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2018 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews: #40, Fernando Salas

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He was great, and then he sucked, and then he was great again, then he sucked again.

MLB: New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2018 rating: 3.13
  • 2017 rating: N/A
  • 2018 salary: $1.5 million + possible bonuses
  • 2018 performance: 4-4, 4.50 ERA, 40 IP, 40 H, 20 R, 20 ER, 5 HR, 13 BB, 30 SO
  • 2019 status: free agent

Salas was one of the non-roster invitees who was signed by the Diamondbacks with an invitation to spring training. Helped by the struggle for fitness of Randall Delgado, Salas performed well enough there to make the back of the bullpen, allowing two earned runs over 11 innings, with a K:BB ratio of 8:2. His selection to the roster on March 24 was one of the later decisions, but meant that his deal immediately vested into a significant amount of cash. Though $1.5 million (plus undetermined incentives) is still reasonably cheap for an experienced bullpen arm - even one which had posted an ERA+ of 91 over the previous three major-league seasons, covering 196 innings.

Salas slotted initially into the Delgado long relief role. He got the W in his third appearance, tossing the last three innings of our 15-inning marathon 8-7 win over the Dodgers on April 2, despite allowing a run in the top of the 15th. All told, he had a great April, finishing the month with a 3-1 record and a 1.56 ERA over 17.1 innings of work. The start of May proved much less kind - “Oh, relievers: volatility is thy middle name!” His first five appearances saw Salas tagged for a trio of losses, allowing ten earned runs in just 3.1 frames, and that was the end of any high-leverage work for Salas.

While he was largely viewed as a human white-flag thereafter, he didn’t pitch badly after that spell, through the end of June. Over those seventeen innings, he had a 1.06 ERA, and got his season figure down to 3.58. But July saw malSalas return, giving up five runs in 2.1 innings, and with the eventual return of Delgado, the team cut bait on Salas to free the necessary roster spot. He was released on July 11, and although the Braves opted to take a minor-league chance on him, Fernando never made their major-league roster, and was cut by them four weeks later. He’ll be looking for new employment this winter: I suspect a further minor-league contract with an invite to spring may be in his future, somewhere...

For the D-backs purposes, there probably will be a couple of spots needing to be filled at the back of the bullpen. Not the least of which is the long relief role, which Randall Delgado - also now a free agent - occupied for most of the previous few seasons. However, Salas’s overall numbers were underwhelming, with a FIP (4.34) more or less in line with is ERA (4.50), and an unimpressive strikeout rate (6.8 per nine IP), and at the age of 33, the trend is only likely to head down further. Still might be worth taking a flier on, with another minor-league contract. This time, though, I’d not make any offers as to his future employment.