The D’backs need to develop their own Madison Bumgarner. Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The World Series is over. It’s time for every Major League Baseball club to begin (if they haven’t already) preparations for 2015. For the Arizona Diamondbacks, that process began almost two months ago with the firing of General Manager Kevin Towers. However, in the ultra-competitive National League West where the San Francisco Giants won their third championship in five seasons and the Los Angeles Dodgers own the highest payroll in the game, the D’backs need an equalizer. They seem to have a competent front-office staff in place. They have one of the best players in the sport in Paul Goldschmidt. However, they are missing one vital piece in order to compete with those two marquee franchises.
They need to develop their own Madison Bumgarner.
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The 25-year old left-hander just turned in the best World Series pitching performance in my lifetime, allowing only one earned run in 21 innings. In the regular season, he already has made over 30 starts and thrown over 200 innings in four consecutive seasons. San Francisco wouldn’t have even made the playoffs in 2014, let alone be champions, if it wasn’t for Bumgarner. Best of all, the Giants have him locked up through 2019, courtesy of a couple of friendly $12 million dollar team options. You can make the same argument about Clayton Kershaw. For all of the money, where exactly would the Dodgers be with the services of a guy who has drawn comparisons to Sandy Koufax?
Once upon a time, Arizona had developed their own stud starting pitcher. His name was Brandon Webb and unfortunately, his promising career was cut short because of injury. Wade Miley, though durable is no Bumgarner. Can Patrick Corbin be that guy? We’ll see how he recovers from Tommy John surgery. More likely, the D’backs’ answer to Bumgarner and Kershaw will come from one of three youngsters: Archie Bradley, Aaron Blair and Braden Shipley. If one of them can be a Bumgarner-type pitcher within three seasons, the D’backs will be considered consistent contenders.