Earlier tonight, amid the flurry of Ben Zobrist and Starlin Castro rumors and news, someone asked ESPN’s Jesse Rogers what the Braves had been seeking from the Cubs last week in the Shelby Miller talks. Rogers’ response struck me enough that I remembered it even after sorting out all the actual trade/signing activity tonight. Rogers said the Braves were looking for “top tier guys like [Kris] Bryant.”
I saw that tweet and was gobsmacked, and I knew I’d want to come back to it for a moment when the dust settled on the other stuff. Could that have been an actual ask from the Braves? Like, in no world does a rational baseball actor even bring up Bryant in trade talks with the Cubs, right?
But, here’s the thing: the Braves wound up trading Miller to the Diamondbacks tonight, and when I saw what the Braves actually managed to get, I can see clearly that they were just going to shoot for the moon until they got it. The whole feeling is best summed up in this Jeff Passan tweet:
Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte is the core of the sort of deal I was expecting to see for Jose Fernandez, not Shelby Miller.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2015
That’s a number one draft pick (top 20ish prospect in baseball), a top 75 pitching prospect, AND an all-universe defensive outfielder (with an average bat to go with it) for those three arbitration years of Miller (plus 20-year-old relief prospect Gabe Speier). It’s an astounding haul, and it makes quite clear to me why nothing quite got done with the Cubs.
If the Cubs don’t end up acquiring another pitcher, you’ll now know why. And, hey, Adam Warren isn’t Shelby Miller, but he’s cost-controlled and could be a solid 4/5 if need be (or a swing guy in the pen, which is nice to have, too).
As for the Diamondbacks, they finally got their young starting pitcher, which they were rumored to be seeking for a while now. After surprising everyone by signing Zack Greinke to a monster deal, it only made sense to keep pushing on the pitching side. They paid a seriously stiff price to get Miller, but now consider that they pair an excellent offense with a rotation headed by Greinke, Miller, and Patrick Corbin. They will be competitive in 2016.