As soon as he took over as D'Backs GM, Kevin Towers vowed to improve the Arizona bullpen. The team's relievers posted a 5.74 ERA last year, so Towers has a challenge ahead. The D'Backs play in Chase Field, a park so hitter-friendly the organization is considering ways to help pitchers. In particular, Chase Field is homer-friendly and has consistently been among the best launching pads in the game.
Towers will be looking for relievers this winter and he may be inclined to pick up pitchers who keep the ball on the ground. Here are some options the D'Backs may consider:
- Jamey Wright – The 35-year-old strikes out just 4.3 batters per nine innings, but his 62% ground ball rate placed him eighth among major league relievers with at least 20 innings pitched. Wright will be available as a free agent.
- Ronald Belisario – Belisario, who turns 28 in December, followed up his sensational rookie season (8.2 K/9, 2.04 ERA in 2009) with a disappointing year. He ran into personal problems and posted a 5.04 ERA. He still struck out twice as many batters as he walked and his 61% ground ball rate ranked tenth among big league relievers, so the D'Backs could have interest in trading for the promising righty.
- Bobby Jenks – Jenks is a non-tender candidate, so he could become a free agent within six weeks. The D'Backs coud use an ace reliever and Jenks boasts a 58% ground ball rate.
- Carlos Torres – A starter in the White Sox system, the right-hander just spent his third season at Triple-A. Torres, who turns 28 tomorrow, provides depth for the White Sox, but hasn't done much in two big league cameos. He limited opponents to 7.0 H/9 this year and posted a 48% ground ball rate.
- Chaz Roe – Roe, a 2005 first rounder, posted a 5.98 ERA at Triple-A and allowed 210 hits in 158 innings. The 24-year-old struggled as a starter, but the D'Backs could try to pry him away from the Rockies and hope that his 49% ground ball rate (14th in the PCL) translates to success in their 'pen.