To prepare for that, Arizona’s ex-GM Dave Stewart pulled off a blockbuster deal for Shelby Miller, who was coming off an all-star season and the best statistical year of his career.
At the time, it looked as if the Braves got a king’s ransom for a pitcher who had simply had a career year. Inciarte was on an extremely team-friendly deal, and Swanson was the top draft pick months before. Today, it’s still just as bad, if not worse.
Inciarte is a Gold Glove, all-star center fielder for a Braves team with a promising future, and Swanson is still young and has a high ceiling as the team’s future shortstop.
Miller, on the other hand, has pitched to a 5-14 record with a 5.78 ERA in 24 games as a Diamondback, and he is currently rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery with a tentative return date set for some time during the 2018 season.
In addition to the horrendous trade, the Diamondbacks finished a paltry 69-93 in fourth place in the NL West in 2016 and missed the playoffs, so Stewart made an all-in move for a team that clearly wasn’t ready to compete.
Stewart certainly wasn’t the best GM during his brief stay with Arizona – as he was also responsible for shelling out $206.5 million for Zack Greinke and potentially jeopardizing the team’s chances of resigning J.D. Martinez this offseason – but the Miller trade is the ultimate black mark on his tenure.
While Arizona would love to have Inciarte patrolling Chase Field’s expansive outfield and Swanson on the infield with Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb, Miller’s performance has been the biggest disappointment.
Whether the pressure to perform well got to him or not, Miller has been a liability for the club.
There’s always a chance Miller could rebound this year and come back to pitch great down the stretch and carry it into 2019, but his track record since 2015 doesn’t provide much hope. The silver lining is that he’s only 27 years old and doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season, so it’s possible pitching coach Mike Butcher can help Miller right the ship.
As it stands now, however, the trade is one of, if not the, worst deals of the last decade.
Atlanta acquired two potential cornerstone-type players for a pitcher they had no intentions of keeping long-term, and Arizona is left with essentially nothing to show for it.