The Arizona Diamondbacks have been looking for a front line starter this whole offseason to help stabilize the depth that was lost throughout last season. While they didn’t get the prototypical front line starter they were looking for, the D’backs were able to sign Bronson Arroyo, the most durable starter left on the market, to a two-year deal on Friday. Arroyo was the best option for Arizona because he didn’t require the team to lose any draft picks and they could get him on a shorter term deal, something that General Manger Kevin Towers said was important when acquiring a starter. In my opinion, this deal makes sense. He will be able to eat a lot of innings, he stays healthy, and no matter the situation he takes the ball every fifth day and brings his best effort. He will create more depth in the rotation, and most importantly he provides a veteran presence that is going to be critical for the young pitchers.
Now that the D’backs have completed their offseason goals by signing a starter, the rotation seems to be set with Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Arroyo, Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Cahill. The question then becomes what will the club do with Randall Delgado, and top pitching prospect Archie Bradley. The latest reports seem to indicate that Delgado will move to the bullpen. Towers told azcentral sports Nick Piecoro that “Randall Delgado is running out of options, so if he doesn’t fit the D’backs rotation he probably will be going to the bullpen.” The Snakes believe Delgado can be more effective in the bullpen than he was as a starter and whether you believe that or not, they have already done it once with Josh Collmenter and it’s worked out pretty well. Plus Delgado, who was acquired as a part of the Upton trade has no minor league options left meaning if the D’backs were to send him down, they would have to put him on the waiver list first where any MLB team could claim him.
As far as what will happen with Bradley no one yet knows. With the Arroyo signing, Bradley appears to be without a spot in the rotation and could be starting the year in Triple A but by no means has that been determined yet. Even with Arroyo in the fold, Towers still wants it to be an open and competitive Spring telling mlb.com that the rotation isn’t set yet: ”Not necessarily,” D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. “To me, we wanted to create a lot of depth. There could be injuries, a lot of things could happen before the middle of March, when we have to get our roster at least down to 28. I don’t want Archie to feel just because of the Arroyo signing he’s destined for Double-A or Triple-A. We want it to be a very competitive spring, and we want to get out of the gate early and quick.” The D’backs want to win games and Towers has said that if Bradley is ready to make an impact then he will be with the big club.
Despite what Towers says, the rotation will probably be Corbin, Miley, Cahill, McCarthy, and Arroyo not in any particular order and barring any injuries Bradley seems to be out of the mix. So if the D’backs want to keep him with the Major League club then I must raise this question: is there a possibility for a 6 man rotation this year? Last year Arizona used way more than 5 starters and Bradley who is definitely Major League ready could be a great option as a 6th starter. The D’backs could also decide to keep Bradley in the Minors to start the year and give him even more time to craft his skills. However the game’s number one pitching prospect is clearly ready for the show. The bottom line is the Arroyo signing clearly gives the organization a lot of options with the rotation, something that will probably take all Spring to decide.
In my opinion, as much as I want to see Bradley in the Majors, he is running out of options after the Arroyo signing and a six man rotation isn’t always the best idea and presents a whole new set of challenges. He wont be in the bullpen because Arizona already has many options and he is made to be a starter. Plus, many scouts and Minor League experts say that Bradley still has problems with his control, something that is critical if he wants to be an effective Major League starter. Knowing this, it wouldn’t be the worst idea to keep him in the Minors for at least the beginning of the year.