The D-backs’ Grateful Goners: The injured, traded or released players that contributed in 2023
Oct 2, 2023, 9:09 AM | Updated: 9:12 am
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
With the D-backs capturing a NL Wild Card appearance, let us not forget who got them to the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2017.
And especially those players who ended up on the injured list, got traded or found themselves released. They may be gone, but they helped the organization reach the promised land.
Granted, the stars of the team definitely carried most of the weight in producing wins. Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, Corbin Carroll, Christian Walker, Gabriel Moreno, Geraldo Perdomo and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. provided most of the talent – and production — all season.
Many role-players played their parts and contributed to wins (we’re looking at you, Miguel Castro, Kevin Ginkel and Kyle Nelson among others).
Young guys stepped up in crucial moments and will be depended on to continue to do so during the playoff run: Brandon Pfaadt, Ryne Nelson and Justin Martinez.
But baseball is a game like no other. The length of the season – 162 games over 6 months – translates into players no longer with the team who gave them a win or two that makes all the difference down the stretch.
As baseball folklore maintains, it takes more than just the guys on the roster at the beginning of the season to secure a playoff spot.
The Diamondbacks have had a handful of players this season who likely will never play for the D-backs again, most notably Nick Ahmed, Dominic Canzone, Josh Rojas, Andrew Chafin and Zach Davies. Others, like Tommy Henry and Drey Jameson, face roads of recovery after injury.
We thank them for their service and for the roles they played in edging the D-backs closer to a playoff berth.
For most, Ahmed will always be a Diamondback. But it did not start that way. He was actually the key piece in the Justin Upton trade back in 2012.
He spent the next 12 years as a member of the organization until he was designated for assignment earlier this month.
As he had done many times in the past, in 2023, his contributions delivered at least one win and it was a memorable moment.
Back in April, Ahmed hit a double that just wasn’t in the dirt but bounced before getting to the plate. That hit was the difference in the game.
THE BALL HIT THE GROUND AND THEN NICK HIT A DOUBLE. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/6CUtyb3qFj
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 19, 2023
Canzone was an eighth-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2019 and he always hit, even after he finally got the call to the big leagues.
He was traded (along with Josh Rojas, below) to the Seattle Mariners in the deal that brought closer Paul Sewald to the Diamondbacks.
As mentioned above, Rojas and Canzone were part of the package that brought Sewald to Arizona.
But before that, Rojas was an integral cog for the Diamondbacks. And, although his struggles at the plate saw him spend some time in the minors this season, his performance at the plate in a June tilt against the Nationals would influence the squad’s playoff chances.
The major leaguer who lived in a travel trailer was drafted in the first round by the Diamondbacks in 2011 and was with the organization until he was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2020. After stops in Chicago, Detroit and Oakland, he rejoined the D-backs.
Although he was traded to Milwaukee earlier this summer, he helped the squad navigate through the challenge of not having a closer after Mark Melancon was injured before the season started.
His 2.89 ERA in April and 2.35 ERA in June were crucial to securing wins when the D-backs were on pace to win the National League West.
But unfortunately, struggles ensued and now Chafin may face his old mates in the playoffs.
Drey Jameson may be best remembered for the Scooby Doo cleats he sported earlier this season, but without a few clutch performances early in the season, the D-backs might not have earned the playoff berth.
The first start was pretty good and then some struggles began, but he still managed to earn three big wins and put up a 3.25 ERA.
Unfortunately, he suffered a UCL injury, underwent Tommy John surgery and will miss all of the 2024 season.
Good luck hitting Drey Jameson and those Scooby Doo cleats pic.twitter.com/8Yk2USZLts
— Barstool Baseball (@StoolBaseball) April 12, 2023
The Diamondbacks’ best record in a month this season came in May and Tommy Henry was a major factor for the 17-10 result.
The lefty was tapped to replace Madison Bumgarner after he was let go in late April. Henry responded with two mediocre starts, then caught fire in May, making six starts and surrendering a meager 10 earned runs for a 2.87 ERA.
Although June and July were respectable, Henry suffered an elbow injury in July and has not made another start since that time.
Regardless, without his five wins, the D-backs might not have even been close to sniffing the playoffs.
He is not expected to have surgery.
First K of the year for Tommy Henry! pic.twitter.com/HDgofpmVwb
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) February 26, 2023
Although the pitcher had some rough patches during his career in Sedona Red, Davies was solid over his two seasons in the desert.
And, without a few gems from the right hander in 2023 — including a start against the Tampa Rays in June and the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 1 — the Diamondbacks would be on the outside looking in for the NL Wild Card.
He was designated for assignment earlier this week.