In his second start with his new team on Saturday, New York Yankees right-hander Brandon McCarthy fired six innings of one-run ball against the Cincinnati Reds. As it pertains to the Diamondbacks, it isn't just the results that are of interest, it's how he said he accomplished them. McCarthy, who was traded to the Yankees on July 6, used his cut fastball with increased frequency, telling reporters the Diamondbacks had discouraged him from throwing it. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman told the New York Daily News his analytics department believed McCarthy could have more success by reincorporating the pitch into his repertoire. Before going any further: McCarthy was a model of inconsistency during his 1½ seasons with the Diamondbacks. He has made just two starts with the Yankees. It's too soon to read too much into it. Still, it's hard not to view it in the context of the Diamondbacks' recent pitching deficiencies. McCarthy's success falls in line with a troubling trend: Pitchers who leave Arizona tend to improve, those who arrive here often regress, and the Diamondbacks can't seem to turn around those who are struggling. Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers said the Diamondbacks didn't take the cutter away from McCarthy. They just wanted his sinker to be a more prominent weapon. "I just think when he was in Oakland, he was a guy with heavy sink who got ground balls," Towers said. "That was his bread-and-butter pitch. We just wanted to get him back." Pitch-f/x data available at BrooksBaseball.net, however, indicates the cutter was a significant part of McCarthy's repertoire in Oakland. He threw it 41 percent of the time — more often than his sinker (36 percent) — and with good success. And while it's true the cutter wasn't a particularly effective pitch during his time with the Diamondbacks (opponents hit .279 off it), it was better than his two-seamer (.316). McCarthy isn't the only pitcher the Diamondbacks couldn't salvage. Among Ian Kennedy, Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer, none has become a dominant major-league starter with his new club, but all are pitching better — and throwing harder — since leaving. What went wrong while they were here?
Pitchers who leave the Diamondbacks get better. Pitchers they acquire get worse.
Arizona Republic | Jul 24