MLB executives have been in Nashville this week for the league’s annual Winter Meetings, where many trades and free-agent signings happen every year. Some of the biggest deals that have been made so far this week are the Diamondbacks adding another starting pitcher to their rotation and the Yankees trading for an addition to their infield.
The Diamondbacks didn’t waste much time after spending more than $200 million to sign SP Zack Greinke before making another splashy transaction. This time, the team that finished third in the NL West last season has traded for SP Shelby Miller, sending three young players — including their 2015 first-round draft pick, SS Dansby Swanson — to the Braves in exchange for Miller, who posted a 3.02 ERA and 1.25 WHIP last season to go along with 175 strikeouts.
Although trading a first-round draft pick befor he even plays a major league game is risky in case he becomes a superstar, the Diamondbacks appear to be going all-in to win the division this season. In my analysis of the Greinke signing, I questioned the value of the move without much of a rotation behind Greinke. Signing Miller alleviates that concern a bit because he is a legitimate No. 2 starter. With 1B Paul Goldschmidt, one of the best hitters in the game, leading the offense the Diamondbacks now look like serious contenders in the NL West in 2016. One of the concerns with the team now is the lack of a top-tier closer in the bullpen to finish games.
Another trade that transpired in recent days saw the Cubs sending SS Starlin Castro to the Yankees in exchange for P Adam Warren and a player to be named. Castro became expendable for the Cubs after they sgned free-agnet utilityman Ben Zobrist to a four-year, $56 million contract that reunites him with his former Rays manager, Joe Maddon.
Castro had an up-and-down season last year, being benched in the second half after experiencing struggles on both offense and defense. Overall, he hit .265 for the season, but he finished strong, with a .426 average in the month of September. Castro will be the Yankees’ starting second baseman, forming a double-play combination with SS Didi Gregorius. He’ll replace Stephen Drew, who was the team’s main second baseman last season.
In Warren, the Cubs are getting a pitcher who has spent much of his career as a reliver but got 17 starts in 43 appearances last season. Over his four-year career, Warren is 15-17, with a 3.39 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 245 strikeouts in 289.1 innings. As of now, he is slated to join the Cubs’ bullpen.