SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Despite perception that indicates otherwise, the Arizona Diamondbacks contend their starting rotation is not yet set.
Sure, five players appear to have spots locked up, but Archie Bradley or Randall Delgado may be able to move in and push someone out.
On-field performance will dictate which five pitchers break camp as starters, not service time and certainly not contracts, be it how many years a player is signed or how many dollars a player is owed.
Bradley, the team’s 21-year-old top pitching prospect, is participating in his first big league camp. Though projected to be a star in time, he would appear to be a long shot to crack the April rotation.
That leaves Delgado, whom the Diamondbacks acquired as part of the Justin Upton trade.
He and Bradley were expected to compete to be the fifth starter, but that changed following the addition of Bronson Arroyo on the first day of spring training.
The Arroyo signing means that in no particular order — and none has been decided upon, at least not publicly — he, Trevor Cahill, Patrick Corbin, Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley figure to be the five pitchers manager Kirk Gibson will have at his disposal to start the season.
Of course an injury could always throw a wrench into the plan, so Delgado must remain ready.
“I’ve been a starter all of my life, so I would like to start,” he said.
Delgado, 24, made 19 starts last season, going 5-7 with a 4.17 ERA, 23 walks and 76 strikeouts in 114.1 innings.
Should he not win a starter’s job this spring, Delgado more than likely will find himself shifted to the bullpen.
“If they decide to send me to the bullpen it’s OK. I don’t have a problem with that,” he said. “My job is just trying to pitch and get the outs. That’s it.”
Delgado is out of minor league options, meaning if the Diamondbacks did want to send him to the minors, they would have to expose him to the waiver wire first, where he could be claimed by another team.
“I feel pretty good (about remaining a Diamondback) if it’s a starter or a reliever, I don’t care,” he said. “I just try to make good adjustments and then just pitch as hard as I can.”
Delgado has made only two career relief appearances, including a two-inning stint in his D-backs debut June 3 at St. Louis.
Despite the uncertainty in his role moving forward, Delgado said he feels good with the progress he’s made thus far in spring, specifically working on keeping his pitches down in the zone.
His confidence is high.
“Let’s see what happens,” Delgado said. “I just try to pitch good every time I can.”