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2018 Baseball Winter Meetings Diamondbacks Preview

Where do the Diamondbacks stand heading into this year’s premier off season event ?

MLB: Spring Training-Media Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings start on this coming Sunday, December 9th, with the first open session on Monday morning and concluding with the rule 5 draft on Thursday December 13th. A full schedule of events can be found HERE

As Mike Hazen and his Baseball Operations Team head to the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this weekend, having just traded franchise icon Paul Goldschmidt, and adding several players back, there are still numerous questions to be answered and probable moves to occur. Will Zack Greinke be traded? If yes, will the DBacks eat enough money to actually receive back a prospect of note, or will it be a straight salary dump? Is the team rebuilding or retooling? Which label to apply is still up for debate, or even TBD.

As things currently stand, after the Goldy trade and recent non tenders of Shelby Miller , Chris Owings, and Brad Boxberger , the team is looking at roughly a 118 M payroll commitment, which is well below last year’s opening day and season ending payrolls. (130-140M respectively) That figure includes the recent signing of Merrill Kelly for 2M in 2019, as well as league minimum salary for Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly, both of whom are expected to be on the major league roster. Of note, the “on paper” WAR projection adds up to a 79 win team at the moment. That’s because there are positive projections for Weaver, both Kelly’s, and Walker. Collectively they are offsetting some of Goldy’s loss.

The below table includes playing time, WAR and Payroll projections for players with guaranteed contracts, salary estimates for arbitration eligible players, and several pre arb, league minimum players that will clearly be on the opening day roster barring a trade or injury. The “Replacement” player sections are merely placeholders. The IP and PA allotted in the replacement slots need to be filled by somebody. Whether they are filled with internal depth players at league minimum salary, or by players brought in through trade or free agency that might cost more is TBD. The salary shown there is the least amount possible to fill those innings and PA. As additional moves are made and the personnel changes, we’ll update the Payroll and Projections tracking sheet accordingly:

Playing time, WAR, and Salary Projections for 2019

Pitchers 3 yr wtd 3 yr wtd PT Wtd Rate 2019 IP 2019 WAR Salary
Pitchers 3 yr wtd 3 yr wtd PT Wtd Rate 2019 IP 2019 WAR Salary
Zack Greinke 4.0 194 48 180 3.7 34.50
Robbie Ray 2.4 142 59 160 2.7 5.80
Zack Godley 1.7 159 95 160 1.7 0.62
Luke Waver 120 1.4 0.60
Merrill Kelly 120 0.5 2.00
Taijuan Walker 1.1 75 67 60 0.9 5.20
Replacement SP 100 0.0 0.28
Archie Bradley 1.5 80 52 70 1.4 1.80
Jimmie Sherfy 0.3 13 46 60 1.3 0.58
Andrew Chafin 0.7 47 68 50 0.7 2.20
Yoshi Hirano 0.4 37 98 60 0.6 3.00
T.J. McFarland 0.2 61 260 50 0.2 1.70
Matt Andriese 0.3 87 325 60 0.2 1.05
Silvino Bracho 0.0 27 806 40 0.0 0.60
Replacement RP 160 0.0 1.75
Total Pitching 1450 15.34 61.68
Hitters 3 yr wtd 3 yr wtd PT Wtd Rate 2019 PA 2019 WAR Salary
David Peralta 2.9 554 191 550 2.9 6.60
Ketel Marte 1.9 459 240 600 2.5 2.40
Eduardo Escobar 2.3 559 242 600 2.5 7.00
Nick Ahmed 1.4 407 288 500 1.7 3.10
Steven Souza Jr. 1.2 409 336 500 1.5 4.50
Jake Lamb 1.2 410 329 500 1.5 5.10
Jarrod Dyson 1.2 299 241 300 1.2 3.80
Alex Avila 1.0 279 275 300 1.1 4.30
Christian Walker 500 1.0 0.60
Carson Kelly 250 0.8 0.59
Yasmany Tomas -0.1 123 -1838 0 0.0 15.50
John Ryan Murphy -0.2 136 -681 100 -0.1 1.05
Socrates Brito -0.3 61 -227 100 -0.4 0.60
Pitchers Batting 0.0 330 0.0
Replacement 0.0 0.0 0 1050 0.0 1.55
Total Offense 18.0 4729.6 6180 16.14 56.69
2019 PT 2019 WAR Payroll
Total Pitching 1450 15.3 61.68
Total Position 6180 16.1 56.69
TTl WAR & $ 31.5
Replacement 47.5
Ttl Wins 79.0 118.37

Internal Starting Rotation options to fill remaining innings include Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener, neither of whom are on the 40 man roster at the moment, as well as Taylor Clarke, who is on the 40 man. (I suggest you push a click through to scope out the 40 man roster) Mike Hazen indicated that the rotation is set, “in it’s current form”. However a Greinke trade could change things.

As for the bullpen, Hazen indicated they still have some work to do, which was a little surprising to me. In addition to the 7 relievers listed in the table above, (in which Jimmie Sherfy already features prominently) internal options also include Yoan Lopez who made a strong impression during his September call up last year, as well as Jake Barrett and Joey Krehbiel , who made a couple of appearances last year and may get another look. Also watch for Kevin Ginkel, who put up video game K/BB ratios in 2018. (117 K, 14 BB between A+, AA, and the AFL).

Despite all these internal options, Mike Hazen’s M.O. has been to add a couple of veteran relievers, including finding established closers to fill that role each of the last two years with...ahem...mixed results. This year might be no exception, as the team was recently linked to veteran Joakim Soria, who has 220 career saves and a 148 ERA+

On the position player side, with the departure of AJ Pollock to free agency, one obvious hole is Center Field, and Hazen indicated the outfield is an area they are still looking to work on. The team has also indicated they may try Ketel Marte in CF. Jarrod Dyson is coming off a season in which he it .189/43 OPS+, before suffering a season ending groin injury that required surgery. The defensive standout is signed for 2019, but is not viewed as a full time option. If they do end up going with the Marte to CF plan, then most likely Eduardo Escobar sees significant time at 2b. However with the uncertainty surrounding Jake Lamb and his recovery from shoulder surgery, as well as his persistent issues with hitting left hand pitching, the team is probably looking to shore up the infield some more, especially with the likely departure of free agent Daniel Descalso.

Whether the team acquires a true center fielder, or opts for the experimental route with Marte they have some significant holes to fill that won’t likely be filled with internal options. It would seem like this is the last chance for Socrates Brito to make his mark in the majors with this organization, but just the fact that the team has been looking at Marte as a CF option indicates the out of options Brito’s future with the organization may not be very strong or long. Other players on the 40 man include Christian Walker, who I plugged into the first base projection for now, as well as Kevin Cron, Ildemaro Vargas, and Domingo Leyba. Any or all could see playing time before September call ups. Vargas, due to his position flexibility is in a strong position to win the utility role out of spring training, as he can play any of SS, 2b, or 3b.

And finally, Hazen made clear the team will continue with the 3 catcher model so Kelly has been inserted accordingly in a time share with Alex Avila & John Ryan Murphy.

Fingers crossed they don’t pull the trigger on a Greinke trade before this article gets published. I’ve already revised it twice. :)