Arizona Diamondbacks Make Another Splash, Acquire Shelby Miller From Atlanta


The Arizona Diamondbacks continued to address a problem area from last season, acquiring right-hander Shelby Miller for outfielder Ender Inciarte, righty prospect Aaron Blair and 2015’s #1 overall pick Dansby Swanson. The move is the second time that Arizona has traded a first round draft pick to the Atlanta Braves in the last six months. Atlanta also brought aboard Touki Toussaint, selected 16th overall in 2014, late last June.

Baseball fans and executives have reacted similarly to the most recent trade–pure astonishment. Not that the D-Backs are making a big move towards contention, but that they would give up so much for someone that isn’t considered a legitimate ace. Miller went 6-17 last season, totaling 205.1 innings and a 3.02 ERA. That mark will likely go up a tick with his home games coming at the hitter-friendly Chase Field.

The addition of Miller certainly helps Arizona boast a formidable rotation, led by Zack Greinke who signed last week, with Miller and Patrick Corbin rounding out the top three. Behind them will be some group of two between Rubby De La RosaArchie Bradley, Robbie Ray, Chase Anderson, and even possibly Zack Godley. The addition of Miller and Greinke to one of the best offenses in the National League in 2015 should leave no doubt that the Arizona Diamondbacks are making a big play to compete–not only in the NL West–but for the World Series.

Many view Swanson as a solid future Major Leaguer with All-Star potential. In 22 games, Swanson hit .289 with a .394 on-base percentage to go along with one homer and eleven RBIs for Low-A Hillsboro. Bernie Pleskoff of MLB Pipeline tweeted out that he felt that Blair was the biggest loss in the deal. Between Double-A and Triple-A last season, Blair totaled a 13-5 record to go along with a cumulative 2.92 ERA over 160.1 innings. He performed well in Triple-A Reno, so the Braves could start him in their rotation in 2016, but he will likely gain some extra seasoning with the Gwinnett Braves before getting the call to the big leagues.

While the package sent to Atlanta has Braves fans jumping in the streets, there is an argument to be made for why the D-Backs did what they did. Paul Goldschmidt is signed through 2018 with a team option at an almost laughable $14.5 million (considering the market this winter) for 2019. That gives the D-Backs four seasons to bring home a championship before possibly losing the heartbeat of their team. Signing Greinke put them in contention in the NL West for 2016, while Miller gives them some much needed rotational depth. Swanson has an ETA of sometime during 2018, so including him in the deal shouldn’t necessarily hurt the team’s chances in their new window.

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Miller is signed through 2018, which could shave another year off of that timeframe, but adding him to the mix certainly helps the team’s chances in the near future. Blair could have started the season with Arizona, but it looks as though management wanted to go with more of a sure bet in Miller instead of waiting for Blair to reach his potential in the Majors. It’s a rash decision, but understandable to an extent. The Atlanta Braves come out as the early winners of this trade, but this swap also improves Arizona’s chances to become a power player in the NL over the next few seasons.