The theme of the Diamondbacks’ uniform unveiling on Thursday was “The evolution is here.” Fast forward 24 hours and that statement resonated with more than just the new uniforms when Arizona shocked the baseball world.
Nobody predicted the team to fork over a record $206.5 million to sign Zack Greinke. But they did – and that’s just the start of what’s to come.
Gather ’round the hot stove, Diamondbacks fans. Winter Meetings are here.
Here’s a look at some of the chatter in Nashville, Tenn., surrounding Arizona:
Could the D-backs get a discount on Mike Leake?
In 2010, former Sun Devil Mike Leake made history when he became the first player in a decade to go straight from the draft to the big leagues. Now, the former Arizona State pitcher could be headed back to the Valley.
Not only do Leake’s ties to ASU make the D-backs an appealing fit for him; the right-hander also lives in Arizona in the offseason.
The Diamondbacks are in the market for another starter and Leake fits the bill. His 3.70 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 2015 won’t wow you, but the right-hander brings more to the table.
Averaging just over 14 pitches an inning, he’s one of the most efficient pitchers in baseball (yes, more efficient than Greinke, Clayton Kershaw or David Price). He’s also relatively young at only 28 years old.
Thanks to his low pitch count, Leake would bring stability to the Diamondbacks’ rotation as his efficiency gives him the ability to consistently go deeper into games, ultimately preserving the bullpen.
His price tag is reportedly getting steeper by the day, but with the money that Arizona was willing to spend on Greinke, there’s no ruling them out of the hunt.
Jose Fernandez is another option
One of the biggest trade rumors surrounding the D-backs over the past month was their interest in 23-year old Jose Fernandez. The 2013 NL Rookie of the Year is 22-9 over his career with an ERA of 2.40 and a WHIP of just 1.01.
The hard-throwing right-hander comes with a high ceiling and a high price tag. Since Fernandez would be part of a trade, that would cost the D-backs players.
With Arizona adamant that A.J. Pollock is virtually untouchable, Ken Rosenthal reported that the Marlins asked for starting pitcher Patrick Corbin and more from Arizona in exchange for Fernandez, a price that the Diamondbacks might not be willing to pay.
Shelby Miller trade rumors continue
What do Leake, Fernandez and Miller all have in common? They’re all young starting pitchers with high upside. They all also happen to be former first rounders that all have at least three major league seasons under their belt.
A September call-up in 2012, Miller has a career ERA of 3.22 in slightly more than three seasons in the show. The 25-year-old right-hander is currently the ace of the Atlanta Braves but would drop to a clear No. 2 starter behind Greinke if he were to join the Diamondbacks.
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