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D-backs part ways with Ian Kennedy and Zach Davies, pick up Cole Sulser

One of these was expected; the other... less so.

Miami Marlins v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Adjustment of the roster continues to occur as we move towards the Winter Meetings and the Rule 5 draft. Today, the team officially announced the following moves:

  • Claimed RHP Cole Sulser off waivers from the Marlins. MLB bio
  • D-backs declined 2023 mutual option for RHP Ian Kennedy.
  • RHP Zach Davies declined his side of the 2023 mutual option.
  • The D-backs’ 40-man roster is at 37.

To start with the departures first, both Kennedy and Davies will be one season wonders on the Diamondbacks - albeit the latter in his second stint with the team. Kennedy’s option was for $4 million this year, but his performance this year (while earning $4.75 million) was not very impressive. He went 4-7 with a 5.36 ERA, and his FIP was even higher at 5.58. He struggled particularly hard down the stretch, despite becoming the team’s most frequent closer after Mark Melancon lost the position. Over his last 18 appearances and 15 innings, Kennedy allowed 26 hits and 8 walks, with 7 home-runs and a 10.80 ERA. He’ll turn 38 next month, and with 16 seasons under his belt, the end may be approaching for IPK.

Davies’s departure is even less of a secret, having been on the cards for over a month, though there was some initial debate over who declined what. As the statement above from the team makes clear, it was Zach who opted to part ways, and that probably makes sense. He was basically a league-average starter in 2022, posting an ERA+ of 98, which was exactly the sort of rebound season he wanted, after a disappointing 2021 (ERA+ 73). On the open market, that kind of performance will likely command Davies a considerably higher price than the option price, which I believe was $1.75 million. Still, can’t complain: he gave the Diamondbacks good value for the season.

The new arrival is Cole Sulser, who has a 3.75 ERA over four seasons and 127.1 IP in the majors with a K:BB of 139:59 and a FIP of 3.70. This year saw his performance dip as a member of the Miami Marlins. He had an ERA of 5.29 and a FIP of 4.58, with a K:BB of 38:16 in 34 innings of work, which is likely what led to him being placed on the waiver wire by Miami. A graduate of Dartmouth, he was a 25th-round pick by Cleveland in the 2013 draft, and was traded to Tampa in December 2018. He made his debut for the Rays the following September. This season, he missed two months with a strained right lat: small sample size, but he got lit up on his return, with an 8.44 ERA over 10.2 innings.

To be honest, I can’t particularly see what attracted the team to make this move, but they presumably had their reasons. Any one care to chip in on the possible reasoning behind it?