Most would assume the club would not be hesitant to call up top prospect Archie Bradley if the team's recently injured No. 1 starter, Patrick Corbin, requires surgery. But as stated in a piece I wrote March 19, the Diamondbacks should refrain from calling up Bradley until at least September.
There are other options, of course, like bringing up another minor leaguer. They could also sign a free agent like Barry Zito or Jeff Niemann. They're not the most fantastic options, but they are options nonetheless.
Here are three reasons why the Diamondbacks should pursue David Price.
Patrick Corbin Will Be Missed
Although Corbin stumbled down the stretch last season, he was still one of the reasons the Diamondbacks were in the running for the division title.
Without Corbin, the pitching staff is almost certain to struggle, especially considering the division they play in. Wade Miley showed flashes of becoming an ace in 2012 but saw his ERA, WHIP and walk total rise in 2013. Trevor Cahill has not been the same pitcher he was in 2010, when he earned an All-Star appearance.
Then there is the back end of the rotation.
Bronson Arroyo has a career ERA over four and is an innings-eater more than anything. With Corbin out, Randall Delgado may become the fifth starter. He is just 10-17 with a 4.09 ERA in three seasons with the Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves.
It is hard to bet that the team can improve on back-to-back 81-81 seasons without Corbin, who was 14-8 last year. It needs a guy who is capable of winning 20 games—something no other pitcher in the current rotation has done.
Acquiring Price from the Tampa Bay Rays could hardly be called a rental. He still has one year of arbitration remaining and isn’t a free agent until after the 2015 season.
Whom do you think the Diamondbacks should sign to replace Corbin?
Price’s contract will earn him $14 million this season. That is hardly a deal that breaks the bank, considering Bronson Arroyo’s contract is worth $9.5 million this season. Price is worth much more than what he is getting paid this season.
Plus, if Arizona does turn out to be a long-term option for Price, the Diamondbacks will have the money to extend his contract. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported in January (h/t SB Nation) that the team is working on a new television deal that would bring in around $90 million per year.
Corbin isn’t available for arbitration for another two years. The club’s biggest contracts for the 2014 season are $11 million for Aaron Hill and Martin Prado.
The Diamondbacks have already spent $30 million or so this offseason. What's $14 million more for Price?
The Future Rotation
The Diamondbacks would potentially have one of the best rotations in baseball, not just the division.
The front of the rotation would begin with Price as the ace, followed by Bradley and finish with Corbin. That sounds like a tough three-game stretch for any team, let alone the offensively lacking NL West.
Even going from No. 5 in the rotation back to the top would prove difficult for opposing teams. Imagine facing the finesse-style pitching of Bronson Arroyo one day and taking on Price’s power pitching the next.
Hill, Prado, Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero are all under contract until at least 2016. Combine the pitching staff with that offensive core and you have a pretty solid baseball team.
If general manager Kevin Towers wants to stay in Phoenix past next season, this is a deal he needs to start pursuing.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
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