D-backs renew P Zac Gallen’s contract; sign 25 others to 1-year deals

Mar 11, 2021, 11:27 AM | Updated: 1:32 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen throws to a Seattle Mariners batter during the fir...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen throws to a Seattle Mariners batter during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Arizona Diamondbacks tied up some loose ends Thursday, filling out their 40-man roster with a handful of player signings ahead of the 2021 season.

Of the most notable was the renewal of starting right-handed pitcher Zac Gallen’s contract.

Gallen continues to show he can be one of the top arms in the D-backs rotation since coming over in a 2019 trade from the Miami Marlins.

Last season, Gallen finished with a 3-2 record, a 2.75 ERA and a 2.7 WAR. His nine quality starts over 12 games was tops among the team.

The 25-year-old pitcher also set an MLB record last season, surpassing Aaron Sele’s 21-game mark of allowing three earned runs or less to start a career in an Aug. 29 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Since the pitcher’s MLB debut in June 2019, only five pitchers have a better ERA than Gallen (2.78), per FanGraphs.

In two spring training games (5.0 innings pitched), Gallen allowed just three hits and a struck out four batters.

Additionally, the team agreed to terms on one-year deals with 25 pre-arbitration players, including outfielder Tim Locastro, first baseman Christian Walker and pitchers Alex Young and Stefan Crichton.

Locastro, who has missed some spring training games due to testing positive for COVID-19, has impressed the ballclub since making his D-backs debut in 2019.

In 33 games last season (82 plate appearances), Locastro recorded 20 hits, seven RBIs and four stolen bases. He averaged .290 to go along with a .395 OBP, both career highs, and also registered eight walks.

Locastro doesn’t have to get a hit to make an impact, either. Over the course of the last two seasons, Locastro has compiled 26 hit-by-pitches.

Skipper Torey Lovullo said early on in spring training Locastro was in the mix for a number of different positions for 2021.

Walker enters his third season as the team’s full-time first baseman.

Last season (57 games), Walker recorded the most doubles on the team (18) to go along with 24 RBIs and seven home runs, both second among D-backs hitters. He averaged .271 and sported a .333 OBP.

This spring, the first baseman has two dingers and four RBIs under his belt in five games (14 plate appearances).

Young entered spring training looking to solidify his role on the team. So far, he has received glowing marks from Lovullo. In two games (5.0 IP), Young has allowed three hits and a walk, while striking out four.

“One of the things that stands out with him when he’s throwing the ball extremely well is the cleanliness of his innings,” Lovullo said following Young’s last outing on Monday. “Just pounding the zone, strike one. You look up and he’s walking up throwing eight or nine pitches. The defense appreciates that. It’s just a very, very clean inning when he’s throwing the ball well.

“It’s really the location of his secondary stuff off of his fastball. It’s no secret. I just think he’s in a good spot. He was pounding the zone with all of his pitches today.”

Crichton’s deal comes in the midst of a closer battle with Joakim Soria.

Crichton enjoyed a successful stretch as the team’s closer following the trade of Archie Bradley last season, recording fives saves over his final six appearances.

In two spring training outings in 2021 (1.1 IP), the closer candidate has given up two hits and a walk. He struck out three.

Below is the full list of players the D-backs agreed to terms with:

Arizona D-backs’ Thursday signings

P Stefan Crichton
P Alex Young
P Jeremy Beasley
P J.B. Bukauskas
P Humberto Castellanos
P Taylor Clarke
P Jon Duplantier
P Luis Frías
P Kevin Ginkel
P Yoan López
P Corbin Martin
P Humberto Mejía
P Matt Peacock
P Riley Smith
P Taylor Widener

C Daulton Varsho

1B Christian Walker
OF Tim Locastro
OF Stuart Fairchild
3B Wyatt Mathisen
SS/2B Geraldo Perdomo
3B Josh Rojas
1B/OF Pavin Smith
OF/2B Josh VanMeter
INF Andrew Young

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