The winter meetings have not yet started, but already a three-team deal has been pulled off. The big name is Didi Gregorius to the New York Yankees, followed by Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers, but the Arizona Diamondbacks came away with a pair of players.
Robbie Ray and Domingo Leyba head to the desert in Arizona, where they join a club that is in the midst of an aggressive rebuilding effort. After acquiring Jeremy Hellickson for outfielder Justin Williams and middle infielder Andrew Velazquez earlier in the off-season, Leyba will slide into the Diamondbacks organization as the best young middle-infielder in the system. Leyba is still 19 years old, but he looks much more mature, and that shows on the diamond. He has hit better than .300 in his two years in the minor leagues, and spent October and November in the Arizona Fall League, where he more than held his own. Talking to scouts, he seems to be someone that grows on you the more you see him as he has no real plus tool, but his overall talent flirts with plus. He needs to improve his approach at the plate but the bat skills are good enough that he should hit for average all the way to the big leagues. Defensively, he is likely limited to second base, but he can play that position at an above-average level.
Ray has been dealt for the second time in as many off-seasons, being part of the deal that saw Doug Fister joining the rotation in Washington. There is some question as to whether or not Ray can stick as a starter long-term, but he is big league ready and should get a shot in the Arizona rotation, which is what the D-Backs were looking for. His best pitch is his fastball that can reach the mid-90s to go with a consistent, but not special, change-up and an inconsistent, but potentially plus, breaking ball. If Ray doesn’t cut it in the rotation, he could be a very good late inning reliever with the upside of Andrew Miller.
At first glance, it looks like the Diamondbacks may have gotten the short end of the stick in the deal, but trading the defense-first Gregorious for a future offensive weapon at second and a player that will be able to make an impact in either the rotation or bullpen this year could really help the Diamondbacks as they look to become competitive again.