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2019 Arizona Diamondbacks reviews: #47, Yasmany Tomas

And the last shall be first...

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images
  • Rating: REDACTED
  • Age: 28
  • 2019 stats: 6 PA, .000/.000/.000 = .000 OPS, -0.2 bWAR
  • 2019 salary: $15.5 million
  • 2020 status: under contract, $17 million


I don’t know what is more significant. That I completely forgot to include Yasmany Tomas on the list of players for grading. Or that 170 of you filled in the survey, and not one person apparently noticed his absence. But it’s safe to say his ranking would have been lower than anyone else, as this season likely cemented the Tomas contract as the worst in franchise history. Coming in to 2019, it was potentially neck-and-neck with the Russ Ortiz free-agent signing in December 2004, once you allow for baseball salary inflation over the intervening years. But another year of sub-replacement level production has all but handed the crown of thorns to Yasmany.

We are now five years into the six-year, $68.5 million contract signed by Tomas - two days shy of exactly a decade after the Ortiz signing (I’m quaking in fear over December 2024). To date, he has earned $51.5 million, and been below replacement level in four of the five seasons - he didn’t appear at all in the majors, during the fifth. Tomas has been worth a total of 2.5 wins BELOW replacement level; for comparison, Ortiz was worth a similar -2.2 bWAR before being let go from his $33 million contract. New management seems to have all but given up on Tomas, treating him as a sunk cost. Despite earning $29 million this year and last, he has received just six plate-appearances across those two seasons.

2019 review

He did, at least, appear in the majors, a step-up from 2018’s complete exile to Reno. That came in an East-coast sweep at the end of July, with three pinch-hit appearances against the Marlins in Miami. Tomas want 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. He then got a start as the designated hitter against the Yankees in New York - his first in more than two years, dating back to June 2017 - and went 0-for-3 with another strikeout and a double-play. He was also called out on batter interference in the fourth. That’s a total of 0-for-6 with three K’s. 25 pitches in total: six balls, one strike looking, eight swinging strikes, eight foul balls and two balls put in play, neither leaving the infield.

On first glance, his minor-league stats look like they might have merited more playing time. Over 102 games for the Reno Aces, he hit .301/.341/.590, for a .931 OPS, including four home-runs in one game (above), and also winning the AAA Home-Run Derby. However, as a yardstick, that’s slightly less than the .940 OPS which Abraham Almonte posted over 91 games for Reno. And, as ever, the bigger issue with Tomas was less his ability at the plate, than the traumatic experience which was his defense. With nowhere to hide Yasmany on a National League diamond, he’s perhaps the best argument for the designated hitter from an Arizona perspective, in the history of the franchise.

Towards 2020

Having made it through waivers (for some reason, perhaps connected to no other GM being a certifiable idiot), he’s no longer on Arizona’s 40-man roster, so it’s not as if he’s clogging up the system in any meaningful way. Still, I strongly suspect that the only thing which will change for Tomas in 2020, will be the size of the pay-check received in Reno. He’s due to earn an insane $17 million in the final season of the contract, and it would be no surprise if he spent the entire season in AAA once again. Mike Hazen seems to have little interest in trying to squeeze any value out of Tomas, or even showcasing him for potential trade partners (though see above, re: idiots).

At least this will be the final year, and the team will then be out from under this gigantic albatross for 2021. Tomas basically represents the last, worst vestige of the Dave Stewart era. It was a grand gesture of a move which was the very epitome of “go big or go home,” apparently made for dramatic effect as much as team improvement. Unfortunately, it was an unmitigated disaster, and you wonder just where they team might have gone, if not for being weighed down by this Cuban anchor. We’ll never know.