Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart could spend the better part of the next few years defending their decision-making.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ “win now” mentality will surely have its benefits, but most every trade this past year has hurt the depth within the farm system. It certainly could be said regarding the D-backs’ trade with the Atlanta Braves that helped Arizona acquire pitcher Shelby Miller.
The Diamondbacks shipped out lead-off man — and very good outfielder — Ender Inciarte, plus No. 1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson and one of the club’s top pitching prospects, Aaron Blair.
CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa didn’t like the move from Arizona’s perspective. No, he hated it, calling it the worst move of the MLB offseason.
I can’t help but wonder if the Braves would have taken Swanson for Miller straight up. Or Inciarte and Blair only. But no, Arizona gave them all three. Either the D-Backs believe Miller is a budding ace or they soured on Swanson really quick, because otherwise it doesn’t make much sense.
The Braves were going to get a nice haul for Miller no matter what — they were reportedly talking to the Cubs about Jorge Soler — but kudos to them for prying such an impressive package of players from the D-Backs. That’s a return fit for a Cy Young winning ace.
Expected to be the second starter in the rotation behind the very well-paid Zack Greinke, Miller and returning pitcher Patrick Corbin should give Arizona a very solid 1-2-3 punch. The 25-year-old Miller went 6-17 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.25 WHIP last season for a Braves team that could offer little run support.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Axisa isn’t the first MLB analyst to trash one of Arizona’s moves. ESPN’s Keith law criticized the D-backs’ trade to acquire infielder Jean Segura, saying they “flat-out lost this deal on value.”
And during last season, FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal wrote what might be called a controversial column defending the Diamondbacks after they threw in raw pitching prospect Touki Toussaint into a deal with Atlanta. That sweetener convinced the Braves to take on Bronson Arroyo’s contract.
People clearly have different feelings about the moves Stewart and La Russa have made. But if there’s any agreement, it’s that there have been a consistent theme: the D-backs are giving up young talent to get better immediately.
If they win and do it in the big way, it’ll be hard to criticize any of their moves.