At the time, it seemed that dealing a #1 draft pick, a well-regarded pitching prospect and an outfielder with five years of control who was worth more than 5 bWAR last year, was very much an overpay. And that was the case, even if Shelby Miller performed at his 2015 level or, as the D-backs hopes, took a further step forward. Now, it's true that the players received by the Braves have had a mixed year: Ender Inciarte will be lucky to reach half his 2015 bWAR tally; Aaron Blair struggled horribly in his debut starts, and Dansby Swanson's OPS has dropped by over 200 points since his promotion to Double-A.
But the struggles of Miller have been as bad as any of them, if not worse given expectations. He started badly, banged his knuckles on the ground, got worse, was sent to the disabled list, came back and was worse still, and finally got himself sent to the minors. No-one on the Diamondbacks seems to have a clue what the problem is - or, at least, and probably more importantly, how to fix him. And if yesterday's reports from Yahoo's Jeff Passan are true, the team now appears to be considering cutting their losses.
Sources: The Diamondbacks have let teams know Shelby Miller is available in a trade. Price isn't nearly what it cost them eight months ago.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 24, 2016
This is interesting in a variety of ways, not all good. It would appear to be an admission by the team, confirming that they don't know how to fix Miller. Either the cause of his problems has been deemed irreparable, or they simply haven't a clue what it is. If it's the former, than cutting bait and getting something back for Miller now would make sense, before it becomes apparent to all, and his value sinks from not very much, to absolutely nothing. But if it's the latter... Few things would hurt more than this becoming the latest in a line of pitchers we've let go, who go on to have more success elsewhere. Trevor Cahill. Brandon McCarthy. Jeremy Hellickson. It's a disturbing trend.
The second scenario would, at the present time, appear to be the ultimate case of selling low. Whatever changed in Miller between 2015 and 2016 was apparently quite sudden. Maybe - just, maybe - the switch will flick back in the opposite direction and he'll "figure it out" himself. Trading him elsewhere would, obviously, remove that possibility being for the benefit of Arizona. There's apparently little to be gained by dealing Miller at this point. Even if he doesn't get sorted in the minors, his value isn't going to drop much. Even if it's a case of him padding his numbers down there against minor-league hitters, perhaps the D-backs can then sell this illusion for a higher price?
So far, there hasn't been any corroboration. None of Nick Piecoro, Steve Gilbert, Jack Magruder: have mentioned the topic, and even Passan's Tweet had the barest of information. How actively are the D-backs shopping Miller? What are they looking for? These are questions which would shed a bit more light on the situation. But even if Miller is dealt, the biggest problem would remain. Until the actions of Tony La Russa and Dave Stewarr indicate they've learned from this and are changing direction, my fear is that those who signed off on one of the worst deals in franchise history, will still be around to make similar monumental errors down the road.