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2020 Diamondbacks Decisions: Steven Souza

It has been exactly 14 months since Souza last appeared in the majors for the D-backs.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Suddenly realized that the non-tender deadline is 5pm Eastern on Monday, so I’d better get my skates on and post the last couple of these, today and tomorrow, otherwise they are going to be a bit superfluous.

Jake Lamb results

A big response here, with 476 people chipping in on the topic of whether or not Lamb should be tendered a contract at the $5 million rate projected by MLB Trade Rumors. And the results were not good for Jake, with “No” sweeping to victory by close to a 3:1 margin. 73.9% (362) gave that at their answer, with just 26.1% (124) wanting to see Lamb on the Diamondbacks next year. Ouch. How the once-mighty are fallen. But the SnakePit tribe has spoken, and Jake Lamb will not be tendered a contract for the 2020 season.

Steven Souza Jr.

This might be a trickier one. Souza’s time in Arizona has been severely dogged by health issues: he has appeared only 72 times over the first two seasons of team control. All of those came in 2018, due to an unfortunate incident in one of the warm-up games at Chase Field, just before Opening Day this year. While running the bases, he manages to sustain full tears of his ACL, LCL and posterial lateral capsule and a partial PCL tear (it’s clearly time to have designated runners to stop this kind of carnage on the base-paths...), which led to surgery and the end of his 2019 season before it effectively began. He is expected to be ready for spring training next year.

MLB Trade Rumors are currently penciling him in for a salary of $4.125 million, which would be exactly what he received this year. So far, those 72 games for Souza have cost the D-backs a total of $7.675 million, and the results weren’t very good, with a total bWAR figure below replacement level of -0.3. However, since making his MLB debut in 2014, Souza has averaged about two wins per 162 games played. which would be a pretty good return for an outlay just a little over $4m - if he plays every day. But “if” is obviously the key word there. It’s also the case that the team doesn’t have much depth in the outfield, and the 40-man roster is currently full, after the signing of Stephen Vogt.

Vogt has some experience in the outfield, but 19 starts over seven major-league seasons is closer to emergency use than everyday candidate. Otherwise, the team has only four outfielders currently listed on the 40-man roster: Ketel Marte, David Peralta, Tim Locastro and Souza. Dropping Souza would leave them perilously thin there, and also apparently lock Marte in to being the starter in center. Of course, there is still four months until Opening Day, and I’ve little doubt GM Mike Hazen has a plan mapped out. Non-tendering Souza would seem to be a clear indication that other moves for the outfield are afoot, perhaps such as going after Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama, with the money freed up.

Below is a straight yes/no question regarding Souza: here’s the link if you can’t see it. But, of course, feel free to explain your logic in the comments, and in particular if you vote No, what the D-backs should do for an outfield in 2020.