Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said Sunday that signing Bronson Arroyo will not affect top prospect Archie Bradley's chances of making the team out of spring training, reports Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona.
Towers says the team will take the five starting pitchers the team feels are most able to contribute to the team in 2014, regardless of outside factors. That includes the possibility of delaying Bradley's arbitration clock -- Towers claims the team is not concerned about saving time or money with Bradley but wants him on the team as soon as he is ready to be a positive factor.
Bradley, ranked No. 5 on MLB.com's list of top-100 prospects for 2014, was the team's first round pick in 2011. He made 26 starts between High-A and Double-A last year, posting a 1.84 ERA and striking out over a batter per inning. He has struggled some with control over his professional career, walking 4.7 batters per nine innings. However, high strikeout rates and an ability to force batters into poor contact has more than made up for his walks thus far.
While it appears the Diamondbacks will give Bradley a fair shake to make the team out of spring training, it seems unlikely that he will find himself in Sydney, Australia when the Diamondbacks open the 2014 season against the Dodgers March 22. Teams rarely will call up pitchers straight from Double-A, and Arizona is not lacking for starting pitching depth.
Arroyo will join Bradley, Brandon McCarthy, Patrick Corbin, Trevor Cahill, Wade Miley, and Randall Delgado as viable starting candidates. Josh Collmentor also has starting experience but is likely to remain in the bullpen unless there is an emergency. Delgado is out of options and would need to be exposed on waivers to send him back to the minors. The Diamondbacks are unlikely to take that risk and could consider him for a bullpen spot if he does not earn a place in the rotation.
With so much depth ahead of him and a lack of Triple-A experience, Bradley may have a tough time breaking camp with the major league squad. If he is sent back to the minors for more seasoning, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before he forces Arizona's hand to call him up.