D-Backs Get Their Ace, Become Contenders `

All November Zack Greinke going to back to the Dodgers or signing with the Giants was all that was heard, but in the end, the unexpected happened. History was made on Friday night, as the 2015 NL runner up Cy Young, agreed to terms with the D-backs on a 6-year pact worth $206 million. Earlier that day reports came out that Arizona had stepped in as the third team in the hunt for Zack, but the Giants and Dodgers were still favorites, until just a few hours later when the baseball world was shaken. It was known that the D-backs had money, as they offered Cueto a $120 million deal earlier in the offseason, but giving out a contract over $200 million was surprising. So, now that it is reality, where do the D-backs stand in the NL West? Well, with a great young offense, the only thing holding them back is pitching, so a NL West crown shouldn’t be unrealistic.

The D-backs finished 8th in the league for runs scored. They had all three outfielders hit above .300, while their 1st baseman finished runner up MVP. The offense is clearly capable of competing at a championship level, but the pitching has been pitiful the last few years. Since 2012, each season Arizona finished in the bottom half of the league for pitching effectiveness. The main issue is the starting pitching, as the bullpen isn’t half bad with Brad Ziegler as the closer. So, the big solution to helping out any rotation, is finding a true ace. Well, Greinke isn’t just an ace; he was called a “God send” when Brad Ziegler was asked about acquiring the right hander on MLB radio network.

This past season Zack had a WAA (pitcher’s WAR) of 7.2, meaning that without him, the Dodgers would have won 7 less games. In 2015, the D-backs starters compiled a record of 51-56 with a 43% quality start percentage (league average was 50%). Only one starter managed to win more than 9 games, and only two had a winning record. The pitching gets plenty of run support and has a solid defense behind it, which saved a total of 30 runs in 2015. Zack Greinke just being present in the clubhouse should improve the pitching staff. In the past 3 seasons, the former Cy Young winner went 51-15 with an ERA of 2.30. He has averaged to throw over 100 balls in a 7 inning outing every year with the Dodgers, while not allowing more than 61 earned runs for either one of his three campaigns in LA. Not only can he pitch, but has two gold gloves and a silver slugger. Zack also knows the NL West extremely well being part of the past three division winners’ roster.

Greinke and his career .604 winning percentage will make Arizona a legit contender for the NL West crown and possibly the World Series, but the D-backs still have some work to do. The big question will be depended on how ready top prospect Archie Bradley is to become the #2. If the big righty can live up to the hype for a full season, then all that will be needed is some bullpen help to bridge the gap between the starter and closer. Arizona is a contender right now, but with a side-note. If the front office can add a few more small pieces to the pitching staff, all that has to be done is to play the game.


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