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2018 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews: #45, Matt Andriese

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A trade deadline acquisition was brought in to stabilize a struggling bullpen, but what they got was far from advertised.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2018 rating: 2.73
  • 2017 rating: N/A
  • 2018 salary: league minimum
  • 2018 performance: 0-3, 9.00 ERA, 19 IP, 9 K/9, 3.32 BB/9, 3.79 HR/9, -0.6 WAR
  • 2019 status: 1st Year Arbitration Eligible

At the time of the trade, Matt Andriese was seen as both a short-term and long-term upgrade. He had been a workhorse for the Tampa Bay Rays, pitching close to 60 innings over 27 games, with 4 of those starts. His ERA had floated around 4 all season long and with the team looking for both starting and relief help, the ever versatile pitcher was seen as a quality acquisition for the cost-conscious D-backs.

Hazen described Andriese as “a pitcher they’ve really liked for a while now” and it made sense, as he had the ability to pitch more than one inning and was generally league average at it, never eclipsing an ERA under 4 in his previous 4 seasons. Plus, with Matt still under team control, it fit budget wise going forward. Of course, moving to a new team and situation isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re accustomed to sub .500 ball as the Rays have done over his first 3 years in the MLB. And that’s exactly what the D-backs received.

His first two appearances saw him allowing 3 home runs, summoning boo birds in his home debut against the Rangers. Things improved after that, as Matt pitched 9 innings in August and allowed just two runs, but was demoted to Visalia, the teams’ High-A affiliate at the end of the month in a largely overblown situation by the local media. He had been approaching his previous season’s innings total, and the team wanted to stretch him out as a starter, while keeping him close to the team as they were on a California road-trip. Still, it wasn’t quite the look you want to give to demote a recently acquired player while still in the thick of a playoff race. He was recalled when rosters expanded in September.

When he returned, well, let’s just call his performance bad. He allowed 7 runs against the Rockies. His next appearance was a start against the Cubs where he allowed 5 runs in 2 innings in a 9-1 defeat. He was sent to the bullpen for the rest of the year, appearing in only a single game against the Padres and allowing a run.

All-in-all, Matt would probably call this season a victory, as he pitched like he was accustomed to with the Rays and suffered an out of body experience with the D-backs. With Matt Andriese set to enter arbitration for the first time in 2019, he should be brought back for a role in the 2019 bullpen at least, with him getting a shot at a rotation spot if he pitches like the team thought they were getting when they sent minor leaguers Michael Perez and Brian Shaffer. While they didn’t give up much to acquire Andriese, a backup catcher and minor league depth starter isn’t nothing while having to pay increased salaries over the rest of his controlled years.