Patrick Corbin was just named NL Player of the Week, and the honor comes as Corbin seems to have returned to his 2013 All-Star form. Corbin is now 4-0 in five starts with a 1.89 ERA. He also leads all of baseball with 48 strikeouts.
With the attention Corbin is getting also comes rumor and speculation. Two of the three news stories that pop up when Corbin’s name is Googled link him to the Yankees. Sure, it’s plausible. Corbin is a legacy Yankees fan and he’ll be on the less expensive end of the upcoming free agency market. But free agency rumors in April? Come on.
Still, these rumors do have merit, and it brings upon the question of just how good the D-backs’ rotation will be next year.
2018 D-backs Rotation Prediction
1. Zack Greinke
2. Zack Godley
3. Robby Ray
4. Shelby Miller
5. Who knows?
Fifth Starter Options
Two of the most feasible free agents after this season will be Trevor Cahill and Jeremy Hellickson. (Lol, nope.) Other big names are Gio Gonzalez, Matt Harvey, Clayton Kershaw, Dallas Keuchel and Bartolo Colon. The problem with those candidates is that the first four will be out of Arizona’s budget, especially if the D-backs want to resign AJ Pollack, and Colon is way too old and fat.
Derek Holland, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy seem like the best direction the organization could go in the free agent market. McCarthy, of those three, seems like the best opportunity. He is 3-0 with a 2.91 ERA in four starts this season and has ties to Phoenix. He is a partial owner of Phoenix Rising FC (Didier Drogba and Solomon Asante are so much fun to watch) and he lives in the Valley. McCarthy might be the best route to take on the market, if ownership decides to do so.
Matt Koch is always an option. He might be getting a lot of innings this season because of the Tommy Johns, Taijuan Walker and Shelby Miller. Koch has given up one run in eight innings this season.
The D-backs are two or three years out from their next batch of starters come through the farm system. Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener look promising in Jackson Double A. Duplantier is first on the D-backs 2018 Prospect list on MLB.com, and Widener is fourth.
Another option from the minors is Jimmie Sherfy. You might be thinking, “he’s a reliever,” but calling him up to the majors would free up a reliever. That would mean the return of Archie Bradley to the rotation! Sherfy would be fine in the bullpen, and the addition of the slider to Archie’s repertoire could make him a viable starter, although he is one of the best relievers in the big leagues.
The first through third starters in the rotation would be among the best in the league. Zack Greinke is well, Zack Greinke. Enough said. Robbie Ray has an ERA tickling five, but he’s still 2-0. He’ll be able to rebound. He’s just suffering from the early slump players hit after breaking out, right? And Zack Godley is a guaranteed quality start, and might do a little more. These three will win any team a series if thrown in all three games.
Shelby Miller is, as of now, a mystery. He is slated to come back around June, and no one knows what he’ll be like. There is a misconception that he pitched well last season. He didn’t. He had a 2-2 record with a 4.09 ERA. But I guess that’s better than what anyone expected. Miller’s comeback shouldn’t be hopeful, it should be resented.
The fifth starter in the rotation is going to be an adventure. There will be some really good starts and some god-awful ones. Whether the D-backs go the aging free agent route or the minor league one, it’ll be fun to watch. Especially if they go the Archie Bradley route. Then, he’ll finally get to hit.
The 2018 rotation will be okay at best. Arizona’s fourth starter is going to be resented, but the fifth starter will be intriguing. Having the top three that the D-backs will have will still allow the snakes to make the playoffs. Spreading out the top three starters will allow the D-backs to win a series, but nothing more than that. If the D-backs are going to do some serious damage in October, this is the year to do it.