In case you have been asleep for the past week, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had some issues crop up with their starting pitching. Patrick Corbin was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and appears headed for a lost season. Newly-acquired Bronson Arroyo hasn’t pitched in a game since February 27th because of a back problem. Trevor Cahill left a game early because of a fall at first base and though Spring Training games aren’t supposed to mean anything, his 7.84 ERA does not inspire much confidence. Because of the rotation, first thought to be a strength because of its depth and now a major concern, will the D’backs be on the hunt for a starting pitcher?
Since as I write this, the team is somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, there hasn’t been much discussion as to whether or not GM Kevin Towers will pursue another pitcher. If you can believe it, there are some guys out in the free agent market with some name recognition, the most well-known being Barry Zito. Can you imagine the former Cy Young Award winner signing with the Snakes and then coming back to haunt his former team, the San Francisco Giants? Me neither. Another former rival, Clayton Richard of the San Diego Padres is also out there but is coming off arm surgery. Still, he is only 30 years old and should be hungry to pitch well in 2014 to convince a team to give him a longer deal. From the “blast from the past” portion of free agency, former D’back Jon Garland is still available even though his agent stated publicly (according to mlbtraderumors via Jon Paul Morsi at FOX Sports) that the righty will sit out 2014.
On the trade front, not many teams have starting pitching depth to offer at this time of year. The New York Mets would actually be a willing trading partner as they are in need of a shortstop. However, the recent arm problems of lefty Jonathon Niese may preclude New York for making any kind of deal at the moment. The Tampa Bay Rays always seem to have rotation depth and availability and someone like Jake Odorizzi could be available depending on his status for the #5 slot in Tampa. Overall, it doesn’t seem as though a trade would materialize at this juncture of Spring Training.
If I had to guess, I think that the organization will at least attempt to go through the first half without picking up another pitcher. There is enough short-term depth to get to the All Star Break even if you assume the worst about Arroyo. Randall Delgado and Archie Bradley would make the rotation and the team could get by having to spot start Josh Collmenter or using someone like Bo Schultz for a start here and there. However, if this team has designs on making the playoffs, it better have a plan in pursuing a pitcher at the trade deadline.