The Arizona Diamondbacks, by all accounts, were one of the final few teams to be considered by the camp of Japanese free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
But the 25-year-old phenom won’t be coming to the desert. Instead, Tanaka inked a seven-year, $155 million contract with the New York Yankees.
Tanaka’s signing in the Bronx leaves Arizona with a starting rotation which looks a lot like it did at the end of the 2013 season — Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado.
Of course, the D-backs could pursue another starter in a much smaller free agent deal or explore trades with other Major League franchises.
Or, there’s Archie Bradley.
The 21-year-old was selected by the D-backs with the seventh pick of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft and has excelled wherever he’s pitched in the minors.
In 2013, Bradley went 14-5 with a 1.84 ERA in 26 starts at Single-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile. Earlier this month, the Oklahoma native was named the top right-handed pitching prospect in baseball by MLB.com.
Arizona general manager Kevin Towers was a guest of Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday and said Bradley may not be far off from pitching for the big league club.
“He’s gonna come in here blazing, he thought he was ready last year in July or August,” Towers said. “From what we’ve seen — the velocity, the fastball command is there, the breaking ball is there, he’s strong, he’s durable, he’s powerful. The higher we’ve moved him up, the better he’s been.
“I would not be surprised if he opens up a lot of eyes and puts a lot of pressure on us to open up with him. If he’s one of our best five we’ll do it.”
There was talk, mostly from the fan base, that the D-backs would call Bradley up to the Majors late last season, but the organization decided against it.
Towers is much more open to the idea of having Bradley as part of the 2014 rotation if he’s good enough to earn a spot in spring training.
“We’re not going to sit there and worry about the free agency clock and try to save a year of arbitration,” he said. “We want to go out and win ball games and if Archie Bradley is one of our best five, he’ll start the season come Opening Day.”