GM rumors speak to D-backs interest in pitching upgrade

Rumblings at general managers meetings substantiate D-backs' interest in pitching upgrade.'s Ken Rosenthal offers up a couple of Diamondbacks' related takes in this morning's column from the General Managers meetings in Orlando, Fla.

No surprise, they both involve starting pitching, which matches what our Jack Magruder reported as Arizona's No. 1 off-season priority.

The pitchers in question are a pair of interesting names -- Detroit's Max Scherzer and Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka -- and while there's no clear indication that the Diamondbacks are at the front of the line, it nonetheless reinforces the notion that the local nine thinks it can win now by bolstering the front end of the starting rotation.

Here's what Rosenthal writes about Scherzer, who, as you may recall, was drafted and developed by the D-backs before being peddled to Detroit in a three-way deal that saw Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson head our way:

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi on Tuesday that the team intends for left-hander Drew Smyly to be in its rotation next season — the strongest indication yet that Detroit will trade right-hander Max Scherzer or righty Rick Porcello.

A number of executives continue to view a Scherzer deal as far-fetched, but one thing is certain: The Tigers will not struggle to generate interest for the likely American League Cy Young winner.

Count the Diamondbacks among the clubs that plan to take a shot at Scherzer, according to major league sources. The D-backs -- like another interested club, the Nationals -- know that they could part with less for Scherzer, who is only one year away from free agency, than for Rays lefty David Price, who is under club control for two more years.

Any club that acquires Scherzer this offseason also could extend him a qualifying offer next winter to assure draft-pick compensation — and ease the sting of the prospects lost.

Tanaka is a 25-year-old right-hander who went 24-0 for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and is the most highly regarded Japanese pitching prospect since Yu Darvish. This situation is complicated, as there is currently no agreement in place between MLB and Japanese baseball regarding posting fees.

Here's Rosenthal's take on Tanaka:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said on Tuesday that he wants to add 400 innings to the team’s rotation. One look at the team’s depth chart, and it’s easy to understand why.

Left-hander CC Sabathia and righty Ivan Nova are the only certain members of the rotation, with David Phelps, Adam Warren and Michael Pineda among the other possibilities. Meanwhile, David Robertson, Preston Claiborne, Cesar Cabral and Shawn Kelley appear the only certainties in the bullpen.

“Plenty of room at the inn,” one Yankees official said.

Well, the Yankees would like to reserve one room for Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. And because the posting fee for Tanaka will not count against the luxury tax, Tanaka appeals more to clubs with tax concerns -- the Dodgers would be another -- than he does to other teams. Only his average annual salary would count against the $189 million threshold.

The Diamondbacks also could bid on Tanaka but are pessimistic about their chances. They’ve had three scouts watch Tanaka, and Rick Short, one of their area scouts, was Tanaka’s teammate with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

As usual, Rosenthal has lots of other juicy stuff, leading with discussion of the Angels' shopping a bat for pitching. You can read the full column here.

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