Arizona Diamondbacks – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Steven Souza Jr. Out “A Couple Of Weeks” With Pectoral Strain]]> 2018-03-23T01:18:17Z 2018-03-23T01:18:17Z Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has a right pec strain and will open the season on the disabled list, according to manager Torey Lovullo (via Nick Pecoro of AZ Central Sports). Lovullo expects Souza to be out of the lineup for “a couple of weeks, at least.” The soon-to-be 29-year-old Souza left Wednesday’s game after diving for a baseball in the outfield.

Needless to say, this is certainly isn’t what the Diamondbacks had planned for when they acquired Souza in a three-team trade with the Yankees and Rays earlier in the winter. Arizona gave up left-hander Anthony Banda and two players to be named later in order to acquire the free-swinging slugger, who’s coming off his best season as a major-leaguer. Though he managed just a .239 batting average last season (in part due to a 29% strikeout rate), he got on base at a .351 clip and crushed 30 homers while contributing 16 stolen bases for Tampa Bay.

It’s unclear exactly how long the club expects Souza to be out. Lovullo says that the club will “give the injury time to define itself”, which is of course incredibly vague. Zach Buchanan of The Athletic tweets that Lovullo “slipped in” mid-May to a later answer about the outfielder’s timeline. Regardless, it seems almost like good news for Souza, as it was initially thought that he may have suffered a shoulder injury. His absence from the opening day roster will open up an opportunity for more playing time for both Yasmany Tomas and Jarrod Dyson at the start of the season.

Souza was drafted and developed by the Nationals, who picked him in the third round of the 2007 draft, then later traded him to the Padres in exchange for Joe Ross and a player-to-be-named-later that ended up being Trea Turner. The righty-hitting outfielder has played in parts of four major league seasons, slashing .236/.325/.426 for his career to go along with 65 dingers and 35 steals.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Steven Souza Jr. Suffers Apparent Shoulder Injury]]> 2018-03-22T03:33:36Z 2018-03-22T03:32:09Z Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. left the team’s game Wednesday with an apparent right shoulder injury, Richard Morin of the Arizona Republic reports. There’s no word on the severity yet, but the Diamondbacks are left to hope it’s nothing serious after acquiring Souza from the Rays last month. The 28-year-old Souza posted his best season in 2017, hitting .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs in 617 plate appearances en route to 3.7 fWAR. If healthy, he should help make up for the D-backs’ offseason loss of outfielder J.D. Martinez, who signed with the Red Sox.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Release Antonio Bastardo, Reassign Neftali Feliz]]> 2018-03-20T16:34:11Z 2018-03-20T16:24:20Z The Diamondbacks have released veteran lefty Antonio Bastardo, per a club announcement. He had inked a minors deal with the organization back in January. That move was one among several that give some shape to the club’s pitching plans for the 2018 season.

Also departing MLB camp were righties Neftali Feliz and Jimmie Sherfy, the latter via optional assignment. Veteran position players Jeremy Hazelbaker and Christian Walker were also optioned, while backstop Anthony Recker was  reassigned.

Bastardo and Feliz both landed with the Arizona organization in hopes of launching career turnarounds. The former would have earned a $1.5MM salary in the majors, with a hefty $4MM incentives package also available. Instead, neither player will have a MLB job out of camp — at least with the D-Backs.

The 32-year-old Bastardo certainly ought to have a chance to catch on elsewhere. After all, he turned in good results this spring, racking up nine strikeouts against just one walk in his 5 2/3 innings of action (though also surrendering two long balls). Though he struggled badly in 2017, Bastardo has long been a useful major-league reliever.

As for Feliz, 29, he’s also coming off of a rough campaign in which he managed only a 5.48 ERA over 46 innings. He seemed a reasonable bounceback target given his strong 2016 output, but has struggled in camp. In six innings, Feliz has been tagged for six earned runs on ten hits while recording just three strikeouts to go with three walks.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Buchanan: Jake Lamb Compares Favorably To Eugenio Suarez]]> 2018-03-19T20:11:59Z 2018-03-19T20:11:35Z Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb and Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez have posted nearly identical career numbers to date, observes Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (subscription required), who wonders if the former could be in line for an extension. Suarez, 27, just received a long-term deal – a seven-year, $66MM guarantee – after hitting .260/.367/.461 and accounting for 4.1 fWAR across 632 plate appearances last season. Lamb, 26, was successful in his own right (.248/.357/.487 with 2.5 fWAR in 635 PAs), and three of the four major league executives and agents Buchanan polled chose him over Suarez. There’s no word on whether Arizona is motivated to extend Lamb, who’s controllable via arbitration through 2020, but Buchanan suggests the team would jump at the chance to lock him up at a Suarez-like rate.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Zack Greinke Feeling Good After 40-Pitch Bullpen]]> 2018-03-19T05:02:35Z 2018-03-19T02:12:27Z
  • Zack Greinke has been dealing with a lack of velocity and a minor groin injury this spring, but after a 40-pitch bullpen session today, the Diamondbacks ace is hopeful of being ready for the start of the season, he told’s Owen Perkins and other reporters.  “If I felt this good every day for the rest of my career, it would be amazing,” Greinke said. “I’ll definitely be making the next outing. I felt healthy and the pitches were pretty good. Hopefully that continues. It should; it was a good day.”  Greinke left a start last Wednesday after just one inning due to mild groin tightness, and though he already seems to be feeling better, manager Torey Lovullo said the club will continue to monitor Greinke’s progress.  The setbacks have cost Greinke the Opening Day assignment, though he could pitch as soon as Arizona’s third game of the season.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Release Josh Thole]]> 2018-03-18T19:59:58Z 2018-03-18T19:59:16Z
  • The Diamondbacks have released catcher Josh Thole, according to a team announcement. The 31-year-old Thole had been in camp as a non-roster invitee for the D-backs, who originally added him on a minor league contract entering 2017. Thole didn’t play at all last year, however, after suffering a hamstring tear during the spring. Prior to that, he saw big league action with two teams – the Mets (2009-13) and Blue Jays (2013-16) – and combined to hit just .242/.313/.306 in 1,499 plate appearances. To his credit, Thole has earned plus defensive marks for the majority of his career.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[D-Backs Notes: Greinke, Lopez]]> 2018-03-17T06:17:34Z 2018-03-17T06:00:23Z It has been something of a trying spring for Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke. As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes, the venerable starter is unlikely to be ready to take the ball on Opening Day — though that isn’t necessarily the primary concern for the organization. The more important consideration, surely, is to ensure that Greinke does not end up with a bigger problem after experiencing what the team is characterizing as minor groin tightness. Greinke was already laboring with sluggish fastball velocity, but it seems the team is generally still optimistic that he’ll be at full strength for the bulk of the coming season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Greg Holland]]> 2018-03-15T18:08:26Z 2018-03-15T18:08:26Z The market for Greg Holland has seemingly been tepid, at best, in recent months. Two teams that have at least considered him as of late, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman, are the Braves and the D-backs. Atlanta has “checked in” on Holland, while Arizona has considered a run at him as well. One oft-connected team that doesn’t seem likely is the Nationals, as Heyman adds that the they’re “not planning” to pursue him at this juncture of the offseason. (That aligns with comments GM Mike Rizzo made to the media early this afternoon.)

    The Diamondbacks already have a plethora of arms vying for bullpen spots, though as the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro recently pointed out, there are potentially as many as three spots up for grabs. Archie Bradley is considered to be among the ninth-inning favorites in D-backs camp, with Brad Boxberger and Yoshihisa Hirano also vying for saves, but Holland would give them a more established arm and deepen the overall bullpen mix in a year Arizona plans to contend. Payroll, of course, could be an issue for the D-backs, though it wasn’t long ago that they were trying to find creative ways to fit J.D. Martinez onto the books.

    As for the Braves, their late-inning mix is also murky. Arodys Vizcaino figures to open the year in the ninth inning, with Jose Ramirez, A.J. Minter and Sam Freeman among the setup options helping form the bridge from the rotation to Vizcaino. There’s obviously strong incentive for the Braves to forgo signing Holland. As a rebuilding club that may not yet be ready to contend, the Braves surely don’t relish the idea of surrendering draft picks to sign a player who rejected a qualifying offer.

    I’d add that at the same time, the Braves needn’t fret much over the international forfeitures they’d face, as they’ll he handcuffed in that regard anyhow following the November scandal that prompted John Coppolella to resign as GM. Beyond that, high-end bullpen arms are always in demand at the deadline, and it’s not outlandish to think the Braves could receive a better prospect than the one they’d acquire with the third round pick they’d be forced to punt. (Losing the slot value of that pick in their draft pool, however, would limit their ability to get creative, though.)

    Finding teams that make sense as an on-paper fit for Holland is hardly a problem. Virtually any club in the league could stand to improve by pushing its seventh-best reliever to the minors and adding Holland to the bullpen mix. However, we’ve already seen a significant portion of the league largely sit out the free agent market, and at this stage of the offseason, more teams are up against payroll limits and reluctant to forfeit a draft/international considerations. There’s still enough time in spring that Holland could potentially make a handful of appearances before Opening Day, but the longer he waits, the more his early-season availability will be called into question.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Salas Impressing In D-backs' Bullpen Race; Miller Throws Bullpen Session]]> 2018-03-15T14:25:31Z 2018-03-15T14:21:47Z One more item of note from Piecoro is that because Suarez has been previously outrighted off a 40-man roster in his career, the D-backs wouldn’t have to offer him back to the Giants if he clears waivers; he could instead elect free agency.

    Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic breaks down the race for some open spots in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen, noting that minor league signee Fernando Salas has outperformed the rest of the competition in terms of pure results. The eight-year veteran has tossed 6 2/3 shutout frames with a 6-to-1 K/BB ratio this spring, though competitors Neftali Feliz, Michael Blazek and Rule 5 pickup Albert Suarez (from the Giants) have all pitched well. Piecoro notes that there appear to be two or three spots up for grabs due to the fact that right-hander Randall Delgado is likely ticketed for the disabled list to open the year because of a left oblique injury. Piecoro also checks in on injured righty Shelby Miller, who had positive reports following a bullpen session and could return from Tommy John surgery in June or July.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[No Current Extension Talks Between Pollock, D-backs]]> 2018-03-14T04:03:03Z 2018-03-14T02:14:16Z There are no ongoing extension talks between A.J. Pollock and the Diamondbacks, Pollock himself tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Pollock hopes to remain with the D-backs long term, though like most impending free agents entering their walk year, he says he’s more focused on the upcoming season than his contract status. Arizona GM Mike Hazen offered little insight when asked about the situation, Piecoro notes. “It’s kind of tricky when you get into this range of time left, with a year before free agency,” said Hazen. “We’ll probably see where the year takes us. You never know.” As Piecoro highlights, there are some parallels between Pollock and newly signed Brewers center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who landed a five-year, $80MM contract this winter. And while Cain has been the more durable of the two, Pollock will enter free agency a year younger than Cain did.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[D-Backs Watching Zack Greinke's Velocity]]> 2018-03-13T15:10:08Z 2018-03-13T04:58:25Z
  • While there’s still plenty of time left in camp, there’s some rising unease within the Diamondbacks organization surrounding Zack Greinke, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Greinke himself noted that he’s somewhat “nervous” that he won’t be working in his typical low-nineties range by the start of the season given that he’s still sitting in the mid-eighties with his fastball. Picking up on those comments, in the context of the team’s plans for an Opening Day starter, skipper Torey Lovullo acknowledged being “concerned about where [Greinke is] at” and said he plans to “let everything kind of settle down” before the club decides who’ll take the ball to open the season. Of course, it doesn’t matter as much whether Greinke throws the first pitch as it does that he’s at full strength. As to that matter, Lovullo suggested he’s nowhere near panicking over the veteran hurler. Instead, he stressed, his “concern is minimal” that Greinke will ultimately get up to speed and be prepared to attempt a repeat of a strong 2017 effort.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Randall Delgado Dealing With Oblique Injury]]> 2018-03-12T01:08:52Z 2018-03-12T01:07:48Z
  • Diamondbacks righty Randall Delgado could be questionable for Opening Day, as manager Torey Lovullo told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (Twitter link) and other media that Delgado has an issue with his left oblique.  Delgado was already working his way back from a flexor strain that ended his 2017 campaign in mid-July.  Prior that injury, Delgado had a solid 3.59 ERA, 8.6 K/9, and 4.23 K/BB rate over 62 2/3 IP for Arizona as a swingman, making five starts and 21 relief appearances.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[D-Backs Added Tyler Pill On Minors Deal]]> 2018-03-09T00:25:18Z 2018-03-08T22:15:11Z
  • In a minor signing that flew a bit below our radar earlier this winter, the D-backs’ Triple-A affiliate announced that they signed former Mets righty Tyler Pill to a minor league pact. Pill, 28 in May, made his MLB debut with the Mets last year and totaled 22 innings of work across seven innings, including three starts. He struggled to a 5.32 ERA with a 16-to-10 K/BB ratio in that time, but Pill posted more encouraging numbers in a very hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas setting. In 80 1/3 frames in the Pacific Coast League, he logged a 3.47 ERA, albeit with a modest 5.6 K/9 mark against 2.5 BB/9. Pill was assigned to Reno, per the announcement, and hasn’t logged an inning with the D-backs this spring, so it seems he was not invited to Major League camp. He’ll presumably be on hand as a depth option in Triple-A this season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Facing Complicated Bench Crunch]]> 2018-03-08T03:48:25Z 2018-03-08T03:48:25Z
  • The D-backs have plenty of roster decisions to make by the end of Spring Training, but the bench presents a particularly enigmatic situation, writes Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. GM Mike Hazen and skipper Torey Lovullo need to determine whether they plan to carry seven or eight relievers, which will determine whether they utilize a four- or five-man bench. Even if it’s the latter, there are numerous battles for a spot. Lovullo calls a third catcher a “luxury” that he enjoyed in 2017, but Chris Herrmann or John Ryan Murphy (the two men who’d compete to fill that role) are vying with Yasmany Tomas and possibly Christian Walker for a potential fifth bench slot. The first four slots figure to go to Jeff Mathis, Chris Owings, Jarrod Dyson and Daniel Descalso, with Nick Ahmed and Ketel Marte likely holding the up-the-middle starting gigs. Notably, both Herrmann and Murphy are out of minor league options.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 3/5/18]]> 2018-03-05T22:23:03Z 2018-03-05T22:23:03Z Here are Monday’s minor moves from around the league…

    • The D-backs announced that they’ve signed veteran catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league contract and invited him to big league camp in Spring Training. The 34-year-old Recker is a career .199/.283/.348 hitters in parts of seven big league seasons and has spent the bulk of the past two years with the Braves, appearing in 39 games at the Major League level. The Diamondbacks organization is well-stocked with catching depth as it is, having Alex Avila, Jeff Mathis and Chris Herrmann on the big league roster plus and John Ryan Murphy on the 40-man roster as well. Josh Thole is also in camp with the D-backs on a minor league deal. Both Herrmann and Murphy are out of minor league options, though, so it’s possible that either could find himself in another organization before the end of camp.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Notes: Closer Race, Starting Depth]]> 2018-03-05T05:09:29Z 2018-03-05T05:09:29Z
  • Elsewhere on the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff, a lack of starting depth is an issue, particularly since the team dealt Anthony Banda to the Rays in last month’s Steven Souza Jr. trade, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic observes. Piecoro goes on to run down the Diamondbacks’ in-house options behind the enviable starting five of Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin. With the exception of the aforementioned Shelby Miller, who won’t return until the summer after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, no one in the group has much of a big league track record. Fortunately for the D-backs, general manager Mike Hazen realizes they need help on that front. “I think there’s still some work to do there,” Hazen said of the team’s starting depth. “I think it’s an obvious area of focus now that we traded Banda. As I said before, it sort of always was as we went through that process.”
    • The Diamondbacks’ three-man closer competition is “wide open,” manager Torey Lovullo told Steve Gilbert of and other reporters Sunday. The club’s choosing among Brad Boxberger, Yoshihisa Hirano (two offseason acquisitions) and Archie Bradley to replace Fernando Rodney, who converted 39 of 45 save opportunities as a D-back last year before leaving for Minnesota in free agency. Boxberger, though, has been dealing with “general arm soreness,” Gilbert relays, and hasn’t pitched in a game since Feb. 23. It’s unclear when he’ll see game action again, but Lovullo did say he “looked good” and “felt fantastic” during a 25-pitch bullpen session Sunday.
    • Elsewhere on the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff, a lack of starting depth is an issue, particularly since the team dealt Anthony Banda to the Rays in last month’s Steven Souza Jr. trade, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic observes. Piecoro goes on to run down the Diamondbacks’ in-house options behind the enviable starting five of Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin. With the exception of the aforementioned Shelby Miller, who won’t return until the summer after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, no one in the group has much of a big league track record. Fortunately for the D-backs, general manager Mike Hazen realizes they need help on that front. “I think there’s still some work to do there,” Hazen said of the team’s starting depth. “I think it’s an obvious area of focus now that we traded Banda. As I said before, it sort of always was as we went through that process.”
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs Linked To International Pitching Prospects]]> 2018-03-05T04:16:15Z 2018-03-04T22:54:50Z
  • Major League Baseball recently held a showcase for some of the top international prospects who will become available when the 2018-19 international signing window opens on July 2.  In a subscription-only piece, Baseball America’s Ben Badler (two links) has the breakdown of some of the pitchers who made a particular impression, with some of these young arms already linked to such teams as the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Marlins, and Phillies.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Diamondbacks' Starting Middle Infield Competition]]> 2018-03-04T00:26:34Z 2018-03-04T00:25:06Z
  • The Diamondbacks are still determining their starting middle infield for 2018, Steve Gilbert of writes. Either Ketel Marte or Chris Owings could start at second base or shortstop, while Nick Ahmed is also in contention – but only at short. “I’d say on that front, we value Nick as a shortstop,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I haven’t had a conversation with him beyond playing shortstop at this point.” With the exception of an 11-inning stint at the keystone in 2014, his first taste of major league action, Ahmed has spent his entire career at short. He has dazzled defensively, evidenced by his 37 DRS and 19.6 UZR, but has only managed a .226/.273/.345 batting line in 1,020 plate appearances.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Notes: Upton, Archer, Realmuto, Holland, Lynn]]> 2018-03-02T17:21:47Z 2018-03-02T06:09:17Z Over at The Athletic, Pedro Moura held a fascinating conversation with Angels slugger Justin Upton. (Subscription link.) There’s plenty of interest in the chat, though Upton’s comments on free agency are of particular interest and relevance. The thrust of his sentiment is that teams seem to be looking to score free-agent value rather than identifying and “courting” players they actively wish to employ. “Teams don’t value players as people anymore,” says Upton. “They value them as a number on a sheet of paper.”

    Of course, Upton forewent a chance at returning to the open market by agreeing to a deal with an organization he was comfortable with. Here’s the latest on the unusually high number of quality free agents still not in camp and other market notes:

    • The likelihood remains that the Rays will enter the season with Chris Archer on the staff, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports among other notes. That’s due in no small part to the team’s lofty asking price; one rival executive suggests that the Tampa Bay front office “wanted our whole farm system” to move Archer. The club has given that impression publicly, too. Senior VP of baseball ops Chaim Bloom reiterated that the expectation is to hang onto Archer and others in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link). He added that the internal expectation is that it will begin to reap the rewards of an effort over recent years to bolster the farm depth while still trying to compete at the MLB level.
    • It has remained interesting to consider whether the Nationals might pry catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins. But there isn’t much recent indication of serious talks, and Heyman indicates that’s due to what seems to be a big gulf in the sides’ valuations. Washington won’t give top prospects Victor Robles and Juan Soto, per the report; while the club might part with young infielder Carter Kieboom or outfielder Michael Taylor, it seems Miami was asking for too much additional talent to be included in a package.
    • The outfield market has certainly delivered some surprises thus far. Heyman says Jarrod Dyson spurned an early two-year, $14MM offer, though a source tells MLBTR that is not accurate. Dyson ultimately signed for $7.5MM with the Diamondbacks. It remains to be seen what’ll happen with players such as Carlos Gonzalez and Jon Jay, each of whom were rated among the fifty best free agents this winter by MLBTR. Heyman says the Indians are still looking at right-handed outfield bats, though it would surely be a surprise for the team to plunk down any meaningful money to make an addition. Perhaps the trade route could still hold some surprises, though that’s pure speculation on my part.
    • Veteran reliever Greg Holland might have overplayed his hand in spurning the Rockies earlier in the winter. Colorado was willing to give him something approaching the three-year, $51MM deal the team ultimately inked with Wade Davis, Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests in an appearance on the podcast of Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. It’s premature, perhaps, to declare that Holland won’t be able to top that number, though it’s frankly difficult to see where that level of interest might come from — as MLBTR’s Steve Adams has recently explained.
    • Holland’s list of suitors is in question at the moment. One thing that seems clear, per Heyman, is that the Cubs aren’t planning on making a surprise run at the closer. Rather, Chicago seems largely committed to utilizing Brandon Morrow in the ninth inning and is likely to hold back its remaining payroll reserves for potential mid-season additions.
    • So, how low could the remaining pitchers go? Presumably there’s a point at which some bidding would occur. But it’s notable that, per ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson (podcast link), the Twins expressed interest in Lance Lynn in the range of just $10MM to $12MM over two seasons. Just how that level of interest came about and was expressed isn’t clear. The team has also made some fairly notable recent commitments and may just not have much more payroll flexibility. And it certainly shouldn’t be taken as evidence of Lynn’s current market value. Still, it’s interesting to learn that’s the current extent of Minnesota’s interest.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Marte, Ahmed Vying For Everyday Role]]> 2018-03-01T04:43:41Z 2018-03-01T04:43:41Z
  • The D-backs are weighing three middle infielders for two spots, writes’s Jesse Sanchez, with both Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed vying for the everyday shortstop role while Chris Owings sees time at both middle infield slots. The starting shortstop gig may come down to a battle between Marte and Ahmed, with the former being a offensive-minded option and the latter being a considerably more gifted defender. (Ahmed’s 35 Defensive Runs Saved since 2015 rank 15th in MLB at any position despite the fact that he has fewer innings played than any of the 14 players ahead of him.) Manager Torey Lovullo played it close to the vest when asked by Sanchez about his starting shortstop, simply stating that the organization “loves” all three players. “It’s probably too early for me to give you what will happen [Opening Day],” said Lovullo. “It will be unfair to these guys. They are going to compete.”
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[What's Next For Yasmany Tomas?]]> 2018-02-24T04:51:46Z 2018-02-24T04:43:25Z
  • The Diamondbacks face an increasingly difficult challenge with regard to outfielder Yasmany Tomas, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. It’s possible that the lumbering slugger could be optioned or outrighted rather than opening on the active roster, Piecoro suggests. Following an injury-limited season in which the 27-year-old Tomas limped to a .241/.294/.464 batting line, Arizona has made alternative plans in the outfield and doesn’t seem to have much use for one of its most highly-compensated players. With $10MM owed for 2018, there’s not much hope of finding another organization to take over his contract, particularly since he can opt to secure an additional $32.5MM over the ensuing two seasons. The post is a detailed look at a situation that doesn’t admit of easy answers.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[D-Backs "Seem Ready To Move On" From Yasmany Tomas]]> 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z
  • Following the Diamondbacks’ acquisition of Steven Souza from the Rays, D-backs GM Mike Hazen tells the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro that his team’s “heavy lifting is done.” As Piecoro notes, this week’s pickups of Souza and Jarrod Dyson will push the team’s payroll into the $130MM vicinity — an easy club record. But, the team is focused on winning right now, with Paul Goldschmidt still under control for two more seasons and still in his prime. Piecoro also suggests that the D-backs “seem ready to move on” from Yasmany Tomas, who is owed another $46MM as part of the ill-fated six-year, $68.5MM contract he signed before the 2015 season.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire Brandon Drury, D-Backs Acquire Steven Souza In Three-Team Trade With Rays]]> 2018-02-21T16:24:31Z 2018-02-21T00:30:00Z The Rays, Yankees and D-backs have agreed to a significant three-team trade that will send outfielder Steven Souza from Tampa Bay to Arizona, infielder/outfielder Brandon Drury from Arizona to New York and prospects to Tampa Bay. The Rays will receive left-hander Anthony Banda and two players to be named later from the D-backs as well as minor league second baseman Nick Solak from the Yankees. Additionally, the Yankees will send right-hander Taylor Widener to the Diamondbacks. The teams have announced the trade.

    Steven Souza | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The acquisition of Souza will be the second notable outfield pickup for the D-backs in as many days, as the Snakes added Jarrod Dyson on a two-year deal yesterday just minutes after losing out on J.D. Martinez, who signed a five-year deal with the Red Sox. Souza is a solid consolation price to that failed pursuit, as he’ll give the D-backs a right-handed bat with lesser power but superior defense to Martinez — and it’s certainly notable that he’s coming off a 30-homer season himself.

    Souza, set to turn 29 in late April, hit .239/.351/.459 with 21 doubles, a pair of triples and 16 stolen bases in addition to his 30 home runs last season. While he can’t make up for the loss of Martinez’s bat on his own, he’s long shown plenty of pop at the plate and last season walked at a career-best 13.6 percent clip as well. He is, of course, not without red flags. Even if he’s able to sustain the uptick in walks, Souza figures to continue to hit for a questionable batting average so long as he continues to struggle with his overall contact skills. Souza whiffed at a 29 percent rate in 2017, and that actually represented an improvement over 2016’s alarming 34 percent strikeout rate.

    That said, he comes to the D-backs with three years of club control remaining, meaning he’ll be a fairly long-term option for them in an outfield mix that also includes Dyson, impending free agent A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas (though the D-backs would surely love to escape the remainder of Tomas’ onerous financial commitment).

    Arizona will also add a former 12th-round pick, Widener, that turned in a strong season in Class-A Advanced last season when he tossed 119 1/3 innings of 3.39 ERA ball with a 129-to-50 K/BB ratio over the life of 27 starts. He’s had some durability issues in the past, with Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of noting last summer that he had ulnar transposition surgery in 2015 and dealt with back and knee injuries in college. There’s starter potential for Widener, but he’ll need to prove capable of handling a regular workload in the rotation.

    [Updated Depth Charts: Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks]

    The 25-year-old Drury, meanwhile, will give the Yankees the infield depth they’ve been seeking as they currently make evaluations of Miguel Andujar at third base and Gleyber Torres at second base. After trading Chase Headley and Starlin Castro this offseason, the Yanks lacked certainty at both of those positions, but Drury presents a more experienced option than any of their infield prospect that has seen plenty of Major League action at both slots. If Andujar and/or Torres prove ready to handle a full workload in 2018, then Drury can shift into a super-utility role and provide depth at a number of spots around the diamond.

    Brandon Drury | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Drury is fresh off a solid, if unspectacular .267/.317/.447 slash with 13 homers through 480 plate appearances this past season. Since establishing himself as a regular in the D-backs’ infield/corner outfield rotation in 2016, Drury has batted .275/.323/.453 with 29 home runs. He’s controllable for another four seasons and should factor into the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup, though which position he plays will likely be determined over the course of Spring Training.

    Drury, a rumored target for the Yankees dating back to December, comes to the Yankees with more than 1000 innings of MLB experience at second base and more than 300 innings at third base; that division of labor was flipped during his minor league career, as he logged more than 3000 innings at the hot corner in the minors and just 620 at second base prior to reaching the Majors.

    He drew above-average marks from Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating for his work in 947 innings at second base this past season, though both metrics feel his limited big league work at third base has been below average. Drury also has 700 innings of corner outfield work under his belt (where he’s drawn below-average marks as well) and has even played six innings at shortstop in the Majors.

    The acquisition of Drury likely puts an end to the oft-speculated possibility of a Mike Moustakas signing for the Yankees. And, because he’s not eligible for arbitration until next winter, Drury allows the Yankees to maintain plenty of financial flexibility, leaving room for in-season moves, which was reported to be a priority for GM Brian Cashman.

    As for the Rays, the trade sends the latest of several signals that the team is looking to retool its current group and scale back payroll. Souza avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.55MM deal earlier this winter, and he’ll now join Corey Dickerson ($5.95MM) and Jake Odorizzi ($6.3MM) as arbitration-eligible players whom the Rays have shipped out in recent days. The subtractions of Odorizzi and Souza leave the Rays with a projected payroll of just $78.77MM, and that’ll further drop once it’s determined how much (if any) of Dickerson’s salary they’ll need to pay in 2018. The Rays would owe Dickerson 30 days of his non-guaranteed arbitration salary for the 2018 season if he clears waivers and is released — roughly $975K — so this trio of moves should dip their payroll into the $73MM range.

    Cost savings notwithstanding, the Rays also look to have bolstered their farm system in a meaningful way with today’s trade. Baseball America rated Banda second among D-backs farmhands (albeit in a weak minor league system), while the publication considered Solak to be the 10th-best second base prospect in the game.

    The 24-year-old Banda entered the 2017 season as BA’s No. 88 overall prospect, but he struggled through a down year in 2017, pitching to a 5.39 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a 42 percent ground-ball rate in 122 innings in the extremely hitter-friendly confines of Triple-A Reno. The former 10th-rounder also made his MLB debut in 2017, allowing 17 runs in 25 2/3 innings with a 25-to-10 K/BB ratio. Even with that rough run in Triple-A and the Majors, Banda still has a potential future as a mid-rotation starter, per BA, whose scouting report also noted that he also showed the skills to be a quality late-inning reliever.

    Anthony Banda | Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Solak, meanwhile, batted .297/.384/.452 with 12 homers and 14 steals through 130 games / 538 plate appearances split between Class-A Advanced and Double-A in his first full season in 2017. He also displayed strong K/BB ratios, striking out at an 18.5 percent pace to go along with a quality 11.7 percent walk rate.

    It remains to be seen whether the trades of Souza, Odorizzi and Dickerson will serve as the catalyst for a full-scale fire sale in St. Petersburg, where the Rays still have highly appealing assets such as Chris Archer and Alex Colome. Technically speaking, the Rays have MLB-ready assets that can plausibly step into the fold in the place of Odorizzi, given the presence of pitching prospects like Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon, Banda and Ryan Yarbrough, among others. Mallex Smith, meanwhile, is an option to step into the outfield in place of Souza or Dickerson, while veteran Denard Span can handle another outfield spot.

    But, it’s also true that the Rays face an uphill battle in a competitive AL East — especially following the subtraction of two of their better hitters from 2017 and a rotation mainstay in Odorizzi. Viewed through that lens, there’s good sense for the Rays to continue to at least explore trade possibilities for the likes of Archer and Colome as they look to bolster their farm, improve their draft/international pools for the 2019 season and establish a new wave of controllable, pre-arbitration assets that can help their lower-revenue organization form a core in the next competitive cycle.

    That type of thinking has drawn the ire of agents and the Major League Baseball Players Association this offseason, given the diminished number of teams that are even entertaining the thought of signing veteran free agents. But, it’s also factual that the system, as currently constructed in the latest CBA, favors aggressive tear-downs more than it does trying to walk the line between rebuilding and contending — a reality that could conceivably push the Rays into further action on the trade market.

    FanRag’s Robert Murray got the ball rolling on the story by reporting that Solak was headed to the Rays for an unknown return (via Twitter). FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweeted that Drury had been traded to the Yankees. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic broke the three-team nature of the swap, including that Souza was going to the D-backs (Twitter link). Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Banda was coming to the Rays in the deal. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Widener’s inclusion in the deal (Twitter link).’s Steve Gilbert added that there were a pair of PTBNLs going to the Rays in the swap as well (via Twitter).

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Jarrod Dyson]]> 2018-02-20T02:08:11Z 2018-02-20T00:46:59Z 7:06pm: Arizona has announced the signing. Dyson will earn $3.5MM per year and also receives a $500K signing bonus, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).

    4:52pm: The Diamondbacks have agreed to a two-year deal with free-agent outfielder Jarrod Dyson, according to’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Dyson will be promised $7.5MM, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter link).

    Aug 3, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Seattle Mariners center fielder Jarrod Dyson (1) returns to the dugout in between innings during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    The physical has already been completed, Crasnick notes. Dyson will be able to boost his earnings a bit through incentives, per’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). He’ll earn $50K apiece upon reaching 100 and 125 games played, as well as at 350, 400, and 450 plate appearances.

    While it’s easy to see this as a reaction to the fact that Arizona has reportedly lost out on J.D. Martinez,’s Steve Gilbert says that’s not the case (via Twitter). Rather, he says, the D-Backs were slated to add Dyson regardless of the outcome of the Martinez situation and will continue to shop for outfielders.

    [RELATED: Updated Diamondbacks Depth Chart]

    The move looks like a high-value addition for the Snakes, who can now utilize Dyson as a big part of an outfield rotation that has its share of questions. Dyson is more than capable of spelling A.J. Pollock in center and will also function as a nice platoon match with  Yasmany Tomas — a lumbering, right-handed-hitting slugger who is more or less the exact opposite player from Dyson.

    To be sure, Dyson is best utilized in less than an everyday role. Notably, he has never hit against left-handed pitching, with an abysmal .215/.293/.259 slash. Dyson’s prior organizations have recognized this, as he has never once even reached 400 plate appearances in a given season.

    When deployed properly, however, Dyson is a highly useful player. He has averaged more than 2 WAR annually over the past six seasons while barely topping three hundred plate appearances per campaign. The formula is well-established by this point: elite glovework in any outfield position, top-of-the-line baserunning ability, and near-league-average batting output against right-handed pitching.

    The Diamondbacks will no doubt appreciate the many ways that Dyson can help a roster win a ballgame. It helps, of course, that he can be utilized frequently against right-handed starters. His rather extreme positives and negatives make him an obvious player to bring in or remove in particular late-inning situations, too, increasing his overall roster utility.

    Dyson did undergo surgery to end the 2017 season. And it’s fair to wonder how long his legs will remain among the most valuable in baseball. But he has shown no signs of slowing down to this point, and Dyson seems to make for an excellent fit on the Arizona roster — whether or not the team ends up adding another piece or instead relies on Tomas to provide some right-handed corner pop.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.



    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Red Sox, J.D. Martinez Nearing Deal]]> 2018-02-19T22:34:07Z 2018-02-19T21:39:36Z The free-agent dam is slowly beginning to break, as Eric Hosmer, Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas and Tony Watson have all agreed to multi-year deals in the past five days, while Eduardo Nunez, Jaime Garcia and Chris Tillman have all come off the board on one-year pacts. J.D. Martinez, though, remains available as the top bat on the market despite a lack of obvious suitors for his services outside of the Red Sox and D-backs. Here’s the latest chatter on the slugger…

    • Drellich tweets that he, too, hears a deal between the Sox and Martinez is near, adding that Dombrowski would not comment on the matter.. Piecoro tweets that the D-backs are also under the impression that Martinez is going to the Red Sox, and they’ll need to find a replacement for him.
    • The Red Sox and Martinez are now “moving close to a deal,” tweets Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. There’s nothing finalized yet, he adds, noting that details on the pact remain unclear at this time.

    Earlier Updates

    • Martinez and the Red Sox are still negotiating as of this afternoon, reports Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston. Chairman Tom Werner deferred questions on the matter to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, Drellich writes, noting only that, “Obviously, there’s no news,” at this time. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, meanwhile, tweets that the door for a deal between Boston and Martinez remains open but adds that the team’s interest isn’t going to be indefinite. The Red Sox, according to Abraham, are “prepared to move on entirely or to another player” if they reach the point where they feel there’s no compromise possible with Martinez. Logan Morrison has been reported to be a possible fallback option for the Red Sox if they move on or if Martinez signs elsewhere.
    • “I don’t think we’re done by any means right now,” D-backs CEO Derrick Hall told reporters on Monday (via Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic). Hall said he’d be “surprised” if his team’s roster didn’t change before Opening Day, noting that GM Mike Hazen is looking both at free agency and the trade market. Hall said he entered the offseason hopeful of having an “outside chance” at retaining Martinez — a nod to an expected level of demand for his bat that never seems to have fully materialized. The D-backs’ new television deal, increased revenue from a playoff season and the $50MM BAMTech payout are all cited by Hall as reasons that ownership has taken the 2018 payroll to new heights. It’s not clear based on his comments, though, how strongly he believes Martinez can be fit into the mix. Hall did cite a history of getting “creative” when it comes to retaining/acquiring players about whom they feel strongly. “It’s time to finalize that roster one way or the other, if we are going to improve, which I believe we are,” said Hall.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Patrick Corbin "Glad" He's Still With D-backs]]> 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z
  • Diamondbacks left-hander Patrick Corbin was featured in trade rumors over the winter, but no deal has materialized to this point. Corbin’s “glad” to still be with the team, he tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. One reason the D-backs didn’t pull the trigger on a trade is because they were concerned about finding an adequate replacement, Piecoro notes. Corbin was a key part of their staff last year, when he totaled 3.0 fWAR and recorded a 4.03 ERA in 189 2/3 innings.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks, Jorge De La Rosa Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-02-17T15:25:41Z 2018-02-17T15:25:49Z SATURDAY: De La Rosa will earn $2.25MM if he makes the Diamondbacks’ roster, Piecoro reports. He’ll also have a chance at up to $600K in bonuses.

    FRIDAY: Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa appeared in the Diamondbacks clubhouse this morning, per multiple reporters at their spring facility in Arizona, indicating that the two sides had likely agreed to a reunion. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweets that the D-backs have indeed worked out a minor league pact with De La Rosa to bring him back to the organization. He’s represented by TWC Sports.

    De La Rosa, 37 in April, spent his first full season as a reliever with the D-backs in 2017, working to a 4.21 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.23 HR/9 and a 45.2 percent ground-ball rate in 51 1/3 innings. While it may not be especially predictive, De La Rosa thrived when coming into tight situations, allowing just one of the 33 runners he inherited to cross home plate. He also held left-handed opponents to a putrid .192/.253/.292 slash in 79 plate appearances, thought righties posted a hefty .262/.362/.458 line against him over a larger sample.

    Prior to his work as a reliever, De La Rosa was arguably the most consistent starter in Rockies history, tossing 1141 1/3 innings with a 4.35 ERA, 7.8 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 from 2008-16. He seems likely to work out of the ’pen again in Arizona, given a full starting rotation consisting of Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Patrick Corbin, Zack Godley and Taijuan Walker. But, De La Rosa could conceivably provide some depth this spring should an injury pop up.

    At present, Andrew Chafin is the clear top lefty in the D-backs’ bullpen. De La Rosa will vie for a role as a second or third southpaw option for second-year manager Torey Lovullo, competing alongside 40-man options T.J. McFarland and Jared Miller as well as fellow non-roster veteran Antonio Bastardo.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs Sign Outfielder Daniel Robertson To Minors Deal]]> 2018-02-15T05:19:45Z 2018-02-15T05:19:38Z
  • The Diamondbacks have signed outfielder Daniel Robertson to a minor league deal, according to Baseball Prospectus Kansas City’s David Lesky (Twitter link).  Robertson, 32, has a .262/.314/.328 slash line over 386 career plate appearances in the big leagues, with four different clubs since 2014.  He most recently played for the Indians, appearing in 32 games for Cleveland last season.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[J.D. Martinez Rumors: Tuesday]]> 2018-02-13T19:46:44Z 2018-02-13T19:46:44Z As spring camps begin to open around the league, J.D. Martinez is among the prominent free agents who is still trying to work out his next contract. It has long been supposed that he and the Red Sox have been engaged in a staredown, with the team sitting on a five-year, $125MM offer and Martinez’s camp searching for more.

    The latest reports indicate that is not quite an accurate picture …

    • The Red Sox current top offer to Martinez is “in the vicinity” of only $100MM, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. That’s quite a lot less than has generally been stated, and certainly paints a different picture of the present state of affairs for the market’s top slugger. While the Sox are still smitten with Martinez, Speier writes, the organization is also not particularly interested in running up its bid when demand from other teams is questionable. The article discusses the broader opportunity that Boston may have on a still-dragging market, given its willingness to move past the luxury tax line in a winter where others are declining to do so.
    • Of course, demand can have a way of forming to fill vacuums, and Martinez and his reps at the Boras Corporation are no doubt hoping that’ll occur over the coming weeks. The Diamondbacks are, notably, still working on creative means of bringing Martinez back into the fold, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. That could mean broaching the idea of a shorter deal with a big annual salary and opt-out opportunities, Heyman suggests, though the details of any offers to this point remain hazy. Such a pact might ameliorate concerns with locking into another massive, long-term entanglement, though it’d cut down on the upside for the team and would no doubt still require a big jump in payroll (or further creativity in the form of shedding other contracts). Whatever the details, though, Heyman says there’s some added optimism on the Arizona side that the team could have a real shot at pulling off a surprise deal.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Kendrick, Boras, Met Within The Last Week To Discuss J.D. Martinez]]> 2018-02-12T06:12:13Z 2018-02-12T06:08:07Z
  • It was reported earlier this week by FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman that Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick had met with Scott Boras several times this offseason in regards to J.D. Martinez, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) notes that Kendrick and Boras met again as recently as this week.  Since the Red Sox appear to be the only other known suitor for Martinez’s services, there still seems to be at least a chance that Martinez could return to Arizona, though some creativity may be required via the design of Martinez’s contract or in how the D’Backs could carve out payroll space to afford him.  That is, unless, Boras (who has a history of negotiating directly with owners) can just convince Kendrick to greatly increase what will already be a team record-high payroll in 2018.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[D-backs Rumors: Domingo Santana, Drury]]> 2018-02-11T04:10:03Z 2018-02-11T02:33:03Z
  • The Diamondbacks and Brewers discussed outfielder Domingo Santana earlier this offseason, but the teams couldn’t work out a deal, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Milwaukee was seeking starting pitching in return for Santana, per Cafardo, which you’d expect for a team that has been on the lookout for rotation help throughout the offseason. The D-backs, meanwhile, want another outfielder and have attempted to re-sign the top hitter available in free agency, J.D. Martinez, making their interest in Santana understandable. Santana won’t even be eligible for arbitration until next winter, so he’d obviously make far less of a dent in Arizona’s payroll than JDM.
  • In addition to the previously reported Yanks, the Mets asked the Diamondbacks about utilityman Brandon Drury at some point this offseason, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Drury is still with the D-backs, though a deal could still come together before the season, Piecoro suggests. It probably won’t be with the Mets, though, considering they’ve signed third baseman Todd Frazier, outfielder Jay Bruce and infielder Jose Reyes in recent weeks.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On D-Backs, J.D. Martinez]]> 2018-02-09T05:35:11Z 2018-02-09T05:23:24Z J.D. Martinez’s name has been connected more with the D-backs in recent days, though Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic posits that it’s difficult to envision the Diamondbacks finding a way to fit Martinez, Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt all on the same payroll, should the team ultimately extend Goldschmidt beyond his current contract (which runs through 2019). That said, Piecoro notes that Martinez loved his time in Arizona, bonded with teammates and likes the upward trajectory of the team. Piecoro also points out that the D-backs hired one of Martinez’s personal hitting coaches, Robert Van Scoyoc, and appointed him to the newly created position of “hitting strategist” within the organization.

    A reunion with the D-backs could be a stretch financially, but FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes that agent Scott Boras has met with D-backs managing partner Ken Kendrick on multiple occasions this offseason. How aggressive Boras can push Kendrick to be remains to be seen; Heyman notes that Arizona has “signaled a willingness” to go to five years and more than $100MM, though John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona Sports tweets that, to the contrary, the D-backs aren’t willing to go to that length to retain the slugger.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On J.D. Martinez’s Market]]> 2018-02-08T02:37:53Z 2018-02-08T02:27:52Z 8:27pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that, in addition to the five-year offer from the Red Sox (which he pegs for “at least” $120MM), Martinez has discussed both long- and short-term scenarios to return to the Diamondbacks.

    A shorter-term deal to return to the D-backs would come as something of a surprise, though it’d be somewhat similar to Yoenis Cespedes’ initial deal to return to the Mets. Unable to find the long-term pact he sought on the open market in the 2015-16 offseason, Cespedes instead returned to the Mets on a three-year, $75MM contract with an opt-out after the first season of the contract. He’d go on to sign a four-year, $110MM pact with the Mets the following offseason.

    Nightengale reported earlier today that the only other formal offer that Martinez had received outside of Boston was a one-year pact to return to Arizona, though certainly that doesn’t mean that Martinez and Boras haven’t discussed other parameters with the Diamondbacks (or potentially with other clubs whose interest has yet to be firmly reported).

    7:30pm: Boras, unsurprisingly, rejected the notion that Martinez is unhappy with any potential suitor, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Rather, the agent tells Silverman that Martinez is “involved in multiple negotiations and is pleased with the participants and the good faith process,” calling suggestions to the contrary “not accurate.”

    12:15am: The staredown between J.D. Martinez and the Red Sox doesn’t appear to be all that close to ending. Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston spoke to agent Scott Boras Tuesday evening, with Boras making clear that his client is willing to wait until after the start of Spring Training to sign a contract. Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription required) that Martinez has become “fed up” with the lack of flexibility on Boston’s part and may actually prefer to sign with another club at this point.

    “The dialogue is ongoing, we have not reached any kind of agreement,” Boras tells Drellich, noting that Martinez doesn’t necessarily need a full Spring Training to work himself into game shape. “Particularly for position players, these guys are in great shape, they’re ready to go.”

    Boston has reportedly offered Martinez a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $125MM, and to this point there hasn’t been much in the way of serious competition that has been widely reported. The D-backs would love to retain Martinez, but they’re already facing a record payroll in 2018 without Martinez in the fold and have an onerous commitment to Yasmany Tomas on the books. Beyond that, one has to imagine some concerns from the Arizona brass when it comes to Martinez’s glovework in the outfield over the course of a long-term pact.

    Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox don’t seem anxious to up their bid. President of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski preached to Rosenthal a “wait-and-see” approach when it came to Martinez, expressing some confidence that Hanley Ramirez could rebound and ably fill the team’s DH slot in 2018 (though that belief seems more like lip service than anything else when made against the backdrop of a reported $125MM offer to another right-handed bat that would clearly supplant Ramirez as the primary designated hitter).

    “I don’t have a (timetable) on it because I really don’t know,” said Dombrowski to Rosenthal. “Perhaps if I was losing options, juggling three guys, or if we were in the starting-pitching market where there are four (top) guys, I would say, ‘Hey, I need an answer now, or I’m going to turn to this guy.’ But we’re really not in that situation.”

    Beyond the lack of competition for Martinez on the free-agent market, Dombrowski also suggested that the trade market could yet be a viable approach. The veteran exec called it “amazing” to be hearing of so many players available in trade talks at this juncture of the offseason.

    “At this time of year, you normally don’t get phone calls out of the blue about such-and-such being available,” said Dombrowski. “I have. I don’t know what’s going to go on.”

    Outside of Boston and Arizona, there’s been little talk of serious competition for Martinez’s services. The Giants and Blue Jays were both rumored landing spots at one point, but both have made multiple outfield acquisitions since that time. It’s certainly possible that a spring injury creates a new opening for Martinez, and the very presence of a five-year offer in the currently reported range suggests that the Red Sox feel there’s some degree of competition a bit below that level (perhaps from the D-backs, though that’s purely speculative).

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Have Made 1-Year Offer To J.D. Martinez]]> 2018-02-07T21:18:19Z 2018-02-07T19:08:32Z
  • Slugger J.D. Martinez was the focus of a skirmish yesterday in the war of words, with some sparring over the fact that the Red Sox have not upped their longstanding offer — which evidently still stands at a previously reported five-year, $125MM level. Per Nightengale, the only other offer on the table right now is from the Diamondbacks, but it’s just a one-year deal. Clearly, all involved have reason to anticipate that there’d be greater interest than that from other organizations, but it’s a notable point in relation to Martinez’s hopes for generating pressure on the Sox.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 2/5/18]]> 2018-02-06T04:03:39Z 2018-02-06T04:03:50Z Here are Monday’s minor moves throughout the league…

    • Lefty Dan Runzler has joined the Rays on a minors pact, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Soon to turn 33, Runzler made it back to the majors in 2017 after a long layoff. All told, he owns a 3.89 ERA in 76 1/3 total MLB frames. The southpaw spent most of last year at Triple-A in the Pirates organization, where he worked to a 3.05 ERA in 41 1/3 innings with 7.8 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9.
    • The Diamondbacks announced today that outfielder Rey Fuentes has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Reno. He’ll be in Spring Training with the D-backs as a non-roster invitee. Fuentes, 27 next week, was designated for assignment last Wednesday to clear a roster spot for the recently signed Alex Avila. Fuentes logged a career-high 145 plate appearances with Arizona last season and batted .235/.278/.338 with three homers and four stolen bases while spending time at all three outfield spots. He’ll vie for a backup role with the D-backs, who currently project to have David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas as their starters in the outfield.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[D-backs Still Have Financial Flexibility, Could Add Outfielder]]> 2018-02-03T03:57:45Z 2018-02-03T03:57:45Z Thanks in part to the signing of catcher Alex Avila to a two-year, $8.25MM deal this week, the Diamondbacks are on track to run a franchise-record payroll in 2018 (upward of $120MM), as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes. They may not be done adding, either, as general manager Mike Hazen informed Piecoro that the Diamondbacks still have financial flexibility and are seeking another outfielder. “We’re still very much involved in both,” Hazen said of free agency and the trade market. “We have enough balls in the air, we could be a couple of yesses away from something getting done in any direction. We’re not close on anything just yet.” With A.J. Pollock being the only natural center fielder on the D-backs’ 40-man roster, they could pick up someone capable of handling that spot, Piecoro reports.

    More from the NL:

    • The Mets plan to continue with a timeshare at catcher consisting of Travis d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki in 2018, Anthony DiComo of writes. Although there may be an upgrade available in free agency (past Mets target Jonathan Lucroy, to be specific), GM Sandy Alderson is inclined to stick with with his in-house tandem. “At that position, I think it would be difficult for us to find a pair that we like appreciably better,” he said. “I think we’ve been generally happy with our catching play.” The 28-year-old d’Arnaud and Plawecki, 26, represent a pair of former top 100 prospects who haven’t delivered as hoped in the majors (injury woes are partly to blame in the former’s case), but they each posted passable offensive numbers a season ago. D’Arnaud also graded as one of the majors’ top pitch framers in 2017, per Baseball Prospectus (though StatCorner saw things differently).
    • As he continues working back from February 2017 Tommy John surgery, Cardinals right-hander Alex Reyes is in Jupiter Fla., throwing off a mound and facing hitters in live batting practice sessions, Jenifer Langosch of relays. The Cardinals are hopeful Reyes will be able to return to game action by May 1, according to Langosch. The highly touted 23-year-old figures to fill a bullpen role upon coming back, but the Cards continue to regard him as a long-term starter, per Langosch.
    • Former Mets manager Terry Collins is now working as a special assistant to Alderson, and he explained what some of his new role will entail to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post. “I will be another set of eyes, and one of the things is to make sure the instruction at the minor league level is efficient,” revealed Collins, a former minor league manager. “We have to make sure, when they call up a player, he’s ready. I think I still have something to give to the game.” On whether he’d like to manage in the majors again, the 68-year-old Collins said,  “I would, but I don’t think with the new era of stuff that would happen.”
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs To Sign Cody Decker ]]> 2018-02-02T01:53:56Z 2018-02-02T01:53:56Z
  • The Diamondbacks have signed first baseman Cody Decker, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link).  The deal is presumably a minor league contract.  Decker has a .261/.340/.517 slash line over 3537 career plate appearances in the minors, with his first seven seasons spent in the Padres’ organization (including his only MLB exposure, an eight-game stint in 2015).  He played for the Mets in 2017, almost exactly splitting time between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, and also played for Team Israel during the World Baseball Classic.  While primarily a first baseman, Decker also has experience at third base, catcher, and both corner outfield spots.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Hire Jonny Gomes As Rookie League Hitting Coach]]> 2018-02-02T00:52:10Z 2018-02-02T00:52:10Z The Diamondbacks announced a number of hirings, title changes, and promotions throughout their organization today, including the news that Jonny Gomes will be the new hitting coach for the team’s rookie ball affiliate in the Arizona League.  The move would seem to indicate that the 37-year-old Gomes has decided to call it a career after 13 seasons in the big leagues.

    Gomes played for seven MLB teams from 2003-15, with his first six seasons spent in Tampa Bay.  His first extended taste of Major League action resulted in a third-place finish in AL Rookie Of The Year voting in 2005, after he hit .282/.372/.534 with 21 homers over 407 plate appearances.  While Gomes was rarely an everyday player during his career, he found plenty of regular playing time as a noted masher of left-handed pitching, posting a lifetime slash line of .273/.376/.479 against southpaws.

    Beyond just his performance on the field, Gomes was well-known for his fiery personality and reputation as a clubhouse leader.  During his final four seasons, he was sought out as a mentor for young A’s and Royals teams making postseason runs, and Gomes was one of the originators of the beard craze that defined the World Series-winning 2013 Red Sox.

    Several notable names were included in the Diamondbacks’ list of baseball operations moves, including the promotion of Burke Badenhop to special assistant to the general manager.  Badenhop, an eight-year MLB veteran, worked as an analyst in the D’Backs front office in 2017.  The recently-retired Daniel Bard is also joining the organization in the newly-created Player Mentor role.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shelby Miller Wins Arbitration Hearing Against Diamondbacks]]> 2018-02-01T20:46:52Z 2018-02-01T19:32:49Z Right-hander Shelby Miller has won his arbitration hearing against the D-backs, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). The Roc Nation Sports client will earn $4.9MM in 2018 as opposed to the $4.7MM figure that was submitted by the team. His $4.9MM payday lines up with his projected arbitration salary from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

    Miller, of course, underwent Tommy John surgery early in the season, thus making it somewhat of a surprise to see him earn a modest raise. However, he did make four starts and post a 4.09 ERA with 20 strikeouts against 12 walks in 22 innings, and the arbitration panel apparently deemed that small sample of work worthy of a modest boost in pay. Arizona’s $4.7MM submission was merely a repeat of the salary that Miller earned in 2017, so their proposal was simply to not offer a raise at all and renew him at his previous rate of pay.

    The season-ending surgery for Miller served to create a second consecutive disappointing season in Arizona after the D-backs infamously gave up Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson in order to acquire Miller two offseasons ago. However, it’s worth noting that Miller’s velocity, swinging-strike rate and overall strike percentage had demonstrated legitimate improvement through his first four starts after a nightmarish 2016 season in which he logged a 6.15 ERA in 101 innings.

    Those 2016 struggles prompted the D-backs to, somewhat stunningly, option Miller to Triple-A Reno. (The move itself wasn’t necessarily stunning in light of his significant struggles, but it’d have been borderline unbelievable prior to Opening Day 2016.) That minor league demotion cost Miller enough service time to buy the Diamondbacks another year of control over Miller, who can still be controlled for another two seasons via arbitration. If he returns healthy in 2018, his raise for the 2019 season will now have a marginally higher base point.

    The $200K discrepancy between the figures submitted by the two sides may seem like an exceptionally small gap to bridge in such a dramatic fashion. But, Miller’s modest raise will now serve as a data point in all future arbitration scenarios (for both the D-backs and the 29 other clubs), and teams often feel obligated to take a hard line against making too many concessions and progressing the market for future waves of arbitration negotiations. That’s a subject which MLBTR explored at length a few years back, for those interested in reading more about the team’s viewpoints on arbitration matters.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hazen On Timing Of Avila Signing]]> 2018-02-01T19:16:45Z 2018-02-01T19:16:45Z
  • The Diamondbacks’ signing of Alex Avila over Chris Iannetta (at a near-identical price) came down to simple timing, GM Mike Hazen tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The D-backs, according to Piecoro, made a two-year, $4MM offer to Iannetta before he signed for slightly more than twice that with the Rockies, but that came back in early December. Arizona wasn’t ready to make an $8MM+ commitment at that time, preferring first to explore the trade market for a longer-term solution. When that didn’t materialize, the club circled back to the still-available Avila. Hazen, according to Piecoro, added that the D-backs are likely to carry three catchers on their roster early in the season. Jeff Mathis, John Ryan Murphy and Chris Herrmann are all on the 40-man roster, though Murphy and Herrmann are out of minor league options. The D-backs could still add an outfielder as well, per Hazen.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Designate Rey Fuentes For Assignment]]> 2018-01-31T23:29:11Z 2018-01-31T23:29:11Z The D-backs announced that outfielder Rey Fuentes has been designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for catcher Alex Avila, whose previously reported two-year contract with Arizona is now official.

    Fuentes, 27 next month, logged a career-high 145 plate appearances with Arizona last season and batted .235/.278/.338 with three homers and four stolen bases while spending time at all three outfield spots. The former first-rounder has, at times, been considered among the best prospects in both the Red Sox and Padres organizations and was one of four players sent from Boston to San Diego in the 2010 Adrian Gonzalez blockbuster.

    Through 225 plate appearances in the Majors, Fuentes has just a .595 OPS, but hit at a .300/.361/.397 clip in 1154 plate appearances in parts of five seasons at the Triple-A level.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Alex Avila]]> 2018-01-31T23:30:08Z 2018-01-31T23:25:48Z 5:25pm: The D-backs have now announced the signing.

    3:45pm: Rosenthal tweets that Avila has already passed his physical, making the deal official. The D-backs have yet to announce the signing, though, which will require a corresponding 40-man roster move.

    Jan. 31, 1:19pm: Avila will receive a two-year contract worth $8.25MM, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter).  Another $250K per season will be available to Avila in incentives, according to Heyman.

    Jan. 30, 6:44pm: The two sides have a deal, pending a physical, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets.

    6:36pm: The Diamondbacks are nearing an agreement with free agent catcher Alex Avila, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports on Twitter. Terms are unknown, but MLBTR predicted a two-year, $16MM contract for Avila at the outset of free agency.

    The 31-year-old Avila will add an offensively capable backstop to an Arizona club whose catchers batted a paltry .219/.306/.404 last season. That was with a very good performance from Chris Iannetta, who joined the NL West rival Rockies in free agency, leaving the Diamondbacks with Jeff Mathis and Chris Herrmann as their top options. Mathis, the team’s likely starter prior to the Avila agreement, is known for his defensive prowess. However, his bat has never come close to keeping up with his work behind the plate.

    [RELATED: Updated D-backs Depth Chart]

    Unlike Mathis, defense is not Avila’s calling card – in fact, he was among the game’s worst pitch framers in 2017, according to both Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner. But the lefty-swinger did his best to make up for it at the plate, where he slashed an outstanding .264/.387/.447 with 14 home runs and a .183 ISO in 376 plate appearances divided between the Tigers and Cubs. Avila’s numbers dropped off after the Cubs acquired him prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline (.274/.394/.475 versus .239/.369/.380), though he still offered the North Siders above-average offensive production relative to his position.

    Alex Avila

    While Avila managed a hard-to-sustain .382 batting average on balls in play last season and struck out in 31.9 percent of PAs, he helped his cause significantly with scorching contact. Among those with at least 300 PAs, Avila ranked second in the majors in hard-hit rate (48.7 percent, compared to a career mark of 36.6). And out of 387 hitters who put at least 100 balls in play, he finished tied for 18th in average exit velocity (90.4 mph) and tied for 21st in barrels per PA (7.4). Consequently, he posted a tremendous xwOBA (.395) that easily outpaced his still-high wOBA (.368).

    Last year’s offensive outburst was Avila’s most impressive showing since 2011, when the then-Tiger earned his lone All-Star nod, but success with the bat isn’t anything new for the lifetime .243/.351/.401 hitter. He comes with notable platoon splits, though, having held his own against right-handed pitching (.250/.362/.426) while failing to present a threat versus southpaws (.212/.306/.305) since debuting in 2009. He also brings durability concerns, having gone on the disabled list several times in his career, including twice during a 57-game season with the White Sox in 2016.

    After his lone campaign with the ChiSox, Avila returned to the Tigers last winter for a $2MM guarantee. Avila’s sure to do better this time around, but it’ll be interesting to see how much the Diamondbacks will guarantee him. With an estimated $122MM-plus in commitments at the moment, the D-backs are known to have limited payroll flexibility, which is seemingly standing in the way of a reunion with free agent slugger J.D. Martinez – Avila’s former teammate in Detroit – and may lead to cost-cutting trades (they could deal $7.5MM left-hander Patrick Corbin, for instance). The club has only opened a season beyond the $100MM mark twice, including when it spent a franchise-record $112MM-plus in 2014.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Kevin Towers Passes Away]]> 2018-01-30T18:45:22Z 2018-01-30T16:06:40Z In a sudden piece of heartbreaking news, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that former Padres and Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has passed away at the age of 56. Towers had been diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer back in December 2016.

    Kevin Towers | Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Prior to his days as one of the game’s most prominent and recognizable executives, Towers broke into professional baseball as a player when he was selected by the Padres in the first round of the 1982 draft. A right-hander who starred at Brigham Young University, Towers would pitch in parts of eight minor league seasons that were slowed by injury before ultimately transitioning to the operations side of the game.

    Well-respected for his scouting acumen, Towers parlayed his keen eye for player talent into a position as the Padres’ scouting director before ascending to their GM chair in 1996 — a position he’d occupy all the way through the 2009 season. That remarkable run is one of lengthier stints that any GM has enjoyed atop his organization in recent history.

    San Diego won its division in two of Towers’ first three seasons at the helm and advanced to the World Series in 1998 under his watch. The Friars would go on to win the West on two more occasions under Towers’ guidance, taking home consecutive division crowns in the 2005-06 seasons. Never afraid to make a bold trade, Towers was affectionately referred to as the “gunslinger” for much of his career as a general manager.

    Upon being dismissed after that 2009 season, Towers spent a year as a special assignment scout with the Yankees before being tabbed as the new general manager of the Diamondbacks. From 2010-14, Towers would hold that role, and it was during his tenure that the D-backs signed face of the franchise Paul Goldschmidt to one of the game’s best contracts.

    Following his dismissal and replacement by the Dave Stewart/Tony La Russa regime, Towers joined the Reds as a special assistant to GM Dick Williams, specializing in player personnel — a role that he continued to hold even into his battle with cancer.

    The immediate outpouring from the media, former players and others in the industry serves as a testament to Towers’ reputation as a venerable ambassador to the game of baseball, as well as to the love and respect that he fostered in more than three decades as a member of the MLB family. Yahoo’s Tim Brown has penned an especially poignant tribute to Towers, encapsulating the magnetic vigor that drew so many to him.

    Our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and the countless men and women both in the industry and the media whose lives he impacted over the course of a 35-year career in professional baseball.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Neftali Feliz To Minor-League Deal]]> 2018-01-30T02:37:18Z 2018-01-30T02:37:10Z January 29th, 8:37pm: The Diamondbacks have announced the signing.

    January 28th, 5:44pm: The Diamondbacks have agreed to contract terms with right-hander Neftali Feliz, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports tweets. A source close to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation confirms the news, and Cotillo also adds that it’s a minor-league pact that includes an invitation to spring training.

    Feliz’ future looked incredibly bright from the outset. Upon first reaching the majors in 2009, Feliz pitched out of the bullpen in 20 games for the Rangers to the tune of a remarkable 1.74 ERA. He followed up his opening act with an excellent 2010 campaign during which he saved 40 games for Texas while posting a spectacular 3.68 WPA en route to winning the Rookie of the Year award.

    It wasn’t until 2012 that things took a turn for the worse. The Rangers opted to move Feliz to the rotation at the beginning of the year, and while his first seven starts looked good on the surface (3.14 ERA and a 3-1 record), his peripherals painted a dramatically different picture headlined by an ugly 4.85 BB/9. Feliz would ultimately undergo Tommy John surgery in 2013, missing the entire season. Upon his return in 2014, the righty posted a 1.99 ERA across 31 2/3 innings, but with an uninspiring 17.2% strikeout rate.

    Feliz’ career seemed at its valley following the 2015 season. He was hit hard with the Rangers in 19 2/3 innings across April and May, prompting the club to cut him. His results down the stretch with the Tigers were even more disastrous. But when the Pirates took a chance on him the following season, he didn’t disappoint; Feliz made 62 appearances for the Bucs in 2016 while pitching to a 3.52 ERA and 3.72 xFIP. His velocity rebounded, his strikeout numbers were his career best for a full season, and he appeared to be positioning himself for a nice contract before being shut down on September 3rd due to an arm injury.

    That injury wasn’t enough to deter the Brewers, however, who signed him to a one-year, $5.35MM deal to be their 2017 closer. Feliz wasn’t quite able to deliver on that investment, however, and on June 19th the club bet instead on the young Corey Knebel by releasing Feliz. He latched on with the Royals, and pitched 19 innings of 4.74-ERA baseball for them across the remainder of the campaign.

    Feliz joins Antonio Bastardo, Kris Medlen, Fernando Salas, Yoshihisa Hirano and Jake Buchanan as bullpen candidates to sign minor-league deals with Arizona within the past 40 days. That means he’ll face a crowded competition for a few available reliever jobs behind Archie Bradley, Brad Boxberger, Andrew Chafin, T.J. McFarland and Randall Delgado.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[East Notes: Realmuto, Albers, Britton]]> 2018-01-29T21:53:10Z 2018-01-29T21:53:10Z Unwilling to part with either Victor Robles or Juan Soto in J.T. Realmuto talks with the Marlins, the Nationals are instead open to centering a package for the star catcher around prospects Carter Kieboom and Erick Fedde, reports’s Joe Frisaro. The pair rank third and fourth among Nationals farmhands per both Baseball America and, though neither Kieboom nor Fedde are considered among baseball’s 100 best prospects per those same publications. Emphasis on acquiring such players can at times be overstated, but many would be surprised if the Marlins didn’t pull at least one premium talent back for Realmuto. Meanwhile, Frisaro lists the Diamondbacks as another “potential suitor,” though he doesn’t specify the extent (if any) of the talks between the two sides, and the D-backs have a rather thin farm system overall.

    More chatter from the East Coast…

    • While some in the Nationals front office saw signs of sustainability within Matt Albers’ performance for the club last season, others weren’t convinced of his likelihood to repeat that performance for the entirety of a two-year contract (Twitter link from Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post). Since Albers sought (and ultimately found) a two-year agreement, Washington decided to hedge its bets elsewhere. The 35-year-old right-hander enjoyed an excellent 2017 season, pitching to a 1.62 ERA with 9.30 K/9 against 2.51 BB/9, but the risk in signing him to a multi-year deal probably lies in a .203 BABIP that seems likely to regress somewhat. On the other hand, he was one of the best relievers in baseball at inducing soft contact and preventing hard contact, so that’s at least a point in favor of low BABIP sustainability.
    • Orioles reliever Zach Britton said that he’s “feeling really good” during a conference call at the O’s Fanfest (via Paul Folkemer of The lefty recently had his second of three follow-ups with his doctor after rupturing his Achilles tendon during a December workout. “He was really happy with where I’m at,” Britton said. “Maybe a little ahead of schedule. Not skipping any steps, but just picking up the pace on things that I’m doing now. More walking, getting comfortable in a tennis shoe again, and things like that.” The soon-to-be free agent will reportedly be at spring training with the Orioles in Sarasota, Florida, though he won’t be at “full go.” An early return for their closer would be a huge boost to Baltimore whether they’re contenders or not. He’d dramatically improve the club’s chances to make the playoffs if he can replicate anything close to his 2015-2016 form down the stretch, but if the O’s are out of it before the trade deadline he could very well net a solid prospect return.