For a few hours just before the non-waivers trade deadline, there were some hot rumors about the Arizona Diamondbacks going after one of the premier starting pitchers on the market. Dempster. Lee. Garza. Especially Garza. The best of those rumors had Garza and somebody else going to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton. Which obviously would have been the biggest deal of the summer.
It didn't happen, of course. Last week, the Diamondbacks acquired third baseman Chris Johnson from the Astros, and just before the deadline they acquired relief pitcher Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik from the Red Sox. But they're heading into the last two months of the season with the same starting pitchers who got them through the first four months.
Which isn't a terrible thing.
Less than 24 hours after the trade deadline, the Diamondbacks recalled pitcher Patrick Corbin from the minors, and he started against the Dodgers Wednesday afternoon.
If the Diamondbacks had traded for a premier starting pitcher, Corbin might have been included in the deal. The funny thing, though, is that Corbin might be, or become, a premier starting pitcher.
Last winter, the Diamondbacks made a five-player trade with the Athletics. The two key players in the deal were Trevor Cahill (a starting pitcher who made some money) and Jarrod Parker (a starting pitcher who made no money). The D'backs got Cahill from the A's, the A's got Parker from the D'backs.
Cahill's been really good this season. Parker's been better. One could argue with some conviction that the Diamondbacks would be better right now if they hadn't made that trade. Especially when you consider they also gave up relief pitcher Ryan Cook, who pitched in the All-Star Game.
Patrick Corbin's really good. He entered the season as the Diamondbacks' fifth- or sixth-best pitching prospect, but that's largely because the Diamondbacks had a ton of really good pitching prospects. During a five-start stint in the big club's rotation this spring, he struggled some but wasn't embarrassed. Later came a two-week stint in the bullpen, during which Corbin pitched well. He's also been really good in the minors this season.
No, he's not as good right now as Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster or any of the other big names that came up at the trading deadline. But he might be good enough right now for the Diamondbacks to catch the Dodgers and the Giants. And he doesn't make any money. Which is nice.
The Diamondbacks do have a huge number of exciting young pitchers, and they could have traded one of them. But you can never have too much young pitching. Just ask the Braves.