This is not the first time the Diamondbacks may have compromised on their future.
After all, here’s a team which unloaded marquee players like Carlos Gonzalez, Jarrod Parker, Max Scherzer, Justin Upton and during this off-season, the trend may continue.
So far, general manager Kevin Towers dealt pitching prospects David Holmberg and Tyler Skaggs and outfielder Adam Eaton. Earlier this week, he shipped third baseman Matt Davidson to the Chicago White Sox.
Towers has a penchant for building a strong pitching staff and believes the back end remains the paramount position. That may explain which he acquired closer Addison Reed from the White Sox for Davidson but may have compromised the future.
That’s because Davidson was concerned a solid prospect and showed improvement through September. After this recall from Triple A Reno late last season, manager Kirk Gibson went with Davidson at third and Chris Owings at shortstop and tried to disguise showcasing these players.
In the end, Davidson became expendable and Towers saw the option of moving the 22-year-old native of Yucaipa, Calif.
When Towers acquired outfielder Mark Trumbo from the Angles as part of a three-team deal on Dec. 10, Davidson’s fate appeared sealed.
No longer would Martin Prado shuffle between left field, third base and second base. With Trumbo secure as the D-backs 2014 left-fielder, Prado was given third. That made Davidson locked behind Prado on the depth chart and fighting for a roster spot with Cliff Pennington, Didi Gregorius and, if the D-backs re-sign him, Eric Chavez.
“With the way the team is shaped, it would be difficult to get at-bats for Davidson,” Towers said earlier this week in a conference call with reporters. “We have depth at third but still looking to add to our bench.”
If there existed little room for Davidson, there appeared to be a short side of patience. Then again, Towers locked himself into substantial deals with marginal players.
Here’s a starting rotation in disarray and Towers continues to tell reporters the Diamondbacks are in the market for a quality starter.
The current situation is mainly the fault of Towers. That’s because he acquired right-hander Trevor Cahill in a deal with Oakland on Dec. 9, 2011 and promptly signed the Oceanside, Calif. native to a four-year, $30 million contract.
In the two years in Sedona Red, Cahill posted a 21-22 record in a combined 57 starts and landed on the disabled list for part of last season..
Add Brandon McCarthy, whom Towers signed to a two-year deal last off-season for $18 million. Because of past shoulder issues, McCarthy has landed on the disabled list 11 times in his seven year major league career. Last season, he went 5-11, ERA of 4.53 in 22 starts for Arizona.
Like several teams, the Diamondbacks would love to sign Japanese right-hander Mashiro Tanaka. At 25-years-old, Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Rakuten Golden Eagles last season.
Earlier this year, Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball signed a three-year agreement to make Japanese players available between November 1 and February 1 for a cap of $20 million per player. The Eagles want Tanaka and voted against the agreement.
For the time-being, Tanaka remains in Japan.
Unless Towers can pull a magic trick for a starter, the Diamondbacks will go to spring training with the quintet of Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Randall Delgado, McCarthy and Cahill as projected starters.
Combined, these five recorded a 42-46 record in 2013 and that’s reason enough for Towers to seriously upgrade the starting rotation.
Not that Davidson, Holmberg and Skaggs held the key to success in 2014, these players could have been contributors perhaps next season. At the least, they would be around to help build a foundation for the future.