Monday, November 30, 2015
Something That Could Have Happened
You don't often get to hear about the outcomes that just missed being realized.
I mean, sure, every once and a while you think 'oh, A-Rod could have been a Red Sock', or, 'oh, Vida Blue could have been a Yankee', or something like that. And you think about it for a few minutes. And it doesn't really go anywhere, because you can't make an alternate timeline when you know what already happens- the two will end up being similar, or working off each other.
Today, or really yesterday, one of those unrealized outcomes popped out of the wild. Johnny Cueto was supposed to sign with the Diamondbacks last week. The entire organization was trying their absolute hardest to nail him down and give him enough provisions, but at the end of the day, Johnny Cueto decided he didn't want to go there.
This was actually a pretty big deal. The Diamondbacks, up until last season, were completely out of the race, and had nobody except for Paul Goldschmidt worth hanging onto. It also didn't help that their pitching staff had almost completely run dry. This season their infield grew, their outfielders started hitting, and a few pitchers escaped from the rubble and started playing well.
So, for 2016, the D-Backs have a stronger, and youth-driven, team, that could potentially do pretty well.
Now...imagine all they have right now...and imagine Johnny Cueto on the mound for them. How ridiculous would that be?
We're assuming that the Johnny Cueto that would have entered Phoenix would be the hard-throwing, fierce Johnny Cueto from 2008-July 2015 and also parts of October 2015, and not the limp noodle Johnny Cueto from most of the second half of 2015. Yeah, the good Johnny Cueto.
This would have given us a Cueto-Corbin-de la Rosa-Chase Anderson-Robbie Ray/Zack Godley rotation, which, while not perfect whatsoever, could be pretty explosive if Johnny Cueto is heading it off.
So, assuming the season starts, and nobody huge offensively gets injured except possibly Tuffy Gosewisch or Yasmany Tomas or something, these guys could definitely slide into second or first and stay there for most of the season. Their main competitors will probably be the Giants (because 2016 will be an even season) and the Dodgers (because they're the Dodgers), and if nothing substantial happens to that team, and that pitching staff stays ON, they could have potentially clinched a playoff spot.
So yeah. This is the move that could have changed the balance of power in the NL West, and could have brought a playoff run to team that hasn't had one in years. I'm not saying that won't happen, but Johnny Cueto could have been the catalyst to a playoff squad, just like Jon Lester was in Chicago. Johnny Cueto could have been the striker in Arizona. He could have set off a domino effect that could have brought legitimacy to one of the jokes of the NL as of late.
But he said 'no thank you'. And moved on.
And just like that, an alternate reality closed in on itself, and crumpled into the trash bin.
(I fully expect to come back to this post in 2016 when the Diamondbacks succeed/fail/do something. Plus, I really hope I'm not the only blogger who thinks any idea like this is interesting.)