The Diamondbacks continue to make roster cuts as they approach Opening Day. The team has placed OF Socrates Brito on the 60-Day Disabled List for a dislocation of the ring finger on his throwing hand. They’ve also optioned infielder Ketel Marte to AAA Reno while selecting the contracts of RHP Tom Wilhelmsen and LHP Jorge de la Rosa. That leaves the shortstop and 7th bullpen spot battle left to be decided with 3 games to go. The 40-Man Roster now has 40 players.
Wilhelmsen, a native of Tucson, will pitch for his hometown baseball team. He was arguably the most dominant reliever competing for a roster spot this Spring and could be the primary setup man to start the season. A former closer with the Mariners, Wilhelmsen has experience getting big outs late in games. He’s still throwing mid-90s and in his last appearance punched out the Angels top three hitters. Wilhemsen pitched to a 0.96 ERA (1 ER in 9 1⁄3 IP), recording 8 strikeouts, and a 0.86 WHIP this Spring to force his way onto the roster.
Jorge de la Rosa came to the Diamondbacks as an Article XX(B) free agent. The Diamondbacks had today to make a decision to retain him or release him. The team opted to do the former, as they’ve selected his contract with the roster spot freed up by Brito’s 60-day DL stint. They released then re-signed OF Gregor Blanco, who was another XX(B) free agent. JDLR gives Lovullo a 2nd lefty, one who can go multiple innings as a former starter, to go with Andrew Chafin in the pen.
The Diamondbacks have two positions to figure out. The more important one is figuring out the last member of the bullpen. That spot is up for grabs between Silvino Bracho and JJ Hoover. Both players struggled in 2016 after strong 2015 seasons, the former struggling to adjust to the majors and the latter experiencing failure when promoted from setup man to closer. One factor that works in Bracho’s favor is he’s already on the 40-man roster, but he also has two option-years left. The team would have to clear 40-man room to get Hoover on the roster.