The Diamondbacks have elected to do something about their middle infield mix, although in a way you wouldn’t expect. The team has signed utility infielder Daniel Descalso to a one-year contract for $1.35M. To make room for Descalso, the Diamondbacks designated infielder Phil Gosselin for assignment.
Descalso isn’t much of an upgrade over Phil Gosselin for the utility infielder spot, but makes more sense because he bats left-handed and is a better defender overall. With the right-handed hitting Drury and Ahmed as the likely middle-infield starters, Descalso being a lefty allows for the team to give those two a breather a couple games a week. Descalso had connections with Tony LaRussa in STL as part of the 2011 championship squad, so I was puzzled that he didn’t arrive in AZ until after the latter got fired. Descalso is going to play mostly 2B and SS, although he did OK in 42 innings in left field with the Rockies.
Descalso doesn’t bring much with the stick, putting up a 88 wRC+ in 289 PA for the Rockies in 2016, and a career mark of 78 in 1878 trips to the plate. His ability to play multiple positions and his bat complementing Drury and Ahmed makes him a solid bench player on a National League club. Descalso is a very tough out, with a walk rate above 10% the last three seasons. With a cheap contract and a solid player on the bench, even if the team isn’t good in 2017, he can be flipped for a lottery ticket at the deadline worst case scenario. With camp opening in less than a week, I still don’t think the team is done making moves.