The Diamondbacks announced alot of moves to their pitching staff and bullpen after a 4-12 start to the season. Dbacks General Manager Kevin Towers decided to keep top prospect Archie Bradley in the minors and Bradley’s agent disagrees. The back and forth conflict reflects the tension that surrounds the team’s poor start, but also the clubs decision to hold down prospects because of service time considerations, something that every team is doing.
Fox Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal wrote about this in his column yesterday: “I think it’s very apparent what is going on in Arizona,” Bradley’s agent, Jay Franklin, told FOX Sports on Monday night. “Every ballplayer that is playing minor league baseball works his tail off to get an opportunity to play in the big leagues. “Archie Bradley has proven to the Diamondbacks organization that he has deserved that opportunity by keeping his mouth shut and letting his numbers speak for his chance to pitch in the major leagues.” Bradley’s numbers are speaking for themselves. After going 12-5 with a 1.97 era in 21 starts last season with Double A Mobile, Archie has a 1.50 era in his first two starts with Triple A Reno striking out 8 and walking 4 in 12 innings. The Diamondbacks meanwhile have the worst rotation era in the majors at 7.16 and Snakes starters only have two quality starts.
Towers said in a telephone interview that service time is not what is halting Bradley’s promotion to the big league club. According to Rosenthal, “The team will need to keep Bradley in the minors through late April to delay his free agency by one season and through at least late May to ensure that he does not qualify for an extra year of arbitration.” Instead he cites two concerns: Archie coming into a losing environment, and his spring struggles. “I would not bring him up in this environment the way we’re playing,” Towers said. “I know how it would be perceived if he came up: ‘Archie is going to save us.’ I don’t want to do that to a 21-year-old kid. “If it gets to the point where we straighten this thing out and it’s a more positive environment here and he’s throwing the ball well, we’ll do it regardless of the clock.”
Towers does recognize the starters are struggling and if Bradley can help the team win he will be promoted, “Things are not going great with our starting pitching,” Towers said. “When the environment is better and he might help us win ballgames, we’ll bring him up.” Is Bradley really ready for the majors? After a great first spring start against the Rockies he really struggled with his control in his next two including against Team Australia in which he allowed three runs and 9 base runners. Bradley has down well in Triple A and has proven that he has the stuff to get major league hitters out; I saw it myself when he struck out batter after batter in live BP during spring practice. I think its best to wait it out for now so he can keep working on his control and I agree with Towers, the team shouldn’t bring him up in this environment considering how young he is. That would place a lot of pressure on him. But if the rotation struggles continue and he can help the team win the Dbacks should call him up early to stop the bleeding. Hopefully the current roster of pitchers can figure it out.