The Diamondbacks roster decisions have been a hot topic for the last several weeks. The release of Matt Koch cleared a space for TJ McFarland, but there are numerous other decisions looming. Here, you get to play GM along with Mike Hazen and choose your options. Please let us know your choices in the comments section and the reason’s behind them if you so desire.
1.) Zack Godley’s rotation spot:
With the demotion of Godley to the bullpen to try to work out his various issues, (whether they be mechanical, mental, or both) The Diamondbacks will need to fill that slot. The starters for the Colorado series Friday-Sunday are already listed on the team website, Being Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver sliding up into Godley’s spot, and Zack Greinke, who will remain on 4 days rest. Following that the website has the first game of the Tampa series on May 6th listed as TBD. Merrill Kelly could start that game on 4 days rest, and then the DBacks would need a 5th starter on May 7th. They could also use “Mr TBD” on the 6th and Kelly on the 7th. Whoever they choose, and whichever order between the 6th and 7th, that order would presumably continue for at least another turn or two through the rotation. Confused yet ? Well, let me give you a chart to help you, as I know you would all be disappointed if I wrote an article without a chart. ;)
So what are the options ?
Note: Jon Duplantier is not an option as he was optioned to Reno on April 29th, and cannot be recalled before May 9th due to 10 day option rule. In addition their goal is to stretch him out as a starter, and he needs at least 2-3 starts in Reno to get close to 90-100 pitches, as the most he has thrown this year is 61 pitches.
A.) Taylor Clarke, is on 40 man roster and started last night (May 1st) for Reno. (25 IP 6.12 ERA, 5.77 FIP + 3 Scoreless in MLB relief ) He would be on five days rest for May 6th or six days rest for May 7th.
B.) Emillio Vargas is also on the 40 man roster, but he has been pitching for AA Jackson. (27 IP, 3.38 ERA, 3.12 FIP) He last started April 27th. Jackson was supposed to play a double header today but the first game was rained out. If he pitches in the night game, he would be able to pitch on May 7th on 4 days rest.
C.) Matt Andriese: While Mike Hazen has seemingly indicated that Andriese is not an option to be converted back into a starter, as they like him out of the bullpen in the long man role, they did talk about his flexibility to spot start during the off season. It may still be on the table.
D.) Bullpen Game , starting Andriese or “other” for 2-3 innings or so and then having the rest of the bullpen take over from there. That could also include Godley as one of the relievers of course.
What should Dbacks do about 5th starter spot ?
This poll is closed
Call up Taylor Clarke
Call up Emilio Vargas
Let Matt Andriese start
Go with a "bullpen game"
2.) Making room for “Mr TBD”.
If the Diamondbacks recall a pitcher to fill Godley’s spot, they must also make room on the 25 man roster. Using the typically reliable Roster Resource we can see that Yoan Lopez and Matt Andriese have minor league options. Both have pitched a lot, Lopez appearing in 15 games, on pace for 78, and Andriese has 20.2 IP already, on pace for 97 relief innings.
Archie Bradley, Yoshihisa Hirano and Andrew Chafin all have options, but I think it’s safe to say they would not be considered as players to option to make room. They could of course DFA Godley, who is out of options, but it is not very likely he would clear waivers. The Dbacks are seemingly not ready to completely give up on him, however considering his performance and demotion, the subject has been broached at least.
The team could also consider optioning Caleb Joseph and carry 13 pitchers for a week or two until Alex Avila is ready to return. (See next point). They would still have 2 catchers in Carson Kelly and John Ryan Murphy, and an emergency catcher in Blake Swihart. However the team’s commitment to having three catchers is firm.
They could also option Ildemaro Vargas instead of Joseph, but that would also leave them short middle infield help.
Who should Dbacks remove from Active Roster to make room for "Mr TBD"
This poll is closed
Yoan Lopez (Option min. 10 days)
Matt Andriese (option min. 10 days)
DFA Zack Godley (May not clear waivers)
Option Caleb Joseph, Carry 13, 4 man bench
Option Ildemaro Vargas
3.) The return of Alex Avila
This one seems pretty straight forward. Avila is getting closer to return (He caught Taijuan Walker’s sim game) and I have heard that he will be back by the next home stand May 9th.
When he comes back, it’s a simple matter to option either Caleb Joseph, if he hasn’t already been optioned to make room for a pitcher, or option Carson Kelly. The latter seems unlikely, if for no other reason than the loss of face that would incur. But it’s an option.
Who Should Alex Avila replace
This poll is closed
A reliever (If Joseph has been optioned earlier)
4.) The return of Jake Lamb
Jake Lamb’s return is at least a week or two behind Alex Avila’s. I would be very surprised to see him before May 17th at this point, and it could easily be May 24th or later. Regardless of how long it takes for his quad to heal and for him to get his timing back on rehab assignment, there are decisions looming with his return.
It should be noted that according to Roster Resource, Lamb has 3 options remaining.
When the team brings him back, they could option Ildemaro Vargas to make room. If they do that they are thin at middle infield depth. This would seemingly necessitate Lamb to play some third base, which would free up Eduardo Escobar to play some second base, and even some emergency shortstop if needed. It would also be a way to get Lamb’s left hand bat into the lineup without having to take out Christian Walker. Those PA’s would come at the expense of Wilmer Flores in that scenario.
A lot can happen in the next 3 + weeks, but these are questions the team must be considering.
What should team do when Jake Lamb returns
This poll is closed
Option Ildemaro Vargas, let Lamb play some 3b as well as 1b, Escobar plays some 2b
Have Lamb stay on "extended" rehab assignment, use option as necessary
Any of the above scenarios might be impacted by injury or performance . In fact that is often the case. Not mentioned in any of the above is the eventual return of Taijuan Walker. Right now it looks like he is on target for a mid or late June return date. They could slow play him further to July if all is going well with “Mr. TBD”. And let’s not forget Jon Duplantier. Once he is stretched out, he would be an option to return to big club as a starter as well. They may wish to give him a full month or even two in the rotation in Reno for further development as a starter. However I’d personally hate to see them waste his bullets in Reno. I’d like to see him up and in the rotation as soon as he is stretched out, which should be within 3-4 weeks at the latest. It seems that whoever is called up to take Godley’s spot in the near term will be on a short leash and will need to be very effective to stave off Duplantier, Walker, or even a return to the rotation by Zack Godley if he has a good stretch in the bullpen.