With free agency set to begin, who should be the top target for the Arizona Diamondbacks?
Free agency is ready to roll in Major League Baseball and teams are balancing their budgets as they prepare to make runs at their desired free agents. For the Arizona Diamondbacks, everyone knows what they need: pitching.
With many young and talented pitchers, the Diamondbacks have a bright future in their starting rotation. Still, the team could use a front-of-the-line rotational starter to pair alongside Patrick Corbin, who will undoubtedly be the Opening Day starter in 2016, provided the Diamondbacks don’t swing a blockbuster deal or land a top free agent.
So that begs the question, who should the Diamondbacks’ number one target in free agency be?
If I had to choose one free agent the D-backs should get it is Wei-Yin Chen. He is a guy that takes the ball every fifth day and more often than not gives his team a chance to win. He has made over 30 starts in three of his four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles while pitching to a 3.72 ERA. Those are pretty good numbers for a guy who pitches half his home starts at a hitter-friendly venue, which is what Chase Field is. He is also relatively young; he turns 31 on July 21st. The only drawback is that the D-bacsk would have to surrender their first round pick as Chen declined Baltimore’s qualifying offer. However, I believe he would be worth giving up that pick.
He won’t come as cheaply as you might think with several teams coveting him including the New York Yankees. It would take a four-year deal averaging around $15 million dollars per year to get him but he would be worth it. Chen is a proven left-handed arm and would be a perfect number two or number three guy in the Snakes’ rotation. His ERA was 3.34 in 2015, the lowest of his career. Forget the bigger, sexier names. Sign Chen and count on 12 to 15 wins per season pitching in front of that offense.
Tom goes for an interesting name in Chen. The Diamondbacks are probably not in the market to compete for a Zack Greinke or a David Price. However, they can be in the market for a guy like Chen, who as his peripherals show, could potentially be a great fit inside the confines of Chase Field.
The D-backs have good pitchers ready to come up in the pipeline which means they don’t necessarily need to anchor themselves to a contract they might regret down the road. If there’s anything that they could learn from the New York Mets, it’s to trust their young pitching.
Adding a veteran on a cost-controlled contract should be the move that they look to make. There’s no need to overspend or surrender their draft pick. This would allow them to focus their free agency efforts potentially toward bullpen help and potentially a closer.