The Diamondbacks have placed starting pitcher Zach Davies on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 26, due to right shoulder inflammation. Reliever Sean Poppen was recalled from Triple-A Reno to take his place on the active roster.
A timetable for Davies’ return isn’t clear, although the injury could have an impact on the summer trade market. The right-hander is one of the game’s more straightforward trade candidates if healthy. He’s an inexpensive veteran role player, and Arizona’s recent slump has dropped them to 33-41 and almost assuredly out of contention. Davies’ contract contains a mutual option for the 2023 season, but those are rarely trigged by both player and team. He’s an impending free agent in all likelihood, and the D-Backs figure to move some players on short-term deals for future value.
The Cubs acquired Davies from the Padres as part of the Yu Darvish trade over the 2020-21 offseason. He made 32 starts for the North Siders last year but struggled to a 5.78 ERA with nearly as many walks as strikeouts over 148 innings. It was arguably the worst season of his career and diminished his value before his first trip to the open market. Davies lingered in free agency until late March before landing with the Snakes on a modest $1.75MM guarantee.
He’s quietly had a nice bounceback season in the desert, posting a 3.94 ERA over 15 turns through the rotation. He’s still not missing many bats, but the 29-year-old has righted the uncharacteristic control woes that cropped up last year. After walking over 11% of opponents in 2021, he’s cut the rate of free passes below 8% this season. Paired with an average 43.2% ground-ball rate and his durability prior to this shoulder issue, Davies again looks like a stable source of back-of-the-rotation innings.
There are exactly five weeks until the August 2 trade deadline. If Davies can return from the IL in relatively short order and demonstrate his health, he figures to be among a host of back-end arms who could change hands this summer. A lengthier stint may jeopardize the D-Backs chances of moving him. Players on the injured list are eligible to be traded, but it’s likely contending clubs in search of innings would look elsewhere if Davies were still on the shelf at the end of July. The team will presumably provide more details on his recovery outlook over the coming days.