The latest from Arizona…
- Robbie Ray threw a bullpen session on Tuesday and is on track to be activated off the injured list when first eligible on Sunday. (Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic was among those to report the news.) A lower back spasm sent Ray to the IL on August 15, and while the southpaw’s back has been something of a recurring issue lately, Ray feels the 10-day minimum absence was a long enough break to correct the problem. Ray is scheduled to start the Diamondbacks’ game against the Brewers on Sunday, and he’ll be a welcome addition to an Arizona team that is battling to stay in the wild card race.
- It has been a trying couple of years for Jake Lamb, who played only 56 games in 2018 due to shoulder surgery, and has been limited to just 50 games this season after a quad strain kept him on the IL for almost the entire first half. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lamb has yet to get into a rhythm, hitting .211/.346/.391 with five homers over 156 PA. Despite these struggles, Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen told the Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (subscription required) that he expects Lamb to get on track, and reacted with surprise when asked if Lamb could potentially be a non-tender candidate. “Wow, I wouldn’t anticipate that being a consideration for him,” Hazen said. Lamb is making $4.825MM this season, so a projected raise won’t be too large for Lamb’s final year of arbitration eligibility. There’s not much financial risk for the D’Backs in retaining Lamb to see if he can regain the form that saw him hit 59 homers in 2016-17, and make the NL’s All-Star roster in 2017.
- Nick Ahmed is slated to hit free agency after the 2020 season, though Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic suggests that the shortstop is the team’s best extension candidate, and that the D’Backs should look to keep Ahmed in the fold. Long regarded as one of baseball’s best defenders, Ahmed has taken a significant step forward at the plate this season, hitting .271/.333/.465 with 17 homers over 497 plate appearances. While this only grades out as roughly league-average production (101 wRC+, 103 OPS+), Ahmed had only a .229/.279/.368 slash line in 1584 PA prior to 2019, with a 67 wRC+ and 69 OPS+. Given that Ahmed’s offensive numbers are still modest, it could pave the way for an extension at a reasonable price for the team, and Ahmed might prefer some contractual security rather than test the market heading into his age-31 season. Ahmed is earning $3,662,500 this season and is set for a healthy raise on that figure in his final trip through the arbitration process this offseason.