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2018 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews #42, Kristopher Negron

‘Six Gloves Kris’

Kristopher Negron, former D-back
Kristopher Negron, former D-back
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images
  • 2018 rating: 3.02
  • 2017 rating: 3.47
  • 2018 salary: league minimum
  • 2018 performance:
    Diamondbacks: 3 PAs in June, 1 hit, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .333/.333/333 = .667 OPS. Played right field
    Mariners: 30 PAs in September, 6 hits, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .207/.233/.310 = .544 OPS. Played second, third, shortstop, left field, right field, and DH.

2019 status: He is on the Mariners’ 40-man roster. He is projected to be on their 25-man roster as bench utility player, replacing Andrew Romine who became a free agent at the end of this season.

Defensive flexibility is his calling card.

Six gloves are in his locker. Remarkably, he is prepared to play all nine positions.

  • “Since I’ve been in the National League for so long, I’m pretty comfortable in the utility role. [In the Majors] I’ve had starts at all the infield spots and all three outfield spots. It’s a lot of fun.” -- Kristopher Negron
  • “I’ve been the emergency catcher before, but I have not got any innings. I’ve caught a handful of bullpens.” -- Kristopher Negron
  • “I’ve warmed up in the big leagues and pitched a few innings in the minors. I try and throw as slow as I can and get people out.” -- Kristopher Negron

In September, he impressed the Mariners as a utility player.

He has a single minded focus on baseball. Although he was not on the D-backs’ 40-man roster, and he was unlikely to get a September call-up, he continued to work hard. That was important because as next-season’s D-back-hitting-coach Darnell Coles stated, “My job is to make sure that I reinforce every day the work you do is going to show up in the game.”

When the Mariners purchased Kristopher Negron on 30 August, and when they immediately put him on the 40-man roster, and when they immediately called him up, his results showed his hard work. One example of his improvement was his defense in right field.

Right Field Defense — Kristopher Negron

When Team Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average per 1200 Innings
When Team Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average per 1200 Innings
2015, April-May-June Reds - 80
2018, June D-backs 102
2018, September Mariners 164
Data from Baseball Reference

“He played a really good game, kind of showed all his skills. He ran the bases, used the whole field to hit, had a big home run. He did a lot of things to help us win the ballgame. When you’re looking at utility guys, you’re not always looking for the big three-run double or home run or anything. It’s more the little things and he did a lot of those things.” -- Scott Servais, Mariners Manager

He hits with power.

This season in Reno, he hit 15 home runs and 45 RBIs in 425 PAs. This season in Reno, only three players hit more home runs (Kevin Cron: 22, Christian Walker: 18, and Socrates Brito: 17).

”You see it in BP. He’s got a little snap to the end of the bat. He’s not a big guy and you won’t see a ton of home runs out of him, but when he gets his pitch, he can drive the ball.” -- Scott Servais, Mariners Manager

His value as a utility player exceeds what his stats show.

“As we get to see Kris play a little more we get to figure out more about his tool set. He’s had good at-bats and he can run the bases. You’ve seen him steal. Nice to have guys contribute like that when they come in off the bench.” -- Scott Servais, Mariners Manager

“It’s very valuable depending on how the makeup of your bench lays out. We have a designated DH, so that’s where the super utility guy takes on a bigger role, versus some teams don’t have just the one guy who is the DH. That guy is usually on the field part of the mix with the position-player group. So having the one guy DHing does make the super utility role more important.” -- Scott Servais, Mariners Manager

Why did the Diamondbacks sell him to the Mariners?

First, he had zero options left, which reduced the team’s roster flexibility. Second, in my opinion the D-backs had in mind re-signing another player with defensive flexibility leaving no room for Negron. The D-backs surprised me with an early off-season signing of Eduardo Escobar.

Kristopher Negron as a Mariner could be a good move for both teams, and it was a good move especially for Kristopher Negron.