For years, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have battled for supremacy atop the NL West. That battle appeared to continued into the offseason with regards to the pursuit of free agent pitcher Zack Greinke, who spent the last three seasons with the Dodgers. The Giants and Dodgers appeared to be in a two-horse race for Greinke’s services. However, in a shocking turn of events, Greinke has reportedly signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Greinke spurning the Dodgers and Giants and signing with Arizona completely changes the shape of the NL West. At the very least, it makes that division a three-horse race heading into 2016, and may actually make the upstart Diamondbacks the new division favorite.
With Greinke in the fold, the Diamondbacks now have a bona-fide ace who can match up with the aces Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Arizona starting rotation was among the worst in the National League last season, but with Greinke being at the top of the rotation that’s bound to change. The Diamondbacks will also have Patrick Corbin for a full season for the first time since his all-star 2013-14 season, after which he missed all of 2014 due to Tommy John surgery and came back midway through 2015.
Corbin will be a great complement to Greinke in Arizona’s rotation, giving the Diamondbacks a 1-2 punch that may be able to matchup with any starting pitching duo in the National League. Arizona also has a slew of young pitchers, both in the majors and in the upper level of the minors, to fill out their rotation in 2016 and for years to come. Included on that list is a pair of former first round picks, Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley, as well as Robbie Ray, a young lefty who posted a 3.52 ERA in 2015. The Arizona bullpen is also in good shape with closer Brad Ziegler, who will help secure wins earned by Arizona’s new-look rotation.
In terms of supporting the promising pitching staff the Diamondbacks have assembled with runs, that should not be an issue. Arizona finished second in the National League in runs scored last year, behind only the Colorado Rockies, who were aided by playing half their games at Coors Field. The Diamondbacks feature a young and talented set of outfielders that act as catalysts for the offense, and they are complemented by one of the best overall hitters in the big leagues in Paul Goldschmidt. With such an impressive core of young players, the Diamondbacks project to be one of the best offensive teams in the National League once again in 2016.
Even with a mediocre pitching staff in 2015, the Diamondbacks had a good enough offense to finish just four games under .500 in 2015. With Greinke at the top of their rotation, Corbin ready to come back strong, and several talented young pitchers waiting in the wings, Arizona’s pitching staff will be significantly improved in 2016. That pitching staff will be well-supported by a dynamic offense, which could lead to a substantial increase in wins next season and put them in position to compete alongside the Dodgers and Giants for the top of the division.
With Greinke choosing to sign with the Diamondbacks, they have an ace that can matchup evenly with both Kershaw and Bumgarner, as well as the depth in their starting rotation that can matchup with the Dodgers and Giants. The Diamondbacks have become legitimate contenders in the NL West, a division that is now officially a three-team race.