Don't let the headlines fool you: the Yankees weren't the only team to take advantage of Detroit's fire sale. While ESPN will certainly be running features over the next week regarding Curtis Granderson's move to the Bronx, the Arizona Diamondbacks helped themselves just as much, if not more so, than the Bronx Bombers.
The Diamondbacks already have one the league’s youngest and most talented rosters, bolstered by wunderkind outfielder Justin Upton, slugging third baseman Mark Reynolds and shortstop Stephen Drew, along with one of the best one-two starting punches in baseball in Brandon Webb and Dan Haren.
When you consider both what they gained by being the third party in the Granderson deal and the openness of the NL West, the message sent is quite clear: they are ready to compete now.
The Diamondbacks added 27-year-old All-Star Edwin Jackson, a pitcher equipped to be a number two on most rotations. Assuming a successful return fromWebb, Jackson will become arguably the best number three man in baseball.
He isn’t the flashiest pitcher in baseball, but he has powerful stuff (a 94 MPH fastball, along with an above average slider) and pitched 214 innings last year. On a staff decimated by injuries last year, his presence will be nothing but helpful.
Ian Kennedy, the other newcomer, brings a lot of baggage with him. Once one of the most highly touted prospects in the Yankees’ farm system, the young right-hander has struggled with injuries and inconsistency throughout his two-year stay in New York.
His upside makes you think that he can do good things for the Diamondbacks, though, either as a reliever or a middle-rotation starter. According to Mound Talk, Kennedy “Won’t overpower anyone… but will command his pitches effectively and deceive hitters.” Perfect for a middle or back-end starter.
The Diamondbacks did have to give up one of their more highly touted prospects, Max Scherzer, in the process. Scherzer appears to be headed for stardom down the road, and the Diamondbacks will surely miss his electric stuff coming out of the bullpen.
But, by bolstering their already-strong rotation, the message they sent was clear: they are ready to compete now in the NL West.