Diamondbacks Still in Market for Starting Pitching

Jeff SummersCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2012

Over the weekend the Arizona Diamondbacks were linked to right-handed starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. After making the trade on December 9th bringing left-handed relief pitcher Craig Breslow and right-handed starting pitcher Trevor Cahill there were many who thought the Diamondbacks were done.

Arizona has been stockpiling young pitchers in their minor league system with several seemingly ready to compete for a big league roster spot. If that is the case, why would Arizona be looking to add another pitcher to their staff? The simple answer is, window of opportunity.

With the San Diego Padres full-tilt in rebuilding mode, the ownership problems in Los Angeles casting doubt about their 2012 season, the Colorado Rockies seeming retooling, and the uncertainty of the San Francisco Giants offense to support their pitching; the National League Western Division is anyone’s.

Rather than waiting for the young arms to mature in 2-3 years the Diamondbacks have decided that their window of opportunity is now. The formerly untouchable Jarrod Parker was sent to Oakland as part of the Cahill trade. The question now is, are the Diamondbacks willing to part with any other pitching prospects for a proven starter?

The answer seems to be no. Arizona will look to fill their desire for a fifth starter via free agency rather than by trade. Colon, a free agent after spending last season with the New York Yankees subsequently signed with the Oakland Athletics but other starters are still on the market.

Among the names still available are former Diamondbacks Joe Saunders, Micah Owings, Zach Duke, and the every lovable Armando Galarraga. Saunders would seem to be the best fit and wanted to come back but contract demands may preclude a reunion.

It may be worth a shot to take a flyer on a former starter who is attempting to return from injury. There is of course Brandon Webb who hasn’t pitched in three seasons and Chris Young whose arm problems have kept him off the field for most of the past two seasons.

Another name that could become a viable option is Roy Oswalt who is likely looking for a rather short-term deal to show he is healthy which would fit nicely with the Diamondbacks desire to have a veteran this season and allow their minor league pitchers one more year before being mainstays in the Arizona rotation.