One of the Achilles heels of the 2019 Diamondbacks has been starting pitching depth and how it’s been nearly exhausted given injuries and poor performances. They have two rookies, Jon Duplantier and Taylor Clarke, out of their current starting five. While both rookies have done reasonably well, the team is one injury away from putting Zack Godley back in the rotation. Luke Weaver is out indefinitely with a strained flexor tendon and a Grade 1 UCL sprain, hoping to rehab the injury as opposed to Tommy John surgery, and Taijuan Walker experienced shoulder problems trying to rehab his own Tommy John surgery last month. The team has Emilio Vargas and Bo Takahashi as 40-man roster reinforcements and have the option of selecting their top remaining pitching prospect Taylor Widener from AAA, but neither player is a better pitcher than Clarke.
Dbacks General Manager Mike Hazen has been on the record saying the team will be looking at adding depth to an already thinned rotation. In fact according to Ryan Divish at the Seattle Times, the team was in talks about potentially acquiring Mike Leake. Leake, a former Arizona State Sun Devil, was a named that was previously linked to the Dbacks in the offseason following the 2015 season but signed with the St. Louis Cardinals for a 5-year/$70M deal. After a year and a half of unspectacular pitching, the Cardinals shipped him off to Seattle at the 2017 Trade Deadline. Leake’s contract comes with no-trade protection although I don’t think he’d block a trade to Arizona, where he pitched in college and would be nearly assured a rotation spot after arriving here (bumping off Clarke).
Leake has been the very definition of an average pitcher, posting a career 0.0 wins above average. Given the lack of depth in the rotation, that would be an upgrade over the current starting five. Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Merrill Kelly, and Jon Duplantier have been a solid 1-4 and Leake would make this rotation a solid 1-5 to compete with most of the teams in the National League, although they have their work cut out if they see themselves as contenders. The deal likely stopped when the Dbacks asked about cost, which is my speculation on this matter, the Mariners are probably looking to maximize the prospect return for a year and a half of Leake’s services. The Diamondbacks should not be looking to trade off any of their major prospects at the same time given this team projects to finish right around .500 for the season.