The Arizona Diamondbacks lost out on Masahiro Tanaka yesterday after he signed a 7 year, $155 million dollar contract with the New York Yankees making them instant contenders this year. Various reports had the Dbacks, Dodgers, and Yankees as the front runners for Tanaka and other reports had the Cubs and Yankees competing for his services. Ultimately we have no idea what influenced Tanaka’s decision. The competitiveness factor and ultimately the money helped make his decision despite the D’backs probably being more competitive in the future while being in a good place now. Arizona made a solid offer and got out bid by the desperate Yankees showing once again that MLB is dominated by the franchises that have money In the end, Tanaka for whatever reason is not a Diamondback. The club also lost out on Matt Garza who signed a 4 year deal with the Brewers. Garza was rumored by many to be the best fit and the front runner for the D’backs. After what has transpired, the front office has to be thinking, now what? Well, the D’backs have three main options moving forward and K.T should consider them all.
Option #1: Be content with the team you have. The Diamondbacks could decide after losing out on Tanaka and Garza, to keep the rotation as is which means Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, Trevor Cahill, and Randall Delgado. Before the beginning of 2013, the D’backs’ rotation was picked to be one of the best in baseball and only Delgado wasn’t apart of the group in the beginning. Towers likes his team as is but is always looking to upgrade. The rotation was plagued by health issues from Cahill and McCarthy and a somewhat down second year from Miley. As long as this group can stay healthy, I think this is a solid rotation mix of young talent and veteran experience especially if Corbin can repeat his magical performance. I think the influence and wisdom that Dave Duncan and Mike Harkey bring are huge.
Option #2: Call up Archie Bradley. The Dbacks have a lot of pitching depth in their farm system and if there is anybody that is Major League ready and can make an impact it’s Archie Bradley, the top right handed pitching prospect in all of baseball. Towers has nothing but good things to say about him. “He’s gonna come in here blazing, he thought he was ready last year in July or August,” Towers said. “From what we’ve seen — the velocity, the fastball command is there, the breaking ball is there, he’s strong, he’s durable, he’s powerful. The higher we’ve moved him up, the better he’s been.” Towers says he will be in the rotation if he is one of the best five pitchers in Spring Training. Calling up Bradley makes perfect sense to me. The only question is what would you do with the odd man out in Delgado? Obviously the D’backs would have to figure that out.
Option #3: Free Agency and Trades: After giving each option a lot of thought, this would probably be the worst option for many reasons. Garza is gone. Santana and Jimenez are not good choices, either as the team would have to give up a draft pick in order to sign one of them. Paul Maholm is an option but it doesn’t seem the D’backs have been targeting him. Maholm is young and has had three good years in Atlanta but isn’t a front line starter. Bruce Chen is old and while he had his best year in 2013, it wouldn’t be wise to go after him. Bronson Arroyo who isn’t tied to draft pick compensation would be the best option. He has front line starter stuff and has had a very consistent career. The D’backs could consider trading for Jeff Samardzija but giving up prospects for him wouldn’t be the right move. After considering it, David Price isn’t an option either in my mind. Finally, if the team really wants to go after a free agent starter, the 2015 class has a lot of great options including Max Scherzer and Yovani Gallardo
Bottom line: To me, the best options are to stand pat or call up Bradley. I have always been a big believer in building from within and the D’backs have done that allowing them to compete now and in the future. Bradley would make an impact and they need to start utilizing some of their talent. However, if the front office feels that Bradley isn’t ready, keeping the rotation the way it is would be a great move. Whatever decision is made, the D’backs should stop shopping. They have had a great offseason as is.