One of the more interesting storylines this season is how badly the Arizona Diamondbacks have been doing, specifically focusing on the disastrous (so far) Shelby Miller trade, Turns out, before completing one season with the team, he was almost traded to the Miami Marlins.
According to a Marlins executive who spoke to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the D-Backs and Marlins had a deal worked out, sending Miller to South Beach in exchange for three starting pitchers (prospects), with Luis Castillo, later involved in a different deal with an AL West team (San Diego Padres, Andrew Cashner), supposed to go the other way.
Why didn’t it happen? Well, turns out the Diamondbacks ownership cancelled the deal, telling Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart, the two people in charge of baseball decisions in the ball club, that it just wouldn’t look good after what they gave up for Miller: Aaron Blair, Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson. The ownership used the same reason when allegedly La Russa and Stewart planned on replacing manager Chip Hale with triple-A’s Phil Nevin.
The stories coming out right now are interesting because of the contracts coming up: The 2017 options for Stewart and De Jon Watson (another Diamondbacks front office decision maker) are up on August 31. La Russa’s option is up after the season. The Diamondbacks prefer to let the season (51-73 so far) end, and only then make up their minds about whether their current direction is the right one despite all of the problems, or go another way considering how badly things have gone this year, even if injuries (Especially the one to Zack Greinke) had a big part in the season going South very quickly.
Miller was an All-Star for the Atlanta Braves in 2015, but he was disastrous since joining the Diamondbacks via trade in a very expensive package. In 14 starts, he’s registered only 69.1 innings, posting a 7.14 ERA, averaging only 1.47 strikeouts per walk, with his WAR at -1.0. He was unsurprisingly designated for assignment, doing OK in minor league baseball, but the Diamondbacks don’t plan on bringing him up to the majors anytime soon.
As for Hale, he’ll survive this season, but I’m not sure about the offseason. He didn’t do too badly during his first year (2015) with the Diamondbacks, but some seasons are just too bad to ignore, and it could be that Arizona will follow their front office plans, only with a new manager.