Do the Arizona Diamondbacks need to insure their new starting rotation by adding another bullpen arm?
The Arizona Diamondbacks cemented themselves as a legitimate World Series contenders after remaking their starting rotation. Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller join Patrick Corbin as part of a staff that was below average in 2015 and now has to be considered one of the better ones in all of baseball for 2016. With such improvement in the rotation, an excellent offensive unit and the best defensive squad in the game, there seems to be only one unanswered question. That is, should the D-backs add another proven arm to the bullpen?
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After nearly completing a trade for Aroldis Chapman last July, it appears the D-backs are content with Brad Ziegler as the closer. It’s a wise move not to give anything of value for that spot as Ziegler was 30 for 32 in save opportunities with a 1.85 ERA in 66 games. Andrew Chafin emerged as a first-rate late inning guy with a 2.75 ERA in 76 innings pitched. Daniel Hudson struck out 72 batters in only 67 2/3 innings in his first full season since 2012. Randall Delgado may have found his ideal role in short relief, averaging better than a strikeout an inning and a 3.25 ERA in 64 games. Those four, plus the irreplaceable Josh Collmenter are, on paper, the main guys out of the ‘pen. The team could also add Silvino Bracho who was impressive at time in 13 games down the stretch as well as Enrique Burgos and Matt Reynolds to potentially round out the crew.
It is a relief corps that while solid, is unspectacular as a whole. There isn’t a guy who, at the moment, is someone you can turn to and say, “that pitcher can get a strikeout in a big spot”. Delagdo and Hudson are two guys that can potentially do it but we don’t know if they can on a consistent basis. Perhaps this is why the D-backs were one of three teams actively pursuing Joakim Soria before he returned to the Kansas City Royals. They also were rumored to be on Shawn Kelley before he signed with the Washington Nationals. Notable names that are still free agents include Casey Janssen, Tyler Clippard and Neftali Feliz. However, are any of these options better than what the D-backs already have?
There is one match in a trade that could be made to help the bullpen. Washington has inquired about Aaron Hill on more than one occasion and they would love to unload Jonathan Papelbon. Their salaries are almost equal, $12 million dollars for Hill and $11 million for Papelbon, each with one year remaining on their respective contracts. Is it worth it to trade for such a malcontent who will only come if he is the closer? While scanning over the various moves Arizona can make, they should just stand pat. Their bullpen is good enough to get them through the early part of the season, possibly up until the trading deadline. Should it become a weakness, management will have the ability to address it within the organization or outside of it on the trade market. For now, this is a championship-caliber team, bullpen included.