NASHVILLE, Tenn — The Giants didn’t land Zack Greinke, didn’t land Ben Zobrist and say they’re curious about Miami pitching phenom Jose Fernandez. But the Arizona Diamondbacks are doing more than talking and striking out on free agents.
They’re changing the perception of their franchise.
In another dramatic move to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, the Diamondbacks reached an agreement Tuesday to acquire All-Star right-hander Shelby Miller from the Atlanta Braves for overall No. 1 draft pick Dansby Swanson, and two other prospects.
Arizona, which finalized a $206.5 million, six-year contract with major-league ERA leader Greinke earlier in the day, also would send outfielder Ender Inciarte and pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. The Diamondbacks would acquire minor-league left-hander Gabe Speier as part of the trade.
Greinke and Miller are set to anchor a new-look rotation that also could include Patrick Corbin, Rubby De La Rosa and Robbie Ray. The Giants, meanwhile, have added a $90 million risk in Jeff Samardzija to a rotation that includes ace Madison Bumgarner and no certain No. 2 starter.
“We’re counting on his mentorship with our other pitchers and being a part of helping their growth,” Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said of Greinke.
It appears the Diamondbacks are going all-in a year after finishing with the worst record in baseball. Under new manager Chip Hale they went 79-83 game this season, a 15-game improvement over 2014, with a strong core of young position players led by Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock. The offense scored the second-most runs in the National League last season but the starting staff threw the second fewest innings in the league and had a 4.37 ERA, 11th of 15 NL teams.
Greinke, the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, had the lowest ERA in the majors in 20 years, then opted out of his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 25-year-old Miller threw over 200 innings and had a 3.02 ERA for the Braves.
The Chicago Cubs also made some major moves. They agreed to a $56 million, four-year contract with infielder Zobrist, who also was sought by the Giants and New York Mets.
Zobrist figures to replace second baseman Starlin Castro, dealt to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night for right-hander Adam Warren and a player to be named, likely infielder Brendan Ryan.
Chicago also finalized a $32 million, two-year contract with 37-year-old right-hander John Lackey, who slots in as the Cubs’ third starter behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester.
In the day’s other trade, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired infielder Jedd Gyorko from the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jon Jay. San Diego will pay St. Louis $7.5 million to cover part of the $33 million remaining on Gyorko’s contract.
The 27-year-old Gyorko hit .247 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs this year, spending time at second base, shortstop and first base. He has a .236 average in three big league seasons with 49 homers and 171 RBIs.
Atlanta also agreed to a $5.3 million, two-year contract with catcher Tyler Flowers, a person familiar with that deal said, also speaking on condition of anonymity because there had not been an announcement.
Detroit finalized an $11 million, two-year contract with reliever Mark Lowe. Colorado agreed to two-year deals with a pair of relievers, guaranteeing Jason Motte $10 million and Chad Qualls $6 million. Arizona DiamondbacksBen ZobristJose FernandezMLBSan Francsico GiantsZack Greinke