The Arizona Diamondbacks made 1 roster move and have 32 players left in camp.
OF Grégor Blanco
Not very long ago, it seemed like Blanco was destined to break camp and be part of the Diamondbacks 25-man roster. Yasmany Tomas was injured, A.J. Pollock was also hurting, and Blanco’s veteran experience and defensive flexibility seemed to make a good replacement. But in the past week, Tomas and Pollock have both returned to everyday Cactus League action. Blanco, meanwhile, has been struggling with an injury of his own, and hasn’t appeared in a game since March 21.
Even though there was still a fourth outfielder spot open, due to the injury to Socrates Brito, the team had a difficult decision to make. As Steve Gilbert explained this morning, Blanco was an unusual type of free-agent:
Blanco is an Article XX(B) free agent, which means the D-backs have to tell him by Tuesday whether he's made the Opening Day roster, or he can become a free agent. The other option is the D-backs pay Blanco a retention bonus of $100,000 to keep him and send him to the Minors. Blanco could decline the bonus and become a free agent if he chose.
It appears the team decided that Blanco’s injury would be problematic. This moves also saves the team money. Blanco was guaranteed at least $1 million if he made the major-league roster, and in addition, up to a whopping $2.7 million in incentive clauses, based on games played and plate-appearances. The move instead appears to cement Jeremy Hazelbaker for the fourth outfielder role, as the only “true” outfielder left. Unlike Blanco, he’s on the 40-man roster, which helps, but his numbers this spring have been underwhelming to say the least, Hazelbaker hitting an underwhelming .200/.245/.220 so far.
It’s still possible the team may go in another direction, opting to use Chris Herrman, Chris Owings, etc. as backup infielders who can spell David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Yasmany Tomas. We’ll know more in the days ahead.
The Diamondbacks are still interested in retaining Blanco on a minor league deal once the oblique strain heals up. Tomas’ injury kept him out of action for 18 days, a similar timetable puts Blanco in a position where he’s ready to go on April 8th.
Dbacks are interested in re-signing Gregor Blanco.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) March 28, 2017
Blanco probably would have broken camp on the 40-man roster had he stayed healthy this Spring, but the team opted to go with a healthier option with Tomas looking very healthy yesterday in 3 trips to the plate. Bringing him back may be a problem if there is another team willing to give him an MLB role.