That's due in large part to the hole in the rotation left by Randy Johnson's season-ending back injury as well as the struggles of right-hander Micah Owings.
Another factor was that the club believes that its offense will get better as the summer moves along since shortstop Stephen Drew and outfielders Chris Young and Carlos Quentin are all in their first full seasons in the big leagues.
"I think we've said that over the course of the year we have a lot of players that have the chance to get better and better," Byrnes said.
A deal is still possible in August, as the D-backs proved last year when they acquired pitcher Livan Hernandez from the Nationals and dealt outfielder Shawn Green to the Mets. But players traded after July 31 must clear waivers, which adds yet another hurdle.
"Its always possible in August," Byrnes said. "It's a lot more out of your control, but certainly we'll keep trying. My sense is it will be tougher."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.