The Arizona Diamondbacks are contemplating a full rebuild. If that comes to fruition, the Chicago Cubs could shore up the bullpen via trade.
After a monumental second-half collapse, the Arizona Diamondbacks are taking a good, long hard look in the mirror. And, according to multiple reports, the team is considering a full-blown rebuild down in Phoenix.
“I think one of the takeaways for us was just to get a feel for what the trade market would be for various guys, evaluate the free-agent market as it comes out and see what happens, and reconvene,” GM Mike Hazen told reporters this week.
This should hardly surprise anyone given how the season ended. Arizona went 8-19 in September, losing the division to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. On the year, they went 20-31 in one-run games, played .446 ball after the All-Star Break and now stand to lose both A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin this offseason.
Two of the guys mentioned specifically by USA Today MLB beat writer Bob Nightengale? First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and right-hander Zack Greinke. Now, the Cubs obviously have no need for a high-dollar first baseman. And after inking Yu Darvish to a six-year deal, another big-time arm seems unlikely. But that’s not to say Chicago won’t pick up the phone this offseason.
The Cubs have several relievers set to hit the market this winter, including Justin Wilson, Jesse Chavez, Jaime Garcia and Anthony Bass. Given Brandon Morrow‘s injury concerns heading into next season, adding a late-inning arm to compliment Pedro Strop is key.
Enter Archie Bradley.
A young, cost-controlled piece in the pen
The bearded 25-year-old right-hander actually garnered some MVP votes (albeit distant ones) two years ago, when he pitched to a sterling 1.73 earned run average, making a career-high 63 appearances for the Dbacks. His 1.041 WHIP marked a new career-best, as well.
Last season, he wasn’t quite as good, but still turned in a solid campaign. He made a career-best 76 appearances out of the Arizona bullpen, pitching to a 1.144 WHIP and 3.71 FIP. The main difference from his breakout 2017 performance? Hitters took him deep at a rate nearly double the year prior.
He’s under team control through 2022 – which lines up pretty well with the Cubs’ window. He’s shown what he can do – but it all comes down to what Arizona wants in return.
Really, it depends what you think Bradley is. Is he an elite back-end reliever who will throw up numbers like he did two years ago or a more middle-of-the-road piece comparable to what we saw in 2018.
One thing is for sure, though. Theo Epstein is going to check in on guys like this. Don’t be shocked to see a revamped bullpen in 2019 – and it could all start with a move for this former top prospect.