Atlanta had somewhat surprisingly designated Webb for assignment last week. The 28-year-old has generally been an effective bullpen piece over the past few seasons, tossing 76 2/3 innings of 2.47 ERA ball since debuting in 2019. That included a sterling 1.39 mark in 32 1/3 frames as a rookie, although Webb’s peripherals that season were more ordinary. Unfortunately, Webb spent notable chunks of each of his first couple seasons on the injured list. In 2019, went down in August with a season-ending elbow impingement. The following year, he missed the first month and a half of the shortened schedule because of a shoulder strain.
Webb returned to health last season and worked 34 1/3 frames with a 4.19 ERA. His 21.6% strikeout rate is a few points below the MLB average, but that belies some excellent swing-and-miss numbers on a per-pitch basis. Webb racked up swinging strikes on 15.6% of his offerings last year, one of the top marks around the league.
Arizona will take a low-risk flier to see if he can translate that whiff rate into a few more punchouts and settle into the middle innings. The D-Backs had one of the league’s worst bullpens last season, giving Webb plenty of opportunity to stake a claim to a spot. He has a minor league option year remaining as well, so the Snakes can shuttle him between Arizona and Triple-A Reno for the remainder of the year if he sticks on the 40-man roster.
Fairchild loses his spot on the 40-man roster and will be traded or placed on waivers within the next week. A second-round pick of the Reds in 2017, he was dealt to the D-Backs alongside the since-traded Josh VanMeter at the 2020 deadline for reliever Archie Bradley. Fairchild posted a strong .295/.385/.564 line in 44 games with Reno last year to earn his first MLB call, but he only appeared in 12 contests with Arizona.
Optioned back to Triple-A to open this season, Fairchild has gotten off to a miserable start. He’s hitting .162/.279/.378 in 43 trips to the dish, striking out 15 times. In the wake of that rough start, the D-Backs decided to bump Fairchild off the roster. He still has a pair of options and can cover all three outfield positions, so it’s not out of the question a team that liked the 26-year-old as a prospect takes a shot on him.