The Diamondbacks are removing right-hander Zack Godley from the rotation and placing him in the bullpen, manager Torey Lovullo said in an appearance on the Burns & Gambo show on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports. A replacement for Godley in the rotation has yet to be decided upon.
It’s been an awful start to the season for the 29-year-old Godley, who has seen his walk rate increase as his strikeout rate and velocity have decreased over the past couple of seasons. Through six starts (29 2/3 innings), he’s limped to a 7.58 with 25 strikeouts against 18 walks, two hit batters and three wild pitches.
Control has obviously been a significant struggle for Godley, but his ground-ball rate is also down a whopping 14 percent from his career year in 2017. He’s also seen his average fastball dwindle from 91.9 mph in ’17 to 89.9 mph this year, and his swinging-strike and opponents’ chase rates rates have each dipped at least three percent. Sending Godley to the minors to try to get back on track wasn’t on the table, as the righty is out of minor league option and would’ve needed to pass through outright waivers in order to be sent down.
As far as in-house options, top prospect Jon Duplantier is the most appealing potential replacement for Godley, but as 98.7’s Kevin Zimmerman notes, Duplantier was just optioned to Triple-A on Sunday and would need to remain in the minors for 10 days before he could be recalled (unless he came up as an injury replacement). Well-regarded prospect Taylor Widener is off to a dismal start in Reno this season, and that’s largely true of the team’s entire collection of starters in Triple-A. Righty Emilio Vargas has thrown well for Double-A to open the season and is already on the 40-man roster, but his experience above A-ball is limited.
The struggles for Godley could scarcely come at a worse time. The late-blooming righty fell just weeks shy of arbitration eligibility this past offseason and came into the season with two years, 112 days of MLB service. A solid — or even passable — season in the rotation would’ve set him up for his first seven-figure salary in pro ball. While it’s certainly possible that he’ll return to form and move back into the rotation by season’s end, the ugly start and a move to what figures to be a low-leverage relief role won’t do his earning power any favors — assuming he sticks on the roster and ultimately qualifies for arbitration.