Posted on November 28, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
With a weak free agent market as far as starting pitchers are concerned, one place where teams may go for starting pitching help this winter is the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks are expecting to receive interest from teams regarding many of their young starters. Many have called upon Arizona’s new GM Mike Hazen to look into trading Zack Greinke to help free up some payroll. However, it may be more realistic for the Diamondbacks to trade young starters who aren’t making massive amounts of money and possess plenty of potential and upside.
Word of the Diamondbacks expecting to receive interest in their starters comes days after Arizona acquired young starter Taijuan Walker in a trade with the Seattle Mariners in which the Diamondbacks gave up shortstop Jean Segura. The acquisition of Walker gives Arizona quite a collection of young pitchers behind Greinke, enough to give them what some may call an excess of starting pitchers, which opens the door for the Diamondbacks to trade one or more of them to help fill other needs.
Shelby Miller may be the pitcher the Diamondbacks would most like to trade. After being acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves last offseason, Miller had a disastrous 2016 season, posting a 6.15 ERA and being demoted to the minors. Miller was outstanding prior to last season, and so there’s a chance he’ll be able to bounce back in 2017. Still, the Diamondbacks may want to wash their hands of last year’s trade, even if Miller’s value is down considerably if they were to trade him this winter.
A pair of lefties that could be viable trade chips are Patrick Corbin and Robbie Ray. Corbin struggled in 2016 in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, although he did find some success after moving to the bullpen late in the season. The Diamondbacks may actually need to trade someone to make room for Corbin in their rotation, but based on his performance prior to Tommy John, it may be worthwhile to move him back into a starting role.
Ray, meanwhile, may be the most valuable pitcher they have with regard to the trade market, as he’s a lefty with plenty of velocity. His numbers last season don’t reflect his potential, and while the Diamondbacks are excited to have him in their rotation for years to come, they may be willing to trade him if they get a good enough offer for him.
Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley are two more potential trade chips for Arizona. Both were once top prospects in Arizona’s farm system but have yet to reach their potential. Of course, based on their potential and upside, both Bradley and Shipley could make viable trade chips, especially since neither may be guaranteed a spot in the rotation after the acquisition of Walker.
As it stands, the Diamondbacks could have at least seven candidates for their starting rotation in Greinke, Miller, Walker, Corbin, Ray, Bradley, and Shipley, and that doesn’t even include prospects Anthony Banda and Matt Koch, both of whom could also factor into Arizona’s rotation plans. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the Diamondbacks holding onto all of those starters. But considering the lack of quality starters on the free agent market, the Diamondbacks would be foolish not to listen to any offers they receive for their young starters, making a trade involving at least one of them a distinct possibility this winter.