The D-backs and right-hander J.J. Hoover have agreed to a minor league contract, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (Twitter links). The Ballengee Group client will be invited to Major League Spring Training and has a $900K base salary on his deal. He can also earn up to $425K worth of incentives.
Hoover, 29, opened the season as the favorite for the ninth-inning gig in Cincinnati last year, but he quickly fell out of favor after a rough start. Hoover blew his first save opp of the season and was tagged for 16 earned runs over his next 8 1/3 innings before being optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Hoover looked to have righted the ship a bit upon returning in mid-June, but he stumbled yet again and was optioned a second time before ultimately being outrighted off the 40-man roster. All told, Hoover rounded out the year with a 13.50 ERA in 18 1/3 innings.
While that number is obviously jarring, Hoover did have a nice track record with the Reds before his troublesome 2016 campaign, and he pitched well in his time at Triple-A Louisville. Hoover logged a 3.52 ERA and a 50-to-11 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 minor league innings this year. And, prior to 2016, he’d notched a 3.34 ERA with 9.1 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9 in 223 2/3 career innings with Cincinnati.
Hoover will join a crowded but unsettled bullpen mix with the D-backs and compete for a job in Spring Training. If he wins a spot in the ’pen and rebounds from his disastrous 2016 results, the Snakes will be able to control him through the 2019 season via the arbitration process.