6:05pm: In a stunning twist, the Snakes are not dropping Jake Lamb but are parting ways with Taijuan Walker, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter) and John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM (via Twitter). Walker had seemed to be a prime bounceback candidate, albeit also a clear injury risk at a $5.025MM projected price tag.
The Arizona org has more information than the rest of us regarding the status of Walker’s right arm. He was stricken of late by a torn ulnar collateral ligament and then a shoulder injury. Though the talented hurler made it back to the majors — if only barely — the Diamondbacks front office obviously saw reason to doubt whether Walker could return to anything approaching his former performance level.
Meanwhile, Lamb receives quite a vote of confidence (and a nice payday, unless he’s cut loose at a later time). He’s projected to earn $5.0MM after two lost seasons. Injuries played a role in his downturn after several productive campaigns, but Lamb seemed a likely non-tender candidate after turning in a cumulative .208/.315/.350 slash since the start of 2018.
5:27pm: The Diamondbacks have non-tendered outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and catcher Caleb Joseph, according to reports from Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (Twitter link) and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). MLBTR had projected the former to earn $4.125MM and the latter to take home $1.2MM in arbitration.
When the Snakes acquired Souza on the heels of a productive 2017 effort, the hope was that he’d be a high-quality corner outfield piece. But things just never shook out in Arizona. He scuffled through a forgettable 72-game stint in 2018 and never even made it on to the field in 2019.
Souza’s major knee injury last spring not only wrecked his ’19 campaign but put his future in doubt. Fortunately, there are some signs of optimism in the health department. He’ll represent an interesting buy-low target for the right organization, while the D-Backs will look to invest their payroll elsewhere.
As for Joseph, he’ll be a candidate to compete for a reserve role or take up a depth spot at Triple-A. While he’s trusted behind the dish, Joseph has a meager .223/.270/.350 career batting line in the majors.