How a series of Zack Greinke trades helped the Arizona Diamondbacks win the 2023 NL Pennant

A series of trades involving Zack Greinke helped the Diamondbacks make it back to the World Series, but the trade that got them there didn't directly involve Greinke at all.

Oct 24, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4)
Oct 24, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (4) / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Greinke, you remember him. The future Hall of Famer had a three-and-a-half-year tenure with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he had a 3.40 ERA, 3.58 FIP, and 1.09 WHIP. He was traded at the 2019 trade deadline for a bevy of prospects, and he helped the 2023 Arizona Diamondbacks win the National League pennant, but not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. For that, we have to take a butterfly effect look at the transactions that helped the Diamondbacks secure the 2023 NLCS MVP, Ketel Marte.

We have to go all the way back to the 2010-2011 off-season when the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Greinke from the Kansas City Royals alongside Yuniesky Betancourt for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jake Odorizzi, and Jeremy Jeffress. Greinke spent the next year and a half in Milwaukee, pitching to a 3.67 ERA and 1.20 WHIP but an outstanding 2.79 FIP for the Brew Crew. But with the 2012 deadline approaching, the Brewers sitting below .500, and Greinke in the last year of his contract, they decided to trade him to the Los Angeles Angels.

The package the Angels sent the Brewers’ way included Johnny Hellweg, Ariel Pena, and Jean Segura. At the time, Segura was considered one of the best prospects in baseball. At the time, Segura was one of the best prospects in baseball and was given the starting shortstop role for the Brewers.

This is how a Zack Greinkie helped the Diamondbacks secure their NLCS MVP.

Aside from 2013, Segura’s tenure with the Brewers was largely uneventful. He hit just .266/.302/.361 with an 81 OPS+. He did swipe 96 bases, including a 44 stolen base season in 2013. He was also a relatively solid defensive shortstop with +6 defensive runs saved and +3.2 defensive WAR. But the Brewers were looking to retool after a disappointing 2015 season. Segura was then traded to our Diamondbacks, along with Tyler Wagner. The Diamondbacks, in return, gave up Chase Anderson, Isan Diaz, and veteran infielder Aaron Hill.

Segura ended up having a career year in Arizona. His .319/.368/.499 triple-slash still remains the best of his career. He hit 20 home runs and hasn’t even reached 15 since. He also swiped 33 bases, giving him the one and only 20/20 season of his career. Segura’s 126 wRC+ is also by far a career-best. With Nick Ahmed at shortstop, the D-Backs moved Segura to second base, and he turned in an outstanding showing with +11 defensive runs saved and outs above average. Segura was robbed of the Gold Glove at second base, as the winner of the award, National League West rival Joe Panik, had just +2 DRS and +8 OAA. However, I digress.

While Segura and Greinke’s careers didn’t cross paths with the Angels or Brewers, they did with the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks had signed Greinke the same off-season they traded for Segura. Greinke signed a massive six-year, $206.5 million deal. The first season of the deal didn’t go so well, as Greinke pitched to an ERA and FIP above 4.00. But he followed that up with three straight all-star caliber seasons.

Getting back with Segura, 2016 would end up being the only year he played in Arizona. The Diamondbacks then shipped him out to the Seattle Mariners, and this is where the Diamondbacks got their NLCS MVP. Ketel Marte was one of the pieces getting sent the D-Backs way, but he wasn’t the headliner. That title would belong to Taijuan Walker, who was formerly one of the best prospects in baseball during the early 2010s.

Either way, while Walker would only have one good season in Arizona, Marte would obviously flourish into one of the best players in the Diamondbacks’ relatively short history. Since arriving at the Snakes, Marte owns a .282/.352/.478 triple-slash, a .353 wOBA, and 120 wRC+. He’s also provided them versatility, playing both second base and centerfield regularly at times throughout his tenure.

Marte has been scorching hot in this year’s Postseason. He has 19 hits, with eight of those going for extra bases. That includes five doubles, a triple, and two home runs. While Marte has struck out 16 times to combat just two walks, he has started off his Postseason career with a 16-game hit streak. Marte was money in the NLCS. He had 12 hits in the NLCS, with Brandon Marsh having the second most at eight. One of said hits was a walk-off. It’s no wonder he won the NLCS MVP.

And with that, that is how Zack Grenkie helped the Diamondbacks get to the World Series. Through a series of trades involving him, the Diamondbacks got one of their most important players in team history, one who now looks to be a massive cog in their World Series line-ups.