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.