Anyone who has read my material knows I am and will always be a huge Tyler Skaggs fan. So the headline to this column might come as a bit of a surprise to you. Honestly, it did not feel too good to write those words and I suppose after reading them that perhaps I am being a bit hasty in an evaluation. This has nothing to do with performance and everything to do with how I feel with the way is he is being treated by the Arizona Diamondbacks. It is frustrating to me and has to be much more trying for Skaggs who is being used as a pinball between Phoenix and Reno (and even in one case Single-A Visalia). There are three questions I have regarding this ordeal:
1. Have you ever seen a top prospect such as Skaggs being bounced around like this?
2. Does the organization really want him?
3. If the answer to #2 is no, is it because Skaggs was not one of GM Kevin Towers’s acquisitions?
Follow me for a recap on the shuttle that the D-Backs’ number one prospect has been riding since he was first called up from Reno on May 27th to pitch on Memorial Day against the Texas Rangers. The timeline is courtesy of rotoworld.com
- May 27th-called up for the first time, wins his start vs. Texas
- May 28th-sent to Reno
- June 4th-called up from Reno
- June 10th-sent down to Reno after two starts
- July 5th-called up from Reno
- July 1th-sent to Visalia after two starts
- July 22nd-recalled from Reno
- July 28th-sent to Reno after two starts
So in a span of two months and a day, Tyler Skaggs, the best prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks was called up and sent down a total of eight times. Again, I ask the question, have you ever heard of a top prospect, one that was listed as the 10th best in all of baseball, being bounced up and down like he was a journeyman reliever? If you were to read the timeline again, you would swear it was a scene from “Groundhog Day” that ended up on the cutting room floor. You can easily see Skaggs being burnt out from all of the moving around, afraid to mess up particularly once he comes up again to the Majors. How could he not think, “if I pitch badly, better get that window seat on the plane back to Reno”? I can’t picture another organization treating someone so highly-regarded in a manner like this.
All of the frequent flier miles Skaggs has racked up makes me wonder if the organization truly wants him. Why else would it seem as though they are more undecided on Skaggs than Kris Jenner is on which body part to have nipped and tucked? Perhaps at the end of June, ESPN’s Buster Olney was onto something when he tweeted the following line about the availability of Skaggs, as reported on fansided.com:
“There is a perception among other teams that the Diamondbacks are willing to deal Skaggs in the right trade — far from untouchable.”
If the D-Backs wanted to deal him, then I would think his value has dropped each and every time Skaggs has boarded a plane to and from Phoenix. Why would another organization trade for him and give up anything of real value if his current organization has no idea what to make of him?
This leads me to my third question which revolves around the fact that Kevin Towers was not the one who orchestrated the move to bring Skaggs to the D-Backs. The trade which also netted Patrick Corbin and Joe Saunders for Dan Haren has to rank as one of the best deals ever made by Arizona. Saunders helped them win the NL West in 2011 and Corbin is having a monster year in 2013. Haren is not even with the Los Angeles Angels anymore. Allowing Skaggs to develop properly could mean this transaction would nearly match the trade for Curt Schilling in terms of quality. However (and maybe this is a WAY out there point of view) maybe the ego of Towers is getting in the way of sound judgment. Corbin is by far the star of the pitching staff while several members he has obtained including Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Heath Bell have been disappointing at best. Do not forget Justin Upton was a player who was not “his” and was dealt under the notion that “he wasn’t our type of player”. Perhaps this is turning out to be the case with Skaggs.
I really do not want Tyler Skaggs going anywhere. For his sake, however, it might be better for him to go to another team where, unless he pitches so poorly the club has no choice but to send him down, he will be allowed to sink or swim on the Major League level. If he is to remain with the D-Backs, I would rather he does not make another start at Chase Field in 2013. Let July 28th be the day that the shuttle has stopped for good.