The Arizona Diamondbacks took a step to potentially trading for Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera by signing starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy to a two-year deal, reportedly for $15.5 million. The deal is contingent on McCarthy passing a physical, which isn't exactly a slam dunk given his skull fracture in September. McCarthy's addition now gives the Diamondbacks eight major league ready starting pitchers, with the fomer Athletic joining Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, the injured Daniel Hudson, Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, and Trevor Bauer as potential starters in Arizona's rotation.
However, while the contract seems right for McCarthy, I'm not really sure Arizona is a great fit. McCarthy leaves the pitchers paradise that is the Oakland Coliseum and heads to Chase Field, where routine fly balls turn into homers. Away from Oakland last season, McCarthy's homer rate nearly tripled, though his home/road splits for homers were nearly equal in 2011. Since joining the A's for the 2011 season, McCarthy has seemingly reinvented himself as a guy who's gotten an average amount of groundballs as opposed to the extreme flyball pitcher he was early in his career with the White Sox and Rangers. It'll be interesting to see if that trend continues in his new home in the desert.
While the A's lose a competent starter, that's not something that the team is really lacking at this point in time. They return their top three pitchers in terms of innings pitched from 2012, including re-signed veteran Bartolo Colon. In addition to Colon, Jarrod Parker, and Tommy Milone, the A's can mix and match with a pair of starters from a group that includes Travis Blackley, Dan Straily, and AJ Griffin to round out their rotation while spending the money that would have gone to McCarthy elsewhere.
But before the Diamondbacks go crazy and start dealing pitching, it's worth noting that of their eight arms, a few have injury concerns, including McCarthy. McCarthy set a career-high in innings pitched in 2011 at 170 2/3, and his second highest total is just 111. He's not exactly a paragon of health, and neither is Daniel Hudson, who will miss at least a third of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. When you also consider that Miley, Corbin, Skaggs, and Bauer were all rookies in 2012, you start to see a picture that while the Diamondbacks are loaded with pitching, it's not necessarily proven, solid pitching. I'd imagine two of those rookies to get dealt, but that doesn't mean that Arizona is going to be in great shape for 2013 given how erratic young starters can be.
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