Throughout much of the winter, the Arizona Diamondbacks made no secret of their desire to build up their starting rotation. They made a strong push for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and were believed to be in the mix for names like Matt Garza and Ubaldo Jimenez. Ultimately, though, the team ended up signing Bronson Arroyo in one of the more underwhelming moves of the offseason.
Arroyo makes up the starting rotation for Arizona, and it’s one that features Patrick Corbin at the top, followed by the likes of Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, and Trevor Cahill. Add Josh Collmenter in there as your spot starter, and that’s not a bad look for a starting five. Of course, there is still at least one very big question for this Diamondbacks rotation, and it’s where Randall Delgado fits into all of this.
Delgado was acquired as part of the deal that sent Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves. Once a high impact arm in an organization loaded with pitching talent, Delgado hasn’t received much attention since coming over to the desert. He did get an extended look, and found some success, but given the D-Backs’ desire to upgrade their starting five this winter, it appeared that they were content to roll into the 2014 season with Delgado not a part of their rotation.
To some degree, that’s a questionable move. This is a guy who could benefit from an extended opportunity. He’ll turn 24 later this year and demonstrated some great things as a starter in 2013. His 19 starts were his most at the big league level, and his control was top notch. He walked less than two hitters per nine, easily the best mark of his career. His 4.26 ERA wasn’t the greatest, but his 3.94 xFIP looks pretty nice. His strikeouts dipped from what was expected of him, though, as he struck out barely over six hitters per nine.
Even at this point, Randall Delgado still represents something of a wild card. Perhaps that’s why the Diamondbacks were so eager to find another starter to add to the mix. He’s going to get an opportunity to fight for a rotation spot, but that’s likely going to be a losing battle, given the competition. His only option at this point is coming out of the bullpen, given that he’s out of options. Would the Diamondbacks explore a trade? Probably not, given his upside.
With the health concerns over a pitcher like McCarthy and the struggles of Cahill last year, it’s very possible that Delgado could get a shot in the rotation at some point this year. Of course, if he dazzles this spring, that chance may come sooner. At this point, though, his role and potentially his future with the Arizona Diamondbacks appears to be in limbo.