With the non-tender deadline past, the Diamondbacks non-tendered two pitchers off their 40-man roster. The team now has 36 players on their 40-man roster and there are plenty of moves to be made over the next month. The team needs to continue to fortify the bullpen, as there is a lot of unproven talent behind two guys who I expect to anchor the unit in Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger.
Added to 40-Man Roster: LHP Jared Miller
Non-Tendered: LHP T.J. McFarland, RHP J.J. Hoover
Acquisitions: RHP Brad Boxberger
Pitchers (17): Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Taijuan Walker, Patrick Corbin, Archie Bradley, Brad Boxberger, Andrew Chafin, Jimmie Sherfy, Jared Miller, Braden Shipley, Anthony Banda, Jake Barrett, Silvino Bracho, Randall Delgado, Shelby Miller, Matt Koch
The Diamondbacks have a solid starting five in their rotation and a couple depth pieces behind them at the top of the minor league system. The rotation, if healthy, is solid 1 through 5 as the five incumbent starters made 25 or more starts in 2017. Breakout performances from Ray and Godley gives the Diamondbacks excellent depth at the top half of the rotation plus a potential breakout year from Taijuan Walker could give the Diamondbacks a really good rotation. Boxberger was an addition to a bullpen that lacks depth across the board although the recent additions of Jimmie Sherfy and Jared Miller adds some power arms to the bullpen in the middle innings with both perhaps ending up in the late innings. Keep an eye out for both Shipley and Banda as long men while they wait for a rotation spot to open up. Shipley is more likely to wind up in the bullpen long term in the Randall Delgado role of a long man/middle innings/spot starter role.
Catchers (3): Jeff Mathis, Chris Herrmann, Jon Ryan Murphy
This group together isn’t very impressive overall. Mathis and Murphy are very redundant overall, the latter being out of minor league options makes the roster calculus very tricky. Bringing back Chris Iannetta would really help this group out to add an offensive threat to the position. Herrmann’s left-handed bat plus positional versatility makes him a 25th player on the roster even if he isn’t necessarily good at anything. Mathis will catch Greinke in 2018 and about 20 more starts overall and Herrmann could see time behind the plate when Ray and Corbin start given his rapport with the two pitchers.
Infielders (10): Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Drury, Ketel Marte, Jake Lamb, Nick Ahmed, Chris Owings, Daniel Descalso, Ildemaro Vargas, Christian Walker, Domingo Leyba, Jack Reinheimer
No changes to this group overall as the only free agent of the group was Daniel Descalso, whose club option was picked up. The intriguing part is seeing how the middle infield logjam plays itself out. I do think the Diamondbacks should play Drury at 2B over Owings due to upside potential with Drury’s bat in a down year being the same as Owings and better than Ahmed. Lamb provides the Diamondbacks with their best left-handed bat with some power and enough walks to provide above average offensive value. The starting infield isn’t too impressive defensively, which is why keeping a guy like Ahmed around is important. After Owings and Descalso, there isn’t a lot of upside available with Vargas, Walker, Leyba, and Reinheimer being utility guys. Walker could be interesting a lefty killer off the bench, which was something the team lacked in 2017 despite the fact he’s going to have a hard time finding starts with Goldy around.
Outfielders (6): Yasmany Tomas, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Rey Fuentes, Socrates Brito
This group is the one area I’m very concerned about. Pollock and Peralta are safe bets to be above average starters at their positions, but the team backs them up with 4 sub-replacement level players. One of them will be starting in left field and it’s already proven that Tomas is not playable for the Diamondbacks with poor defense and an average bat. Hazelbaker and Brito aren’t terrible options as a 4th/5th outfielder that can be a late inning replacement defensively at a corner in addition to a speed threat off the bench. The team should look to add a RH bat to platoon with Peralta at one corner in addition to finding a 3rd starting outfielder who is an upgrade over what the team has now.
The Diamondbacks will do more to shape the 2018 roster in the 3rd week of December during the Winter Meetings. As things look right now, Archie Bradley is tentatively penciled in as the closer with Boxberger in the 7th or 8th inning. The team could add a 3rd veteran reliever, something they lacked last season, to give them a formidable 7-8-9 combination. In addition they should add some veteran competition to the roster to make young players like Jimmie Sherfy and Jared Miller compete for a job in the bullpen. The outfield needs a major addition in adding a 3rd everyday player considering the current options. Whether that’s an addition through a trade or free agency or the the team moving one of their middle infielders (i.e. Chris Owings plays RF full time) there. We’re only at the beginning of the off-season, so there should be more to come.