The Giants are still in on Mike Leake and Gerardo Parra. You'll remember where you were when you read that the first time. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks just made a stunning, win-now deal to shame all win-now deals, acquiring right-hander Shelby Miller from the Braves for Ender Inciarte and two of their very best prospects.
Start with the obvious: The Diamondbacks are going to have a freakishly talented team next year. Miller will combine with Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin to build one of the best front-threes in the division, if not the league. They didn't have to give up A.J. Pollock, who was never going to be moved, and they'll still have most of the lineup that scored 720 runs last season. Not bad for a team that made it through the entire offseason last year without having anything resembling a starting catcher on their roster.
Finish with the stunning: There's no way I could make a Giants-related analogy to this deal because that's how much talent the Diamondbacks gave up. Inciarte is a young, cost-controlled center fielder coming off a five-win season. Even if you think that's because of suspect defensive metrics being weighed too much, he's still a pretty good comp for Matt Duffy. Same age, just as valuable last year according to WAR, just as cheap. Then the Diamondbacks gave up their best pitching prospect, which, fine, a trade like this is going to sting.
Then the Diamondbacks traded the #1-overall pick in the 2015 draft. They lost so many games to get Dansby Swanson, and even though he sounds like a Padres reliever, all of the reports on him have been uniformly excellent. He started his professional career strong, with strong patience and extra-base power in the Northwest League. So that's, I don't know, Matt Duffy, Tyler Beede, and 2008 Buster Posey for Shelby Miller, who is very, very good, but not exactly a clear ace.
I was going to make this same point in an article on the deal tomorrow, I swear:
Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte is the core of the sort of deal I was expecting to see for Jose Fernandez, not Shelby Miller.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 9, 2015
If the Marlins turned down that deal for Fernandez, there is absolutely no way the Giants are going to compete. They don't have a prospect as good as Swanson, and they might not have one as good as Blair. Even if you give the Giants the edge for Duffy, they would have to beat that package to impress the Marlins. Forget that.
You might remember a bottom-feeding NL West team making headlines last year and winning the offseason, then pootering out in the regular season. Yes, the 2015 Padres were kind of funny. But the Diamondbacks were starting out with two of the best position players in baseball, and they added someone who could have won the Cy Young, not James Shields. And now their staff is that much stronger.
They sure gave up a lot of talent to get stronger, though. If there's a silver lining to the Diamondbacks getting much better, it's that they had to spend $200 million and gut the farm to do it.
If there's a dark cloud around that silver lining, it's that the Diamondbacks are much better than they were at the end of the season. It's not just about the Dodgers and Giants next year.