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First thoughts on the signing of Yasmany Tomás

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"Well, that was unexpected."

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There go my plans for a quiet day before Thanksgiving. Having pre-scheduled a couple of low-impact posts for Thursday and Friday, I was looking forward to nothing more stimulating over the next couple of days, than deciding whether the third helping should be of turkey or ham. It can't be called a complete surprise - not having written 1,000 words earlier today on the reports, first noted by Ken Rosenthal, that the Diamondbacks were in the running for the outfielder's services.But I'd pretty much concluded a) we couldn't afford him, b) he plays a position where we didn't really need help, and c) nothing was about to happen immediately anyway. Good job I'm not a professional at this.

Much cheaper than expected

As noted this morning, MLBTR's expectation was a seven-year contract at $15 million per, certainly blowing past the mark for a Cuban player set earlier this off-season, when Rusney Castillo signed a contract worth a total of $72.5 million. Turned out not to be the case, and this is more or less identical to the $68m deal signed for Jose Abreu. If his performance is anything close to that - Abreu being worth 5.5 bWAR in his debut season, albeit also being several years older than Tomás - this should be money well spent. That's true even if, as many expect, Yasmany starts off 2015 in the minors, just as P**g did in 2013.

One wonders to what expect the opt-out clause played into the player's decision. It's possible he could have got more (per year or in total) elsewhere, but the chance to test free agency after four seasons, when he will still be only 28, tipped the balance in Arizona's favor. From our end, one would presume the final two years are going to be the most expensive, so even if he's utterly brilliant, this should net us four years of Tomás at a decent price. No word on the break down yet, but maybe something like $9m, $10m, $11m, $12m, $13m, $13.5m? Just a guess. Still, it would seem to add significantly to the payroll, currently back to not far short of last year's.

The outfield apparently becomes a crowded house

It's just not sustainable to add Tomás to a roster which already had five outfielders who appeared in 80+ games last season - and that was despite significant time lost through injury to most of them. The most-expensive incumbents, Cody Ross and Mark Trumbo are both right-handed, so there's no platoon possibilities with them and Tomás, and there is no conceivable way either of them can play center-field, so one can only conclude this is the first step in the new front office dismantling the Towers of Babel, with Trumbo - like our newest Diamondbacks, a slugger with swing and miss tendencies and questionable defense - the most likely recipient of a ticket elsewhere.

Another possibility is the one mentioned in this morning's piece, of Tomás moving to third-base. If so, that would definitively block Jake Lamb there, though he has been seeing reps at second base. The team's top need remains starting pitching, and I can see Trumbo and Didi Gregorius now effectively being freed up towards that end over the remainder of the winter. If we can shift Hill, then Lamb goes to second, Tomás takes over at third, and the outfield becomes a defensively credible four-man rotation of Ross, A.J. Pollock, Ender Inciarte and David Peralta, with the power coming from the corners of the infield.

That was quick

It went from near-zero to "pushing" to "done deal" in less than 24 hours. This stealth approach may be an approach favored by GM Dave Stewart, and comes as a contrast to the more... let's say, "high profile" approach preferred by Kevin Towers. Compare and contrast the sideshow surrounding the trade of Justin Upton, for example. Much though we at the SnakePit appreciate the traffic, and steady stream of rumors to write about - never a dull moment with Towers at the helm! - the ninja/stealth approach we saw here, leaving the likes of the Padres waving their... checkbooks in the air, might be a better way to get things done.

Random thoughts
  • Needs a nickname. Shame he's not playing center, or we could call him the Cuban Sandwich. His arm's pretty good, so if he ends up playing in right field, I presume we will have replaced the Parra-zooka with the Cuban Missile. We've got a few months to work on this before spring training...
  • Rookie of the Year 2015? See Abreu, though he was on the White Sox roster from Opening Day, being a more fully-formed talent. Whether Tomás manages that, will probably depend on how the rest of the roster moves shake down.
  • Mrs. SnakePit approves. She still has her #61 Livan Hernandez shirt, so her Cuban ancestry means it may be time for a new one. Tomás will become the seventh Cuban-born player to appear for the Diamondbacks, but only the second position player: the first was Juan Miranda in 2011. This is probably the first time I have thought of Miranda since then.

More to follow, as details emerge, and once we get comments from the team, which may shed light on some of the above.