The Arizona Diamondbacks throw a curve ball to the rest of the league by signing RHP Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206 million deal. Arizona makes a huge jump in the free agent market by agreeing to a mammoth contract with the right-hander, who last pitched for division rival, Los Angeles Dodgers. There has been reports, that last month the Diamondbacks swung and missed on RHP Johnny Cueto, who was offered a contract by the team worth $120 million dollars.
Now that Greinke is in agreement to come to the desert, where do the Arizona Diamondbacks stand in the NL West? After finishing the 2015 season four games below .500 with a 79-83 record the Diamondbacks are out for blood in the division.
Arizona is in dire need for an ace after finishing 17th in the league with a 4.04 team ERA. Rubby De La Rosa led the team in wins with 14, but had an ERA of 4.67 which is not “ace” worthy. The lowest ERA among the team’s starters was Robbie Ray, standing at 3.52, which is pretty good only if you look past his 5-12 record on the year. Patrick Corbin, who missed all of the 2014 season and some of the 2015 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, was nothing special when he returned from the disabled list.
With Greinke to anchor that rotation and to bring some veteran leadership into the clubhouse, maybe, just maybe this will put the Diamondbacks over the hump to win the NL West for the first time since 2011 when they lost in five games to the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS.
As for the bats, leader Paul Goldschmidt, who batted .321 and blasted 33 home runs while driving in 110 is the type of guy you want in the cleanup spot for your team. A.J. Pollock, who is coming off a career season batting .315 and pounding out 20 HRs is bound for another great year. Having these two sluggers in the middle of the lineup should take some pressure off of youngsters like Ender Inciarte and Yasmany Tomas, who has yet to play to his full potential. The only thing left for the team is the need of the two young middle infielders, Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed who must come through next season if the Diamondbacks want to contend.
After revealing their new set of uniforms yesterday, and signing one of the elite pitchers in the league today, it looks like the Arizona Diamondbacks are ready to take over the West. With arguably the best offense in the division, Arizona addressed their biggest hole, and may still add one more starting pitcher. If that happens, the Diamondbacks must be considered the hands-down favorites to wrestle the NL West crown away from the Dodgers.