Post-Kennedy roster implications: Zeke Spruill to start

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

What does the departure of Ian Kennedy and arrival of Joe Thatcher mean for the Diamondbacks the rest of the season?

The most obvious change is to the rotation. We are about to get Brandon McCarthy back, who'll return in time to make his start against the Red Sox, probably on Friday. He will join Randall Delgado, Wade Miley and Patrick Corbin in the rotation. The question is, whether Trevor Cahill is ready yet to come off the disabled list. He did throw for Reno yesterday, allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks in 5.1 innings, putting him exactly in line to start Sunday, with regular rest. But is he ready? It's hard to be sure, because the boxscore says he threw 89 pitches, which might imply one more start, but Baseball Reference lists Cahill as having thrown 106 pitches.

If he isn't ready - and for reasons we'll get into shortly, that seems more likely - that would leave Arizona with a gap to fill for Kennedy's next scheduled start on Sunday. The obvious candidate, Tyler Skaggs, was optioned to Triple-A after his last start on Sunday, and that means he can't be recalled for 10 days, barring an injury (which seems unlikely). Instead, the team appears to be dipping down to Triple-A for another starter to make a spot appearance tomorrow against the Rangers:

I would imagine this will probably push everyone else back a day, and Spruill will remain in the rotation until McCarthy is deemed fully ready to rejoin the rotation. Am excited to see what Spruill can do: going thirty-plus innings without allowing an earned eun in the Pacific Coast League is no mean feat, but can he repeat the success of Delgado? With Martin Prado hitting like we expected, Randall Delgado posting a complete-game shutout last time, and now Spruill coming into the rotation, there's no question that the Diamondbacks are certainly making full use of the proceeds from the Upton trade.

Thatcher will join Tony Sipp in the bullpen, giving us two left-handed options for the foreseeable future - I haven't heard much about Matt Reynolds' progress as he rehabs his UCL. Down the road (albeit perhaps not this year), it could pose an issue for 2014, as we will theoretically have all three signed for next season - Reynolds is ours until the end of 2016, and Sipp through 2015. Meanwhile, Joe Paterson, posting a rather good 2.31 ERA for the Aces in his 35 appearances, is probably going "Kevin! What the hell? Over here!" on hearing about this trade.

We do currently have an additional man in the bullpen, Chas Roe, because we optioned Skaggs down. However, if Spruill is indeed starting tomorrow, this will remove that 25-man slot, and if we add Thatcher, that will also require another move to be made. The problem is, the rest of the bullpen currently consists of Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez, Heath Bell, Josh Collmenter, Will Harris, J.J. Putz and Tony Sipp: none are obvious candidates with available options to Reno. Harris could be sent down, but he the best ERA of any of them. We'll see what happens when Thatcher arrives.

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