Non-tendered players who make sense for the D-backs
The Arizona Diamondbacks freed up approximately $10 million on Monday by not tendering contracts to pitcher Taijuan Walker, catcher Caleb Joseph and outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
With teams shedding salary at the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, there is now a new pool of free agents to look at.
Here are five that could fit in nicely with the D-backs in 2020.
RHP Blake Treinen
Perhaps the most surprising parting of ways on Monday was between the Oakland Athletics and closer Blake Treinen.
He struggled last season, but was perhaps the best closer in baseball in 2018. That year he finished sixth in the Cy Young voting with a 0.78 ERA. He allowed 12 runs all season.
Last year, his average velocity dropped by a mile per hour, which may have caused him to get hit harder leading to his release.
Why he makes sense for Arizona is the boom or bust factor.
On a one-year prove-himself-again contract, Treinen could bring an experienced closer with a 97 mile-per-hour heater into the D-backs’ pen. The Arizona bullpen had a decent ERA of 4.26 in 2019 (12th in MLB), but with a low strikeout rate, perhaps it got a bit lucky. Treinen, if he rights the ship, could pack a punch Arizona did not have last year.
Even if he does not pitch to the absurd 2018-level again, he has had an ERA+ better than 100 (league average) in five of his six seasons.
The D-backs have been previously burned by going after formerly excellent closers, but Treinen was so dominant just a season ago that he may be worth a look.
RHP James Hoyt
If Treinen gets scooped up by a team willing to pay more, Hoyt could be a solid backup plan.
The 6-foot-6 righty has an 11.7 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate in 80 carer MLB innings.
In 2019, he fared well in the minors with a 3.43 ERA and got called up by the Cleveland Indians in September. In 8.1 frames, he allowed two runs and struck out 10 batters. Righties went 1-for-15 against him.
His slider is his best pitch as it had a 56.7% whiff rate last season and batters failed to get a hit off of it.
2B Yolmer Sanchez
Sanchez has struggled with the bat over the last two seasons, but he is a terrific defensive second baseman.
He had 11 defensive runs saved last year and made the most out-of-zone plays (according to Fangraphs) by a wide margin.
He won an American League Gold Glove.
If Arizona struggles to find a center fielder, then keeping Ketel Marte (who played well there) in the outfield and bringing in a stellar defender at second base could be a safe move.
Sanchez’s bat was an issue last year as he only had a .638 OPS. But, he still had 2.1 bWAR in 2019.
Plus, watching him turn double plays with shortstop Nick Ahmed could be a sight to behold.
LHP Ryan Buchter
Buchter (LHP) has pitched in MLB for five years and has yet to own an ERA over three for a season.
He was a major piece in the Oakland bullpen over the past two seasons as he has been a force against left-handed batters. They are hitting .187 against Buchter in his career.
He struggled mightily against righties in 2019, though, as they hit for an OPS of .904 off of him.
The D-backs have plenty of relievers who can take on opposing right-handers like Archie Bradley, Yoan Lopez and Kevin Ginkel.
Andrew Chafin is Arizona’s main lefty specialist, so perhaps Buchter could add some depth in that sense.
OF Kevin Pillar
If the D-backs want Marte back in the infield, then Pillar could be a solid every-day centerfielder.
For the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants in 2019, he hit 21 home runs. For a large span of the season, from June 14 through Sept. 7, he hit really well with an OPS of .862 and a .301 batting average.
He isn’t the defensive showstopper he was a couple of years ago, but he still has good range in centerfield, which is a major boost given how big the outfield at Chase Field is.