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Mike’s Hardball Talk: My plan for the Diamondbacks offseason

This won’t be what the Diamondbacks ultimately do, but I figure I might as well add my 2¢ on the subject for everyone to critique.

The Diamondbacks are coming off a 69-win season. However, I do think this team’s true talent is closer to the 79 wins they posted in the 2015 season so I’m guessing 2017 will close to 75 wins with better injury luck and a regression towards career averages. My overall plan isn’t too different from James’ other than actual names involved in the deal. Areas of weakness to address are the outfield, shortstop, and the bullpen. I excluded the rotation because upgrades are not so easily available.

Arbitration Eligible Players: Tender all arbitration players except RHP Rubby De La Rosa. I’m very skeptical of him being able to stave off Tommy John surgery, but if he doesn’t need to go under the knife this winter then I’m willing to try to re-negotiate a contract with less guaranteed money but have incentives that lets him earn the money back. Even though Randall Delgado and Tuffy Gosewisch aren’t long term solutions and are mediocre at best, they provide very cheap depth.

Add to the 40-man roster: I would add LHP Anthony Banda, RHP Jimmie Sherfy, and INF Jack Reinheimer to the 40-man roster. With RDLR getting non-tendered, that leaves only two 40-man moves for the season. The two lucky ducks are RHP Dominic Leone (DFA, then outright to AAA) and RHP Evan Marshall (same).

Shop Segura, Tomás, and Greinke: The team needs to look at creating more payroll flexibility with payroll expected to shoot up over the next few years. It’s a safe bet that Ken Kendrick won’t be willing to increase payroll unless the team starts winning more consistently. Segura is going to be a tough sell unless you’re expecting him to regress towards his career averages. James floated the idea of sending Segura to Chicago for catcher Zack Collins, who went 10th overall in the 2016 draft. However, I don’t see the White Sox as a match since they’re in a similar boat to the Diamondbacks.

Tomás is more of an addition by subtraction as his defense makes him a poor fit for the ballpark. Chase Field has a very spacious outfield, which means placing a higher emphasis on defense when evaluating corner outfielders. Players such as Ender Inciarte and Gerardo Parra 2011-13 would be an ideal fit, even if they might hit less career HR than Tomás will likely hit in the 2016-18 seasons combined. Tomas has a floor of 30 HR power in most ballparks, so he will be valuable to an American League team looking for oomph in their lineup and cheaper than what they’d have to pay for in free agency. Baltimore could be one of those teams, as Tomás is undeniably an upgrade over Pedro Alvarez as a DH. In the American League, Tomás poor OF defense can be mitigated and playing in Baltimore his HR rate should increase. The return on the trade would be either RHP Parker Bridwell, a relief prospect, or Wade Miley although Miley might be non-tendered anyway.

Diamondbacks should shop Greinke, but the trade is unlikely as any potential move should require teams to eat up a significant portion of the contract and give up top prospects for a high-end #2 at worst and a #1 starter at best.

Fix the Bullpen: The two biggest issues in the bullpen come down to situational and bridging the gap between the starter and the closer. Of course the team doesn’t have a closer either. One area where the team can make some good moves without paying a premium is situational lefty relief. The market has four capable guys in Jerry Blevins, J.P. Howell, Boone Logan, and Brett Cecil and ryeandi pointed out in her plan. Cecil and Logan would be my preferred options, due to Cecil’s high K/BB rate and Logan having success pitching for the Rockies in 2016.

If the Diamondbacks are looking for a closer, I think we can rule out the top 3 in the market. The team may have to settle between Drew Storen, Joaquin Benoit, Daniel Hudson, and Neftali Feliz. The Diamondbacks can afford to sign two of those guys if they can move Tomás. In addition they should try to bring back Hudson due to his experience pitching at Chase for the Diamondbacks. If I had to name names, I sign two of Storen, Hudson, and Feliz. Hudson and Feliz should cost about $6M per year over 2 years.

In terms of long relief, the team has plenty of reliable options. Tyler Wagner, Matt Koch, and Braden Shipley are options for 2017. The new look bullpen is Cecil, Feliz, Hudson, Delgado, Burgos, Chafin, and Barrett. That could change depending on how well Jarred Miller pitches in camp. He’s coming off his best season and is dominating in the Fall League.