Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Arizona Diamondbacks Zack Greinke signing & Shelby Miller trade analysis

The Arizona Diamondbacks just made two huge moves by signing Zack Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller in the last week.

The Zack Greinke deal was a bit of a shocker, as most expected the 32 year old to get about a $150 million dollar contract.  Instead, he got a $206 million dollar contract.

The Shelby Miller trade has been widely panned as the Diamondbacks gave up:

Ender Inciarte, a player who posted a WAR of 3.7 & 5.3 in his first two major league seasons.

Aaron Blair, a prospect who was rated the #40 prospect in baseball before 2015.

Dansby Swanson, the #1 pick in the 2015 draft.

That seems like a huge haul for Miller, who was an All Star in 2015 and posted a 3.6 WAR.  He has a career war of 9.1 in a little over a three seasons of work.

However, much like the James Shield for Wil Myers trade a few years back, I think the there is a method to the Diamondbacks madness.  Time will tell if the move was a good move or not, but right now I don't think it's as bad as people make it out to be.

In 2015 the Diamondbacks were 79-83 with a +7 run differential.  So basically, they were about a .500 team.

They had the second best offense in the National League.   They had the best offense in the National League amongst teams that didn't play in Colorado.  Led by All Star & Gold Glovers Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock, the Arizona offense is really really good.

The pitching was a different story though.  Arizona's pitching was 9th in the National League, so sort of middle of the pack, a bit below National League average.  Rubby De La Rosa, Chase Anderson, and Jeremy Hellickson started 86 games for the Diamondbacks.  They all posted ERAs of atleast 4.30 and only Chase Anderson had a WAR that was above 0.0 and it was barely at that (0.8).

So this had to be improved.

Bringing in Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller for 60-70 starts should immediately make that situation better.  Add in rookie Robbie Ray for more than 23 starts and a hopefully healthy Patrick Corbin for more than 16 starts, and suddenly this pitching staff looks much deeper and much better.

It isn't hard to imagine that Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller single handedly change the run differential by about 50 runs by themselves.  Add in new depth in the pitching staff and a change of 60-70 or so runs in run differential isn't hard to imagine.  And when your run differential goes from +7 to lets say +70, you suddenly have a contender for the National League West Title (Dodgers were +72 last year, Giants were +69).

Of course, this assumes that Ender Inciarte's value can be replaced.  Which may not be a small feat.

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