D-backs keep pitching options open, even with Arroyo
Rotation appears set, Delgado likely to 'pen, but injuries could keep Bradley in mix
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Don't count out Archie Bradley just yet.
With the D-backs likely to officially announce Bronson Arroyo's signing early this week, it looks as though the Arizona rotation is set with Patrick Corbin, Arroyo, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill and Brandon McCarthy.
"Not necessarily," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "To me, we wanted to create a lot of depth. There could be injuries, a lot of things could happen before the middle of March, when we have to get our roster at least down to 28. I don't want Archie to feel just because of the Arroyo signing he's destined for Double-A or Triple-A. We want it to be a very competitive spring, and we want to get out of the gate early and quick."
The D-backs agreed to terms with Arroyo late last week on a two-year deal with a club option that guarantees the right-hander $23.5 million.
"I think he gets in [Monday] afternoon. He's in Florida," Towers said. "Here [Monday] afternoon, probably MRI/physical Tuesday. If all goes well there, I'd like to think he's out here Wednesday, probably throwing his first side [session]. Still some contract language we're going over and physical, that's what's holding us up from announcing."
The fact that Arroyo is known for keeping himself in excellent physical shape and given he's been throwing bullpen sessions in Florida, he should not be behind the other starters, who will have thrown two or three bullpens by the time he arrives.
The Arroyo addition certainly gives the D-backs options when it comes to how they want to handle Bradley, who is ranked by MLB.com as the game's top pitching prospect.
Towers reiterated that the decision on whether to put Bradley on the Opening Day roster or not will be based on performance and not on trying to limit his service time to delay when he would be eligible for arbitration or free agency.
"With Archie, it's not about trying to save a year or save money," Towers said. "We need to win games, we want to win games. If we think he's ready coming out of the spring and that we're a better ballclub with Archie being in it, he's going to be there."
Whereas Bradley could start the year in the Minors, the D-backs have no such luxury with Randall Delgado, who was expected to compete with Bradley for the No. 5 spot.
Delgado, who Arizona acquired from Atlanta as part of the Justin Upton trade, is out of Minor League options. That means if the D-backs want to send him to the Minor Leagues, they will have to put him on waivers first, where he could be claimed by another team.
"So if he's not one of our starters, he's more than likely going to probably be one of our bullpenners," Towers said.
With J.J. Putz, Addison Reed, Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez, Joe Thatcher and Josh Collmenter seemingly locks for the 'pen, it means that Will Harris, who does have Minor League options, could wind up being the odd man out.
A move to the bullpen might not be such a bad thing for Delgado. While he has a good fastball and outstanding changeup, he is still working to perfect a breaking pitch. Having three pitches is generally needed for a starting pitcher, since he can end up facing the same hitters three or four times in a game.
"He certainly is going to profile better as a starter if the breaking ball improves, but he's always had a plus change and above-average fastball with good command," Towers said.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.