OK in Arizona?
Like others I had no idea what Josh Byrnes might have been thinking when I first heard of yesterday's trade. Now, I'll admit it, I am no longer as appalled by the deal from the Diamondbacks' perspective as many of the writers and analysts I have seen. Arizona gave up Max Scherzer, a power pitcher with a longstanding history of arm troubles. As Keith Law noted in his write-up, it's likely that Scherzer will one day soon transition to the bullpen due to ongoing injury issues. He should be a good reliever, but not only could the D-Backs afford to give up a player who projects out as a quality 70-inning guy, but they absolutely should have. They gave up Dan Schlereth as well, a live-armed lefty whose limited performance record in pro baseball hasn't told us much about what he figures to become. We know he has a good arm, we know he struggled some in 2009 with Arizona.
In return, the Diamondbacks get two starters they hope to run out 30 times or so in 2010. Edwin Jackson is not as good as his 2009 performance might suggest, but he now transitions from the AL to the NL. Ask Brad Penny and John Smoltz how that worked out. While Scherzer might be more talented, Jackson should be able to offer more quality innings and quality starts over the next two seasons. In Ian Kennedy, Arizona receives a player who has dominated Minor League ball and struggled in spot Major League action. There's plenty still to like about Kennedy, and his return from a freak 2009 injury should not be much of an issue.
In the end this deal comes down to a relatively new and key performance projection factor, or what's often referred to as a player's "medicals" or "meds". Arizona might think they have a ticking time-bomb in Scherzer, while their diligence on Jackson and Kennedy (both with durability questions of their own) indicates they now have a couple of work-horses. If that's the case, with Brandon Webb back in the fold and Dan Haren taking the hill every 5th game, the Diamondbacks now have a nice little rotation. Whether the haul was maximized or not, at the very least, I don't think folks should be as dismissive of Arizona's decision to try and retrieve value elsewhere for Scherzer.
Oh, and yeah, the Yankees did great to acquire Curtis Granderson.