MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks Look For Another Starting Pitcher
Spring Training for the Diamondbacks is right around the corner (February 6th) and after consecutive 81-81 seasons this team needs to show they are aiming for a playoff run.
It appears that they are serious about adding another starting pitcher and there are several pitchers out there looking for a 2014 team.
As we know the Masahiro Tanaka frenzy continues. Teams will be offering Tanaka a lot of money for the privilege of adding him to their team. The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of those teams. Arizona could definitely be a landing spot for the Japanese star. The Diamondbacks might have a negotiating tool that none of the other teams have, Rick Short is a former teammate of Tanaka and he is now a scout in the Diamondbacks organization. Short played the final four years of his professional career in Japan, including the last three with Tanaka. We will have to wait and see if that factors into Tanaka’s decision.
While they may not be considered a true favorite to land him, the Diamondbacks present a viable option to the larger market teams that are out to sign Tanaka before the bidding process is over. The Diamondbacks know it will cost them quite a bit to sign an in-demand player like Tanaka and signing him will come with a tremendous risk that teams face when spending large amounts of money.
If Tanaka does not end up signing with the Diamondbacks they still have a few other starting pitchers to take a look at for the 2014season. The reason these pitchers are still available is because Tanaka has not decided on a team. Tanaka has to decide where he plans to play in 2014 by January. 24th.
Matt Garza could be considered the top favorite after Tanaka. There are questions about his elbow as he missed the second half of the 2012 season with a stress reaction in the back of his pitching elbow and also missed time last year due to a muscle strain. Garza did make his starts and stayed healthy from May through the end of the season last season, which hopefully means he is healthy again.
Garza went 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts with the Chicago Cubs last year, before being traded. Despite the irregular starts in Texas last year, Garza has averaged a 3.76 ERA in his past six seasons. He has playoff experience as and is 30 years old.
Bronson Arroyo is a 14-year veteran and has won 105 games over the last eight years pitching in Cincinnati’s hitter-friendly park, so Chase Field should not be much of an adjustment. Arroyo is 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA in six starts at Chase Field.
Johan Santana is another pitcher to consider. After missing all of 2013, Santana is still rehabilitating from his second anterior capsule surgery on his shoulder and has yet to pitch off a mound this winter. His health is unknown as he approaches his 35th birthday. Santana has missed two of the past three seasons. He worked his way back from his first surgery for 2012 and did throw the only no-hitter in New York Mets franchise history. But during his final 10 starts his ERA ballooned to 8.27 and he was shutdown in August. The Diamondbacks could offer him a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.
Ubaldo Jimenez has past success, which is certainly something the Diamondbacks are looking for in their rotation depth. His statistics from the second half of the 2013 season were excellent for the Cleveland Indians. Jimenez had a 1.82 ERA in 84+ innings and batters hit just .223 against him. He also added 100 strikeouts and has pitched in the National League. However, the Diamondbacks will have to consider whether Jimenez is worth a draft pick.
And, finally, there is Ervin Santana. Santana seems to be the forgotten pitcher. At the end of the season he said that he would like to sign for $100 million in the offseason and that scared away teams. He will not get the contract he wants, so teams will wait it out and see what his new demands will be. Santana was only 9 -10 with the Kansas City Royals last year, but had a 3.24 ERA and 161 strikeouts. He also brings post season experience. Santana would also cost the Diamondbacks a draft pick.
The Diamondbacks would be a team to be taken seriously with the addition of any of these pitchers. They have an offense that is capable of getting them to the playoffs, but once again it will come down to their pitching. The starting pitching must come together, but in order to do that, they will need to add another quality arm.
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