Over the course of the next week, we’ll be looking at the seven players that appeared for the Diamondbacks this season, who will officially become free agents shortly after the end of this World Series. [Sorry, Emilio Bonifacio: you have already been voted off this particular series] We’ll be going in reverse order of playing time - plate appearances or batters faced, for hitters and pitchers respectively - and looking at whether the team should be looking to re-sign them. We start with Adam Rosales, who was brought on board during MiddleInfieldApocalypse 2017.
Technically, it seems Rosales was dealt by the Oakland Athletics to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later at the trade deadline this year. But since the player in question was named later that day as minor-league pitcher Jeferson Mejia, it wasn’t exactly a matter of great import. The trade was largely needed as a result of the D-backs losing Chris Owings to a fracture finger, shortly before Ketel Marte had to go on the bereavement list. Rosales stuck around, appearing in 34 regular-season games, and even starting Game 1 of the NLDS in Los Angeles, going 0-for-2 with a walk.
He hit .202/227/.369 in the regular season for a .596 OPS, more or less in line with his overall 2017 OPS of .613. He had signed as a free agent with Oakland in January, to a one-year contract worth $1.25 million. That was mostly on the back of a career-high 13 home-runs for Rosales as a San Diego Padre in 2016, but his power regressed to more normal levels this year. Overall, he was below replacement level for both Oakland and Arizona, tallying a total of -0.7 bWAR or -0.5 fWAR. Rosales’s main asset was his versatility. He started games at all four infield spots during his two months with the D-backs, and has played every position bar catcher and CF in his career.
Is he needed in 2018?
What, you want more in-depth analysis? Oh, if you insist... The Diamondbacks were, in general, not unlucky with injuries this year: their 1,224 days lost to the disabled list was close to the MLB team average of 1,171. However, that didn’t apply to the middle infield, where Opening Day players Owings and Nick Ahmed missed the final two and three months of the season respectively. They should, all being well, be back to 100% health for the start of next season. Along with the rise of Ketel Marte, it seems more likely that the team will enter spring training in their usual position: with a surfeit of infielders resulting in a battle for Opening Day spots.
However, as we saw this season, infield depth is still something that’s important to have. In 2017, the Diamondbacks used six different second-basemen and seven shortstops and third-basemen. But next year, internal options like Jack Reinheimer and Ildemaro Vargas, both of whom got emergency cups of coffee this season, will be a year older and more viable as backups. Short of a similar selection of unfortunate circumstances once again draining all credible starting options, Rosales would not have a place on the D-backs’ roster.
MLB Trade Rumors classify Rosales as a shortstop, and this is just where he played most for the Diamondbacks (one inning more than at third-base). If this team is looking to the free-agent market in general, here are the other potential free-agent candidates this winter at that position, along with their 2018 ages:
- Alexi Amarista (29) — $2.5MM club option with a $150K buyout
- Erick Aybar (34)
- Asdrubal Cabrera (32) — $8.5MM club option with a $2MM buyout
- Zack Cozart (32)
- Dusty Coleman (31)
- Chase d’Arnaud (31)
- Stephen Drew (35)
- Alcides Escobar (31)
- J.J. Hardy (35) — $14MM club option with a $2MM buyout
- Eduardo Nunez (31)
- Jose Reyes (35)
- Eric Sogard (32)
- Ruben Tejada (28)