This evening at 6pm EST (4pm Arizona Time), the deadline for protecting players from the Rule 5 draft passed. Here in Arizona Diamondbacks’ fandom, this was quite anticipated. The roster moves are as follows:
- The D-backs added INF Blaze Alexander, OF Jorge Barrosa, OF Dominic Fletcher and RHP Justin Martinez to the 40-man roster.
- The D-backs also acquired RHP Carlos Vargas from Cleveland for RHP Ross Carver.
- The D-backs designated INF Sergio Alcántara, OF Stone Garrett, OF Jordan Luplow and LHP Caleb Smith for assignment.
- The D-backs’ 40-man roster is at 40.
The additions were much as discussed last week: perhaps the biggest name not be added was outfielder Dominic Canzone, ranked #19 by MLB.com. 61% of people in our poll expected him to be protected, though that was lower than Alexander (95%). We did predict accurately that Dominic Miroglio would not be protected: 78% said that adding him was not necessary. Vargas is a 23-year-old reliever, who pitched in AA and AAA for the Guardians this year. He tossed 34.1 innings with a 3.67 ERA and a K:BB ratio of 37:17. Carver is the same age, but is a starter and was at a lower level (High-A and Double-A). He had a 5.06 ERA over 117.1 IP, with a K:BB of 128:42.
With neither being on the 40-man roster, that had no effect. Vargas is on the 40-man roster; he is the final member of it right now (depending how how you want to view the additions via trade or contract selections, which is moot).
However, to make room for the prospects, four players were culled. The departures of Luplow and Smith were very much expected, and in line with SnakePit thinking: 87% and 89% respectively said those two should not be tendered a contract. However, the designation for assignment of Garrett and Alcantara were not expected: indeed, the former was expected to be the replacement for Luplow, as one of the few right-handed hitting outfielders on the roster.
How the dominos fall from those designations will be decided in the coming days/weeks. Some may return on Minor League deals. Some may choose to leave if they have enough service time. Some may get claimed on the waiver wire or in the Rule 5 draft! With a 40-man roster at 40, for now it appears that Hazen and company have no interest in paying to make a selection in the draft during the Winter Meetings (December 4-7 in San Diego - the Rule 5 Draft will be December 7). It costs $100,000 to make each selection, and there’s a definite argument to be made that those dollars can be best served in the free agent market instead of on a flyer who **probably** won’t work out.
Mike Hazen will be hosting a Press Conference at 5:30 Arizona Time to discuss the moves. Any necessary (or interesting) information will be added after that!
Edits from the Conference:
-Carlos Vargas throws 100mph with his fastball and has a power slider coming off TJS and still needs to work on his walks. He was on the team’s radar going into today’s roster crunch for other teams (Cleveland specifically). Ross Carver is who the Guardians asked for and Hazen and the Diamondbacks felt like it was an acceptable ask for what we got in return. He highlighted Carver’s curveball and how the upper levels of Arizona’s minor league affiliates can affect a pitcher. But also that the team has depth above Carver in the organization.
-Luplow and Smith were roster spots they felt they could use to get better in 2023 given 2022 performance and injuries.
-Stone Garrett was released for similar reasons and he will be Rule 5 protected.
-They will be focused on adding a right-handed outfielder to the roster.
-Barrosa was added and is viewed as the best defensive CFer NOT on the MLB roster. Alexander plays shortstop and has earned his chance to compete for MLB time. Fletcher is too good to leave available to other teams, but is a lefty.
-The team can still make a selection in the draft if they want to. There are players on the 40-man who can be removed to open up some spots. (I don’t know exactly who that means, but I assume it's almost anyone who wasn’t moved today)
-Jack Sommers asked about Justin Martinez. Hazen talked about him similarly to Vargas. But he did elaborate a bit to discuss how the team pushed him late in the season and sending him to the Fall League, knowing if he did well the decision to add him would be made.
-Finally and most intriguing, Hazen discussed that the team has a shift in perspective when it comes to the bullpen and getting better overall. They are more willing to deal from positions of depth (see: Carver), but they also know the bullpen has been horrible for at least two seasons and was a bigger issue in 2022 because the team around them was much better than in 2021. He specifically stated that they don’t necessarily feel ready to make “all-in” moves, but they are more comfortable making risky moves to get the biscuit (my words, not his). Hazen brought up 2019/2020 moves as a point they haven’t quite reached again, also admitting that the Starling Marte to Miami deal did not work out in Arizona’s favor, but his demeanor made it obvious he hopes to reach that level of risky success again soon.