The Diamondbacks and Marlins had worked out a trade that would have sent Shelby Miller to Miami in exchange for three starting pitchers, only for Arizona ownership to shoot down the deal, a Marlins executive tells USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The two sides had been linked in talks about Miller, with Miami right-handed pitching prospect Luis Castillo reportedly mentioned as a trade chip before Castillo was dealt to San Diego as part of the Marlins’ deal for Andrew Cashner.
As Nightengale writes (semi-facetiously), the reason given by D’Backs ownership was that such a trade “just wouldn’t look good,” considering the stunningly big trade package the Snakes gave up last winter to acquire Miller from the Braves. The same “wouldn’t look good” reasoning also impacted another ownership decision, as D’Backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and GM Dave Stewart were considering replacing manager Chip Hale with Triple-A skipper Phil Nevin before being told that a managerial change wouldn’t happen.
Nightengale uses these ownership interventions to argue that La Russa, Stewart and senior VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson shouldn’t be blamed for the Diamondbacks’ struggles this season, nor should the trio be fired after less than two years on the job. The fate of Arizona’s front office is yet to be decided, as 2017 options for Stewart and Watson are up on August 31 and La Russa’s option is up after the season. As Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman noted earlier this week and Nightengale reiterates here, D’Backs upper management is hoping to let August 31 pass without a decision so they can delay their choice until after the season.
Without knowing what exactly the Marlins were offering for Miller, it’s hard to say that ownership necessarily made the wrong move in nixing the trade. Obviously, Miami’s offer wouldn’t have come close to matching Dansby Swanson/Ender Inciarte/Aaron Blair, though the feeling could have been that La Russa and Stewart were selling low on Miller. The three pitchers on Miami’s end of the deal would have almost certainly been prospects, and there wouldn’t have been any blue chip arms in the group given the Marlins’ low-rated farm system.
Hale’s name has been on the hot seat for weeks, and a managerial change would’ve been less surprising than the D’Backs cutting bait on Miller after less than a season. It’s unknown if La Russa and Stewart were specifically planning to fire Hale or if they were still discussing the idea. Hale has a 130-156 record as Arizona’s manager and is is under contract for the 2017 season.