Teams make trades to improve themselves. The 2016 Arizona had spent a fortune to secure All Star pitcher Zack Greinke. They had growing young star pitchers in Robbie Ray and Patrick Corbin. They knew if they could get one more dependable starter they could contend for the League Championship. They set their sights on Shelby Miller of the Atlanta Braves.
At the age of 25, Shelby Miller had completed a statistically impressive season. He pitched 205 innings striking out an impressive 171 batters while only walking 73. His earned run average was also impressive at 3.02. He would be a perfect addition. There was one red flag. Miller only won 6 games while losing 17. That could be considered “bad luck”. (Or was it?)
To get this 25 year old, the Diamondbacks had to pay a very high price. They gave up an All Star center fielder in Ender Inciarte. They sent a highly regarded pitching prospect from the minors named Aaron Blair. Finally they also gave up their number 1 draft pick. Dansby Swanson was a highly ranked shortstop in their system. He was their number 1 rated minor leaguer who had also been the number 1 pick of the whole MLB draft in 2015.
In three successive seasons, Miller was a huge disappointment. The first year, he was 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA. The next two years, injuries only allowed him to pitch in 9 games. Three seasons with a record of 5-18 and ERAs of 6.15, 4.09 and 10.69. In frustration, he was released at the end of November. Financially, the Diamondbacks only paid Miller $14 million for three years. When factoring in the horrendous performance with the tremendous results for the Braves, this wasn’t really a trade. It was thievery with the Braves absolutely robbing the Diamondbacks.