The Diamondbacks announced that they won’t be exercising their club options on either infielder Wilmer Flores or left-hander T.J. McFarland. Flores’ $6MM option will be bought out for $500K, while McFarland will receive a $50K buyout rather than a $1.85MM salary for the 2020 season. In addition to these moves, the D’Backs also announced that outfielder Abraham Almonte and lefty Robby Scott have been outrighted to Triple-A.
Though a right foot contusion cost him almost two months of the season, Flores’ first year in Arizona was a successful one when he was able to take the field. The 28-year-old hit .317/.361/.387 over 285 PA, and while a particular power surge against left-handed pitching led to some significant splits (.337/.367/.615 against lefties, .304/.358/.404 against righties), Flores was still plenty dangerous against all types of pitching.
Flores was primarily used at second base last year, handling the keystone whenever Ketel Marte wasn’t in center field. Given that the D’Backs will again look to move Marte around the diamond next year, retaining Flores for the extra $5.5MM wouldn’t have seemed like an exorbitant choice. Then again, the team might not have expected Flores to duplicate his 2019 performance, given that Flores’ .362 wOBA far outpaced his .329 xwOBA, and he also had some notable batted-ball luck in the form of a .332 BABIP.
It isn’t out of the question that the Diamondbacks could look to re-sign Flores at a lesser price, though one would imagine he’ll get interest from multiple teams looking for a versatile infielder (Flores also saw a lot of action at third base during his time with the Mets) who can crush southpaws.
After posting a 2.00 ERA over 72 frames for Arizona in 2018, McFarland’s bottom-line numbers (4.82 ERA) came back down to earth last year, even though a lot of his peripheral statistics weren’t too dissimilar. The grounder specialist ran into trouble when he did let the ball get into the air last year, as McFarland’s 17.1% home run rate was a career high.