On the heels of the victory over the Nationals at Chase Field this afternoon, there was an unexpected twist to the narrative of the 2019 season. MLB’s Steve Gilbert reported, “Zack Godley made his way through the clubhouse saying goodbye to teammates.” His departure was subsequently confirmed by Zack Buchanan of The Athletic, who said that “Godley will be designated for assignment tomorrow, according to a source.” With Godley being out of minor-league options, a DFA would be the only way to move him off the roster. What does this mean now for Godley? Per MLB.com,
Within seven days of the transaction, the player can either be traded or placed on irrevocable outright waivers. If the player is claimed off said waivers by another club, he is immediately added to that team’s 40-man roster. If the player clears waivers, he may be sent outright to the Minor Leagues or released. Players with more than three years of Major League service time (like Godley) may reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency. Clubs may utilize this option to clear a spot on the 40-man roster -- typically with the intention of adding a newly acquired player (via trade or free agency), a Minor Leaguer or a player being activated from the 60-day injured list.
Godley arrived in Arizona from the Chicago Cubs in December 2014, as part of the return for catcher Miguel Montero. He made his MLB debut the following July, pitching six shutout innings against the Brewers, and went 5-1 that season with a 3.19 ERA. He was a member of the rotation from May 2017 through April 2019, but mechanical issues - apparent in Godley “falling off the mound” - led to problems with control and consistency. When his curveball was on, he was sometimes unhittable, His best outing was probably the one above, on July 31 last year, when he struck out 10 over seven scoreless innings against Texas. But he could also walk six in 3.1 innings, as he did versus Milwaukee in May of the same season.
You just never knew with Godley, and that uncertainty proved his undoing. He opened this year in the D-backs rotation, but they yips showed up immediately, allowing seven earned runs in his 2019 debut. At the end of April, after six starts with an ERA of 7.58, he was moved to long relief out of the bullpen, but the results were similarly inconsistent. He did become the third pitcher to make multiple starts and record multiple saves in the same year for Arizona (also: Mike Morgan in 2000, and Elmer Dessens in 2004). But Godley ended the year with a 6.39 ERA. All told, over his five years with the Diamondbacks, Zack went 36-30 with a 4.70 ERA (ERA+ of 94).
It’s not yet clear, due to the lack of any official announcement, what the corresponding roster move will be. This would open up a 40-man roster spot, so it could be to allow the return of Blake Swihart, recently moved to the 60-day injured list, but still rehabbing in Reno. Pitcher Matt Andriese is another possibility - though, let’s face it, Andriese’s 5.91 ERA as a Diamondback this season seems little if any better than Godley’s. Regardless, it seems that Andrew Chafin is probably going to need to find a new companion for his hunting trips.