Now that infielder Eric Chavez has inked a deal to stay in the desert, GM Kevin Towers can now focus his energy on acquiring a starter to bolster the D’backs starting rotation. The only problem with that is circumstances outside of the team’s control will dictate whether the team will be able to get a quality starter.
Towers has made it clear his priority now is securing a starting pitcher, but the Masahiro Tanaka situation could complicate that immensely. According to the latest on Tanaka from our friends at MLB.com, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka’s team in Japan, are leaning towards keeping the pitcher instead of making him available to MLB teams, where the D’backs were rumored to be interested.
Our own Tom Lynch has discussed how the new posting system would help the D’backs and also about the possible pitchers to land in Phoenix, but my focus will be on the fallout from this news out of Japan. If Tanaka is not posted, not only will Towers lose out on one of the better pitchers from Japan, but it will also drive the price of every other available starting pitcher through the roof. Towers is going to need some judgement as he sorts through the available pitchers to avoid overpaying for the wrong pitcher. Some of the options if Tanaka is not available are as follows: Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez are both free agents and the Rays are open to hearing trade offers for David Price.
Let’s start with the most unlikely scenario, David Price. Price is available simply because he will be a free agent in 2016 and the Rays would like to get something for him instead of straight up losing him. The problem is Price has been stellar ever since entering the majors which means the Rays will not let him go cheap. His career numbers in Tampa are 71-39 with a 3.19 ERA, 876 strikeouts, and a 1.158 WHIP. With the trades already made this season, the chances of seeing Price in a D’back uniform are slim to none.
Ubaldo Jimenez is another free agent pitcher, probably the best free agent pitcher still currently on the market. Their is only one problem: signing Jimenez means the D’backs would have to compensate the Indians with a draft pick. Jimenez has a stat line of 82-75, with a 3.92 ERA, 1172 strikeouts and a 1.345 WHIP. Jimenez is coming off a year in which he posted his second-lowest ERA at 3.30 of his career while winning 13 games for the Indians. Jimenez is good, but does Towers value him enough to pay him what he’s worth and give up a draft pick? Jimenez has a 25 percent chance of landing in the desert.
Matt Garza is the more likely scenario. Garza is coming off a year in which he posted phenomenal numbers with the Cubs, going 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA, 62 strikeouts and a 1.141 WHIP in 11 starts. Then he was traded to the Rangers and took a nosedive going 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA, 74 strikeouts and a 1.316 WHIP in 13 starts. Garza’s career numbers are 67-67 with a 3.84 ERA, 1001 strikeouts and a 1.283 WHIP. Garza will be looking to have a bounce-back year and would be able to accomplish that in the desert. It just depends what his asking price will be. It will not cost the D’backs a draft pick to sign him, so he is the more likely pitcher for Towers to go after. I give it a 50 percent chance he comes to Arizona.
Who do you think comes to Arizona, if anyone? Let me know in the comments below!
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