The Diamondbacks have signed righties Austin Adams and Eric Yardley and left-hander Jesse Biddle to minor league contracts, per Baseball America’s Chris Hilburn-Trenkle.
Adams, 31, has spent the past three seasons with the division-rival Padres, at times looking like a potential late-inning weapon. Injuries and command issues, however, have undercut the righty’s enormous strikeout numbers. Adams has appeared in 108 games and tallied 97 innings at the MLB level (mostly with the Padres), working to a solid 3.90 ERA along the way. He’s punched out a massive 34.2% of his opponents in the big leagues, walked 15.5% of them and, remarkably, plunked 6% of his opponents as well.
Troubling as that lack of command is, Adams misses bats at an elite rate, and when opponents do make contact, it’s rarely high-quality contact. He’s held opposing batters to a dismal 86.2 mph average exit velocity in his career, yielded just a 29.7% hard-hit rate and allowed only six home runs in 97 innings (433 batters faced).
Adams has been intriguing enough for the Mariners to trade for him and for the Padres to push for his inclusion alongside Austin Nola in the trade that sent Ty France and Andres Munoz to Seattle. There’s some obvious talent, thanks in no small part to a wipeout slider, but in addition to being his difficulties locating the ball, he’s endured a torn ACL in 2020 and a flexor strain that required surgery in 2022, limiting him to just two innings. Because of that latter procedure, which was performed in August, it’s possible Adams will be delayed to begin his season. If he makes it back to the big leagues, the D-backs will have at least two years of club control over him.
Yardley, 32, has pitched in parts of three big league seasons, spending time with the 2019 Padres and 2020-21 Brewers. He’s notched a tidy 3.52 ERA in that time, although fielding-independent metrics are far more bearish than his ERA — due largely to a tiny 13% strikeout rate and a slightly elevated 9.7% walk rate.
Yardley has offset that lack of punchouts in part with a massive 60.8% ground-ball rate and a solid 1.01 HR/9 mark. The righty’s submarine delivery has helped him to keep the ball on the ground and in the yard, although as is often the case, it’s also given him a notable platoon split; lefties have clobbered Yardley at a .312/.382/.468 clip in his big league career.
As for the 31-year-old Biddle, he’s returning from a one-year stint with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, where he pitched to a 4.02 ERA with a 24.4% strikeout rate and 10.9% walk rate out of the bullpen. The former first-round pick (27th overall by the Phillies in 2010) has appeared in parts of four Major League seasons, working to a 5.07 ERA in 103 frames. Biddle has fanned 22.2% of his opponents, issued walks at a bloated 13.1% clip and also recorded a hefty 52.8% ground-ball rate in that time.
Back in 2018, the Braves looked like they might’ve benefited from a shrewd waiver claim of Biddle, who pitched 63 2/3 innings of 3.11 ERA ball for them as a rookie that season. Since that solid debut, however, Biddle has been tagged for an 8.24 ERA in 39 1/3 big league innings.
Both pitchers will have the chance to factor into the Arizona bullpen at some point during the 2023 season. The Snakes have a handful of veterans on guaranteed contracts, including Mark Melancon, Miguel Castro and Scott McGough. They also enjoyed a breakout year from lefty Joe Mantiply and a strong 30-game run from 28-year-old Kevin Ginkel in the season’s second half. There are still multiple spots up for grabs, however, and injuries throughout the year will of course create additional opportunities for veterans of this ilk.
This one belongs to the Reds
Adams and Yardley look like good pickups with their track record.
Joey Bart Future MVP
That one reds fan that comments on every post.
Spring training must really be a reds fan favorite time of year.
This one belongs to the Reds
Gotta have something to talk about because our front office is sitting on their hands.
Those splits against lefties don’t look good for Yardley. He’s a Roogy
Adams is definitely a useful RP, but he has some limitations. Past few years he was throwing his slider like 80-90% of the time and its both a blessing and a curse. It doesn’t get hit hard, but he also hits an insane amount of batters with it and walks a bunch too.
I think SD thought he could be a backend bullpen piece when they picked him up because of how nasty the slider is, but if you push him to throw his slider all the time then it just makes his command worse. On the flip-side if he throws more fastballs , he gets hit more, so it’s a catch-22. I think he’s a good pickup, especially on a minor league deal, but there’s a ceiling to what he can do because of this setup.
The authors should give info on each player’s 2022 clubs. ie Yardley pitched in AAA for the Cubs and Blue Jays organization.
Wrong Austin Adams. You’re looking for https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/adamsau02.shtml
Maybe in some crazy scheme to turn a profit the Samsonite people made more than one!
The Dbacks finally signed someone with my last name…I hope he does well so I can proudly wear his jersey. All 3 look like good depth pickups.
Please use proper grammar. It’s not “troubling as that lack of command is,” it’s “AS troubling as that lack of command is.”
I don’t get why this continues to be so difficult for MLBTR writers.