The Braves are continuing their extended rebuild, while the Diamondbacks continue to revamp a rotation that needed to play catch up in the NL West. Atlanta reportedly traded Shelby Miller to Arizona, according to Ken Rosenthal.
The Diamondbacks recently signed Zack Greinke to a record six-year, $206.5 million contract, and now they have added Miller. While Miller is not the ace Greinke is, he's still managed to put up ERA+ of 122 and 124 in two of the last three seasons, and his disappointing 2014 was still an average season on the mound. Combined with Patrick Corbin, who before these two moves was the D-Backs' nominal ace, the moves should give them a rotation that can keep up with anyone in the National League.
Maybe best of all, Arizona managed to hold on to A.J. Pollock, who was reportedly the player the Braves needed to acquire in order to justify moving Miller. Instead, Atlanta received Ender Inciarte, who batted .303/.338/.408 as a 24-year-old outfielder for the Diamondbacks in 2015. Inciarte rated well in the advanced defensive metrics for the second year in a row, so if that keeps up, Atlanta did manage to get itself a productive player.
From the D-Backs' perspective, though, giving up someone as promising as Inciarte made sense as Pollock is the superior offensive player, one who pairs well with Paul Goldschmidt in the middle of the lineup -- he's also no slouch with the glove, either, and would be the team's best player if not for Goldschmidt.
Inciarte over Pollock came at a price, though, as Arizona reportedly also sent the Braves prospects Aaron Blair -- who rated as a top-40 prospect before 2015 -- and Dansby Swanson, the first-overall pick in the 2015 draft. Swanson batted .289/.394/.482 in his professional debut in short-season ball, and is expected to be a legitimate contributor in the majors at shortstop someday.
He's also the second first-round pick the Diamondbacks have shipped to Atlanta in as many drafts, as earlier in 2015, they dealt Touki Toussaint to the Braves in a deal meant to help them shed payroll.
So, the Diamondbacks are better now and in the future, but it came at a cost, one that will help the Braves rebuild. Trading Miller seemed odd unless the return was significant, but Atlanta managed to pull in a haul for a pitcher who was probably in line to lose a lot of well-pitched games over the next couple of years. Like with the Andrelton Simmons trade earlier this offseason, it was the Braves taking advantage of a seller's market to get what they needed.