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2017 Arizona Diamondbacks review: #45, Yasmany Tomas

We begin our count-up of the 2017 D-backs with the massive disappointment which was Yasmany Tomas.

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images
  • Date of birth: November 14, 1990
  • 2017 line: 47 games, 180 PA, .241/.294/.464 = .758 OPS
  • 2017 value: -0.5 bWAR
  • 2017 salary: $9.5 million
  • SnakePit rating: 2.73

2017 analysis

After a strong second-half in 2016, there were hopes this would be the year the Cuban prospect would finally break through. Instead, it was another dismal season, and Tomas still has yet to reach replacement level in any of his three major-league campaigns to date. He is now the worst position player of all time for the Diamondbacks by bWAR, and is tied at -2.2 bWAR with Russ Ortiz for our worst player ever. He did hit eight home-runs in 47 games this year, but an on-base percentage of below .300 limited his offensive production. Then there was his defense, which could charitably be described as very bad, with occasional detours into abysmal.

It was thus perhaps almost something of a relief when his season ended on June 2, with a groin issue. It wasn’t originally seen as serious, being initially described as tendinitis. But four weeks later, it was upgraded to a groin strain, and two subsequent rehab assignments were curtailed as he suffered setbacks. In the end, he went under the knife in late August for an operation to correct a sports hernia, a procedure which ended his season, though he did make some late-season rehab appearances. While the player was out, we got headlines such as “Are the Diamondbacks better without Yasmany Tomas?” Hard to argue his absence had much impact on the team.

2018 prospects

While the groin should be fully healed in time for spring training, you have to wonder whether the team will ever get any value for Tomas’s six-year, $68.5 million contract, which runs through the end of 2020 [There is an opt-out clause after next year - as if we should be so lucky...] His career oWAR is +1.6, which gives you some idea of how bad his defense has been. It also suggests that a trade to an American League club, which could use his bat as a designated hitter without the detriment of his fielding, might be for the best. But Yasmany would certainly need to prove his health first, and the $46 million he’s due over the next three years is also highly problematic.

At this point, it seems almost inevitable that the Diamondbacks are going to be stuck with him in 2018. Tomas will once again be the team’s most expensive position player, trailing only Zack Greinke for cost on the entire roster. Presuming we don’t re-sign J.D. Martinez, it’s most likely Tomas will be the starting left-fielder, with David Peralta moving back to right-field. The best-case scenario is that his 2017 campaign was impacted significantly by Yasmany trying to play through his groin issue, and a fully healthy player can return to the form he showed after the break last year. But after three thoroughly underwhelming seasons, I’m inclined to believe it when I see it.