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Diamondbacks to make decisions on their Article XX(B) free agents

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LHP Jorge de la Rosa is the only free agent under that qualification whose roster fate is still undecided.

With today being the deadline for paying retention bonuses for Article XX(B) free agents, we’ll see some action in that front. An Article XX(B) is a minor league free agent signing for players with 6 years of MLB service time whose contract expired in the offseason and signed at least 10 days prior to Opening Day. Teams have a specific deadline, which is usually the Tuesday before Opening Day to either add, release, or pay a $100k retention bonus for any of their Article XX(B) free agents.

The Diamondbacks signed three players who were Article XX(B) free agents:

OF Gregor Blanco

LHP Jorge de la Rosa

RHP Kevin Jepsen

The team had already released Kevin Jepsen after a bad Spring and an injury ruined Blanco’s chances of making the roster. The team is still interested in re-signing Blanco once he’s recovered from an oblique strain. That leaves only Jorge de la Rosa as the remaining Article XX(B) free agent in contention for a roster spot. That means the team has to pay him a $100k retention bonus if the plan is to send him to the minors, but that’s unlikely. If added to the MLB roster, de la Rosa’s salary would be $2.25M plus another $600k in relief incentives.

In Spring, de la Rosa has been still somewhat erratic with a 5:6 K/BB ratio in 8 IP. Add in 11 hits over that time period and he has a 2.13 WHIP, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the team lets him go today. Lefties hit .308 against him and had a 3:2 K/BB against him. Velocity isn’t the issue with Brooks Baseball listing his 4-seam fastball from 91-95 MPH range this Spring, although when I watched him pitch he wasn’t too effective.

In a bullpen that could be looking for a 2nd lefty, de la Rosa is competing against TJ McFarland and Steve Hathaway. McFarland has allowed 10 hits in 4 IP and walked 1 batter with 0 strikeouts this Spring. Hathaway hasn’t pitched this Spring and is a candidate for the disabled list to start the season. Given the quality of left-handed relief options, the team could just stick with Andrew Chafin and have 6 righties in the pen as well.