Though it came as a surprise, no one questioned the Diamondbacks’ decision to sign ace starter Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract. And though that signing pushed the Diamondbacks clearly into contention mode, the club’s acquisition of starter Shelby Miller raised a few eyebrows. The club sent breakout outfielder Ender Inciarte, 2015 #1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson, and pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves.
That is a lot to pay for a starter that, while good, has never posted an ERA below 3.00 and has crossed the 200-inning threshold only once. Sure, Miller is young, but he is only under team control for three more seasons and will get progressively more expensive while moving from a pitcher-friendly ballpark to a hitter-friendly park.
GM Dave Stewart resorted to some curious logic to defend the trade. Via Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports on Wednesday:
Reminded – or, perhaps, informed – that he gave an excessive amount to acquire Miller, Stewart, stone-faced, responded, “I would say that is incorrect. That’s three players. And, believe me, they’re very highly regarded players, but three players do not make our future.”
Besides, he said, a year ago Miller was traded for outfielder Jason Heyward, “And right now Jason Heyward is looking for $200 million. So we got a guy, quite frankly, if you value it that way, we got great value.”
By this logic, shortstop Jean Segura is valuable because the Angels sent him to the Brewers in exchange for Greinke in July 2012. There are numerous other examples one could use to point out the flaw in Stewart’s line of reasoning. Wayward pitcher Phillippe Aumont was one of three players the Mariners sent to the Phillies in exchange for Cliff Lee, who signed for $120 million. The Brewers sent Matt LaPorta, among others, to the Indians in July 2008 for CC Sabathia, who eventually signed for $122 million.
It’s not the first time Stewart has said something… questionable. Neil Weinberg ran down a handful at FanGraphs. Included is a gem from this past July in which Stewart did not know exactly how hard Touki Toussaint threw his fastball.
The Diamondbacks keep things interesting, that’s for sure.