In the last couple of years the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a makeover done with their leadership and that makeover is filtering down to the field in a big way. With a team of Tony LaRussa (Chief Baseball Officer), Dave Stewart (Senior VP and GM) and DeJon Watson (Senior VP, Baseball Ops) coming together, the Diamondbacks have made a series of bold moves that are culminating in a memorable 2015 Winter Meetings run.
It wasn’t the first time the Arizona brass had traded a recent first-rounder, with 2014 #16 overall pick Touki Toussant going to the Braves along with Bronson Arroyo last June in what amounted to a salary dump, as the Diamondbacks got almost nothing back.
And the shock-the-world move of signing Zack Greinke also cost a first-rounder as compensation to the Dodgers who made a QO to Greinke. That pick is next year’s 13th overall pick.
But wait, there’s more. As part of yesterday’s deal for Miller, the Diamondbacks also sent RHP Aaron Blair to Atlanta, along with Swanson. Blair was a compensation round pick in 2013, #36 overall.
So, this could be seen as “win now” mode in the desert, no?
Looks like the Diamondbacks are all-in, not just on improving on last year’s 79-83 record and third-place finish. They want the NL west. They want it now.
The pitchers who threw the most innings for Arizona last year: Rubby Delarosa (188 2/3), Chase Anderson (152 2/3), Jeremy Hellickson (146) and Robbie Ray (127 2/3).
They’re looking to turn those roles over to Greinke, Miller, Patrick Corbin (who came back for 85 innings in 2015) and somebody from above group (minus Hellickson who is off to Philadelphia) or the likes of Josh Colmenter, Daniel Hudson or Zack Godley. The pieces are there, but not all in place just yet. But with Greinke anchoring the staff, it makes the rest of the rotation much easier to fill out than recent years.
Time will tell if Arizona will pay the price for loading up on major league talent at the expense of elite draft picks. One theory: you don’t know who next year’s #1 pick will be or whether he will ever contribute to the Diamondbacks. You have a pretty good idea what Zack Greinke brings to the table.
Likewise, though much more risky, Dansby Swanson may not ever be Arizona’s starting shortstop, but Shelby Miller has a body of work that the Diamondbacks apparently felt comfortable with. It’s just tough to see the top overall pick shipped away after just 22 games in short season ball.