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Diamondbacks Trade for Jordan Luplow, send Ronny Simon to the Rays

Brett deGeus DFA’d to make room on the 40 man roster

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Division Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Two Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

The Diamondbacks have made their first trade of the 2021-22 offseason, sending minor league infielder Ronny Simon to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jordan Luplow.

Luplow, 28 years old, is a right handed platoon Outfielder/First baseman. This fills an obvious need for the Diamondbacks, as most of the outfielders listed on the 40 man roster are left hand batters. First year arbitration eligible he’s estimated to earn approximately $1.5M in 2022 and will be under team control through the end of 2024. In 736 career PA he owns a 108 OPS+ on a .225/.326/.454 triple slash that includes 34 HR, 89 walks and 177 K’s.

After the Ray’s season ended, Luplow had ankle surgery to remove a bone spur, however per Mike Hazen via Nick Piecoro, the team expects him to be ready by spring training.

Luplow was born and raised in central California and attended Fresno State before being drafted in the 3rd round in 2014 by the Pirates. He advanced through their system fairly quickly, making his major league debut July 28th 2017. He didn’t hit in the majors over parts of two seasons for the Pirates however (190 PA, .192 BA, 72 OPS+) and was traded to Cleveland Guardians during the 2019 season.

In 2019 he got another chance and this time exploded for 15 HR in just 261 PA while posting a .276/.372/.551 triple slash, good for 136 OPS+.

He struggled in 2020 however, appearing in 29 games, batting .192/.304/.359, 81 OPS+. Those struggles continued into 2021, batting just .173 for Cleveland but managing 7 homers and 109 OPS+. He was traded at the July 30th 2021 deadline to the Rays for pitching prospect Peyton Battenfield.

After a 2 hit game his first time out for his new ball club he slumped the rest of August, but had a very good September to end up batting .246/.319/.477, 123 OPS+ in 72 PA’s for the Rays.

He had a highlight moment in the bottom of the 1st in game 2 of the ALDS, staking the Rays to a 5-2 lead with this grand slam.

Luplow has a big career split: .899 OPS vs Left hand Pitching(378 PA) , but just .660 vs. Righties.(358 PA). It should be noted that it’s always harder to skew a right handed platoon hitters PA more than 50-60% against Left Handed pitching, unlike left handed platoon hitters where their PA vs. Left handed pitching is easier to keep under 20%.

He’s rated as slightly above average on the corners in LF & RF, and 1b. He’s played CF as well, although he rates as below average there. His presence means that barring a rash of injuries Stuart Fairchild will most likely be passed over as the 4th-5th right handed outfielder for 2022. It’s also possible that the team moves on from Christian Walker and Luplow platoons with Pavin Smith at first. Ultimately he has the positional flexibility to be used in both outfield and infield and will likely see time at both.

The 21 year old Simon was the player to be named later in the 2020 Andrew Chafin trade with the Cubs. He was signed by Chicago as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic. Playing 2b & SS, the diminutive Simon (5’9”, 150 lbs) broke out in 2021 to hit 15 homers in 349 PA on the way to a .249/.343/.479 triple slash in A class Visalia. Promoted to A+ Hillsboro he struggled in 88 PA batting .232/.273/.378

The 23 year old de Geus’ was a rule 5 pick by the Texas Rangers from the Dodgers, then picked up off waivers by the D-backs mid season. He struggled for both clubs, posting a 7.56 ERA in 50 IP, including 6.56 in 23 IP for the Diamondbacks. If the D-backs don’t work out a trade he needs to clear waivers to remain in the organization.

The full cost of Luplow then is Simon, de Gues, and perhaps some playing time opportunity for Fairchild. Some might question whether a rebuilding team should be prioritizing a 28 year old platoon player over three young players. On the other hand, with his ability to mash left handed pitching and play above average defense at 3 positions he provides valuable roster balance