The Arizona Diamondbacks opted to cut ties with three players this afternoon, not offering contracts to pitchers Brad Boxberger and Shelby Miller, and infielder (and sometimes outfielder) Chris Owings. There were no great surprises here, with the three men receiving the least support when we polled readers with regard to tendering them contracts. The move does not necessarily mean an end to their time with the D=backs, as the team could still conceivably sign them at a lower cost as free agents. Owings is the most likely player to get such an offer, I imagine. But since they are now free agents, they can negotiate and sign with any of the MLB teams, without fear or favor.
Owings is the longest-serving, having been part of the organization since he was drafted in the first round (#41 overall) in 2009. He made his major-league debut as a September call-up in 2013, and has appeared in 580 games, fifteenth on the franchise all-time list, with a line of .250/.291/.378, He’s ninth all-time for triples by a Diamondbacks, with 23. At the other end, Brad Boxberger spent only one season with the D-backs, being traded here from the Rays last December for minor-league Curtis Taylor. He was Arizona’s closer for much of the year, but had a dismal second half and ended up losing the job in September. Still, we’ll always have the emoji shirt...
Today’s news also draws a line under the Shelby Miller trade, a dead which - along with the equally unfortunate signing of Yasmany Tomas - will define the Dave Stewart era for many people. Miller was expected to be a front-line starter when acquired from the Braves for Dansby Swanson, Ender Inciarte and Aaron Blair in December 2015. But injury and ineffectiveness meant that over three seasons, Miller won only five starts, going 5-18 with a 6.35 ERA. He went through Tommy John surgery in 2017, but failed to make a successful return, and it appears the D-backs have now decided to cut bait, though could perhaps try and bring him back as a reliever?
Based on the MLB Trade Rumors estimates, the cuts today will save the team around $13.4 million off the payroll for 2019. Attention now turns to what they do with the money, and how they intend to fill the roles these three players had for the team this season. Most obviously, who will be the Diamondbacks’ closer next year?