Arizona Diamondbacks – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-01-23T15:51:44Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Diamondbacks To Sign Chris Devenski]]> 2021-01-20T15:58:22Z 2021-01-20T14:28:06Z 8:28am: Devenski’s contract is a minor league deal, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The right-hander would earn a $1MM salary in the Majors with the opportunity to pick up an additional $350K via incentives for appearances and games finished.

7:34am: The Diamondbacks have agreed to a deal with right-handed reliever Chris Devenski, tweets Mark Feinsand of The ALIGND Sports client underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery in September and elected free agency after clearing waivers in October.

Devenski, 30, has spent his entire Major League career to date with the Astros organization. Originally a 25th-round pick of the White Sox back in 2011, he found himself traded to Houston just 14 months after the draft, as part of the deal sending Brett Myers to Chicago.

It wasn’t that long ago that Devenski looked to be an emerging bullpen weapon for the ’Stros. “Devo” finished fourth in American League Rookie of the Year voting back in 2016 after racking up 108 1/3 innings of 2.16 ERA ball with a 3.23 SIERA, a 25.5 percent strikeout rate and a minuscule 4.9 percent walk rate. He was similarly effective in 2017, tossing 80 2/3 frames with a 2.68 ERA/2.99 SIERA and what still stands as a career-best 31.6 percent strikeout mark.

Devenski took a step back in 2018-20, however. Although his strikeout and walk numbers remained generally solid, he began giving up hard contact at increasing rates and became exceptionally homer-prone, averaging 1.73 long balls surrendered per nine frames in that time. Statcast measured his 2016-17 hard-hit rate at just 26.7 percent, but his 2018-19 mark jumped all the way to 35.2 percent.

Prior to this past September’s elbow surgery, Devenski threw just 3 2/3 innings, having spent the rest of the year on the injured list. In that small sample of work, his once-94.8 mph average fastball had dipped to 92.9 mph.

There’s plenty of upside for the D-backs in signing Devenski, who’ll add an experienced arm to a largely untested group of Arizona relievers. In terms of service time, right-hander Yoan Lopez (2.011) is the most experienced reliever on the Diamondbacks’ 40-man roster. Arizona also added veteran southpaw Ryan Buchter on a minor league contract just yesterday, and it stands to reason that GM Mike Hazen and his staff will continue to hunt for affordable bullpen help in the weeks ahead.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Ryan Buchter To Minors Contract]]> 2021-01-19T20:20:12Z 2021-01-19T20:05:47Z The Diamondbacks have agreed to a minor league deal with left-hander Ryan Buchter, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (via Twitter).  Buchter will receive $925K if he makes Arizona’s Major League roster.

After signing a minors deal with the Angels last winter, Buchter posted a 4.50 ERA over six relief innings in 2020 before opting for free agency again in September rather than accept an outright assignment off the Angels’ 40-man roster.  Buchter caught on with the Yankees on another minor league deal but didn’t see any action with the team, hitting the open market again after the season.

Counting the D’Backs, Buchter has now been a member of 10 different organizations since being drafted in the 33rd round by the Nationals in 2005, and he has put together a solid MLB track record despite this journeyman resume.  Buchter has a 2.90 ERA over 220 career innings with the Braves, Padres, Royals, Athletics, and Angels, though his advanced metrics (26.8K%, 15.5K-BB%, 4.06 SIERA) aren’t as impressive.

Buchter has pretty even career splits against both left-handed (.620 OPS) and right-handed (.695 OPS) batters, and he’ll now have an opportunity to win a job in an Arizona bullpen that is short on southpaws.  Alex Young might end up being used in the starting rotation or potentially as a swingman, leaving Travis Bergen and Taylor Guilbeau as the only other lefty relief options on the 40-man roster.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Corey Kluber, Steve Cishek, Anthony Swarzak Throw For Teams]]> 2021-01-14T20:08:26Z 2021-01-14T13:20:59Z Jan. 14: ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that Kluber’s market could come together rather quickly with one throwing session for teams in the books. He’s not expected to require a second showcase to further demonstrate his health.

Jan. 13: Free-agent right-hander Corey Kluber held a showcase for interested teams today, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that relievers Anthony Swarzak and Steve Cishek both threw for teams as well. (All three are clients of Jet Sports Management, so it’s natural that they’d host the workout together.) As many as 25 teams were present, per The Atheltic’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Jeff Passan notes that Kluber’s velocity topped out at 90 mph, though given where he is in the rehab process from last year’s injuries, it wasn’t expected that he’d be up to peak velocity just yet. Eric Cressey, whose strength and conditioning facility hosted the showcase, told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers yesterday that Kluber was at 87-89 mph in the prior session. Cressey suggested that Kluber is already ahead of many pitchers who’ve not yet ramped up their throwing to this point. Kluber averaged 92 mph on his heater back during his excellent 2018 campaign.

The full list of teams in attendance isn’t known, although given that this was an open look at a two-time Cy Young winner and a pair of relievers with considerable late-inning MLB experience, it’d be more notable to learn which few teams weren’t in attendance than to know which clubs were. Still, it’s at least worth noting that each of the Mets, YankeesNationals, Red Sox, Rays, Twins, Cubs, Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Pirates, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks and Indians were all reported to be attending the showcase. Obviously, it’s not an all-encompassing list.

Broadly speaking, if Kluber is indeed at a point in his rehab that inspires confidence, one would imagine the market for him will be robust. The extent to which clubs are willing to bet on a guaranteed contract on the two-time Cy Young winner will vary, but he should easily command a big league deal with plenty of incentives on top of whatever base the highest bidder will commit.

Kluber may be something of a lottery ticket at this point, but few gambles come with such pronounced upside. From 2014-18, the right-hander was one of the game’s premier pitchers, working to a combined 2.85 ERA while striking out 28.5 percent of the hitters he faced against just a 5.2 percent walk rate. Only three of the 179 qualified starting pitchers in that time period — Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer — topped Kluber’s 23.3 K-BB%.

Since that time, however, he’s been limited to 36 2/3 innings by a fractured forearm (sustained when he was hit by a line drive), an oblique strain and a teres major strain. Traded from Cleveland to Texas last winter, Kluber pitched just one inning for the Rangers in 2020.

While most of the focus is understandably on Kluber, the presence of Swarzak and Cishek is certainly notable as well. Both righties are looking for rebounds of their own. Swarzak signed with the Phillies last winter but was released at the end of summer camp and didn’t sign with another club. A two-year, $14MM deal he signed with the Mets prior to the 2018 season proved regrettable, as shoulder issues torpedoed both of those seasons. However, back in 2017 Swarzak tossed 77 1/3 frames with a 2.33 ERA with 91 punchouts against just 22 walks.

Cishek, meanwhile, rattled off four straight seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA from 2016-19, leading to a $6MM deal with the White Sox last winter. He didn’t last on Chicago’s South Side, however, as he was roughed up for a 5.40 ERA in just 20 innings. Cishek’s control has been trending in the wrong direction the past couple of seasons, but he missed bats at his typical levels and didn’t see a velocity dip in 2020.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Sign Seven To Minor League Deals]]> 2021-01-11T21:59:34Z 2021-01-11T21:59:34Z The Diamondbacks announced the signing of seven players to minor league deals: Bryan Holaday, Seth Frankoff (previously reported), Bradley Roney, Sam Moll, Drew Weeks, Christian Lopes, and Jamie Ritchie, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter).

Out of this group, only Holaday, Frankoff and Moll have appeared in the majors. Holaday carries the most experience, having amassed 768 plate appearances with multiple teams (including 33 with the Orioles last season). The 33-year-old owns a .238/.283/.333 line with 10 home runs in the bigs. Moll, 29, has only appeared in MLB in one season – 2017, when he totaled 6 2/3 innings as a member of the Athletics. He has pitched to a much larger sample size of 131 innings in Triple-A and logged a 4.19 ERA.

Among the players here who haven’t reached the majors, Lopes earned the highest marks as a prospect, as Baseball America ranked the former seventh-round pick 23rd in the Blue Jays’ farm system in 2013. Lopes is now 28, though, and didn’t move beyond Triple-A ball with the Jays or the Rangers. He hit .272/.364/.426 with five HRs over 228 PA with the Rangers’ Triple-A team in 2019.


Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: Arizona Diamondbacks]]> 2021-01-08T23:36:09Z 2021-01-08T23:36:09Z The 2020 season was bitterly disappointing for the Diamondbacks, who entered the year with playoff aspirations before floundering to the National League’s second-worst record (25-35). Despite that, the Diamondbacks haven’t been active this winter, and that may not change to any significant extent.

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration-Eligible Players

This year’s arbitration projections are more volatile than ever, given the unprecedented revenue losses felt by clubs and the shortened 2020 schedule. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, who developed our arbitration projection model, used three different methods to calculate different projection numbers. You can see the full projections and an explanation of each if you click here, but for the purposes of our Outlook series, we’ll be using Matt’s 37-percent method — extrapolating what degree of raise a player’s 2020 rate of play would have earned him in a full 162-game slate and then awarding him 37 percent of that raise.

Free Agents

As last season was winding down for the Diamondbacks, CEO Derrick Hall expressed optimism about the team’s future but cautioned that it would be “far-fetched” for the Snakes to match their $124MM projected payroll from 2020. Hall hasn’t wavered from that since, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported earlier this week.

Considering Hall’s stance, it’s no shock that the club has been relatively silent since the offseason commenced a couple of months ago. Arizona’s biggest move so far has been exercising right-hander Merrill Kelly’s $4.25MM option, which came as a bit of a surprise after he underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in September. To Kelly’s credit, though, he performed quite well last year, leaving the D-backs content to roll the dice that he’ll return healthy and effective in 2021.

If Kelly is ready to go next year, the team’s rotation should be pretty much set (save for potential depth pickups, that is). Former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner had a stunningly poor year in 2020, his first season as a Diamondback. Nevertheless, with a contract that looks like an albatross, he isn’t going anywhere. Likewise, No. 1 starter Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver and Caleb Smith will stay in the fold. That group isn’t without promise. Bumgarner does have an enviable track record, so the hope is he’ll come close to revisiting his past form; Gallen has been outstanding during his first two seasons; Weaver was terrific two years ago, though he fell off a cliff in 2020 during his return from shoulder troubles; and Smith has at least shown the ability to miss bats.

The larger issue in the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff may be a bullpen that finished last year 18th in ERA and 25th in K-BB percentage. Stefan Crichton, Taylor Clarke and Alex Young are the only sure bets for next season’s bullpen, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic wrote earlier this winter. Among those three, only Crichton fared particularly well. All of the uncertainty leaves the D-backs in need of outside upgrades, but because of their financial situation, it’s up in the air whether they will actually make them. If they do, there are some free agents still available who could make sense as seemingly affordable targets. Kirby Yates, Alex Colome, Jake McGee, Sean Doolittle and ex-Diamondback Archie Bradley are just a handful of the familiar names looking for jobs on the relief market.

On the offensive side, Arizona stumbled to the majors’ 26th-ranked wRC+ and ended up 19th in runs scored. The Kole Calhoun signing worked out very well in Year 1, but the Diamondbacks lost one of their other top hitters – Starling Marte – in a trade with the Marlins at the August deadline. Their offense would look a lot stronger with Marte still around, but now it’s unclear who will start in center field on a regular basis next season. Ketel Marte, who went from 2019 MVP candidate to so-so in 2020, is a candidate, though the D-backs might rather have him at second base. Otherwise, there aren’t necessarily any other obvious choices on the roster, but Tim Locastro and Daulton Varsho could be possibilities. Jackie Bradley Jr. would seem to make sense as a free-agent pickup, especially considering the longtime Red Sox’s ties to former Boston executive and current Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen. However, Hazen is hamstrung by the Diamondbacks’ budget, so a Bradley signing might be out of the question.

Aside from second and center (depending on where they mainly deploy Ketel Marte), most of the Diamondbacks’ position player group looks to be set. Calhoun’s coming back, while catchers Carson Kelly and Stephen Vogt should continue handling that spot (and Varsho could get some time there). The same can be said for first baseman Christian Walker, third baseman Eduardo Escobar and shortstop Nick Ahmed. Left fielder David Peralta is also scheduled to return, though he has come up in plenty of trade rumors in the past (including this week). He’s due a guaranteed $15MM over the next two seasons, and though that isn’t an exorbitant amount, maybe the D-backs will be tempted to deal him if they want to save money.

While the offseason is still somewhat young, signs are pointing to the Diamondbacks bringing back mostly the same roster they put on the field in 2020. As part of his season-ending comments, Hall stated that there was “no indication that anyone wants to make changes as a result of this year. I also think it’s so difficult to judge the performance of either leadership or the majority of the players in such a short and strange season.” 

Although those words probably weren’t music to Diamondbacks’ fans ears, perhaps they can take solace in knowing this was a team that won a respectable 85 games just two years ago. However, they’re undoubtedly facing an uphill climb if they want to break their three-year playoff drought in 2021.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Diamondbacks To Sign Seth Frankoff To Minor-League Deal]]> 2021-01-08T18:19:47Z 2021-01-08T18:19:47Z The Diamondbacks are signing Seth Frankoff to a minor-league contract, MLBTR has learned. The 32-year-old made his return to MLB last year after spending the previous two seasons in South Korea.

A former Athletics, Cubs and Dodgers farmhand, Frankoff performed well for the Korea Baseball Organization’s Doosan Bears from 2018-19. Over a combined 266.2 innings between the two seasons, the right-hander posted a 3.68 ERA with solid strikeout (21.9%) and walk (7.6%) rates.

That showing earned Frankoff a minor-league deal from the Padres last winter. He failed to crack San Diego’s big league roster, though, and elected free agency. The Vanguard Sports client then signed a minor-league deal with the Mariners and eventually earned his way onto the roster. He made a pair of relief appearances before being optioned out and was eventually outrighted off Seattle’s 40-man.

Frankoff’s big league track record only consists of three MLB games (one with the 2017 Cubs). Nevertheless, he’ll be on hand as a flexible high-minors depth option for the D-Backs. Frankoff’s starting experience in Korea could make him an option for either the rotation or multi-inning relief if he shows well in the spring.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs Notes: Kluber, Peralta]]> 2021-01-05T18:29:58Z 2021-01-05T18:14:22Z
  • The Nationals and Diamondbacks will be among the teams who will have scouts at Corey Kluber’s showcase on January 13, as reported by The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli and Zach Buchanan (both Twitter links).  Washington has a clearer need for starting pitching than Arizona, but given the potential upside of adding a former Cy Young Award winner if Kluber can stay healthy, the veteran righty makes sense for practically every team in baseball.
  • “The Cardinals have talked about acquiring” David Peralta in the past, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, and Goold feels it would be logical for the Cards to again consider acquiring the Diamondbacks outfielder.  Peralta began his pro career with St. Louis back in 2004 before being released in 2009, and he has since gone on to become a solid contributor over seven MLB seasons with the D’Backs.  Peralta’s name has been periodically mentioned in trade rumors as the Diamondbacks’ fortunes have gone up and down over the years, but Arizona locked Peralta up on a contract extension last spring.  That same deal now could make Peralta an affordable (he is owed $7.5MM in both 2021 and 2022) trade target for a team like the Cardinals, who are both in need of outfield help and are seemingly trying to limit spending.  While the D’Backs have dealt several of their higher-paid players in recent years, however, there hasn’t been any indication that Arizona is considering a similar move involving Peralta or any of its pricier veterans this winter.  If anything, indications are that the D’Backs are leaning towards bringing much of their roster back, with the sense that 2020 was an aberration of a season.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Haruki Nishikawa Not Expected To Sign With MLB Team This Offseason]]> 2021-01-02T21:45:47Z 2021-01-02T21:45:12Z 3:45 pm: Nishikawa will not reach an agreement with an MLB club before this afternoon’s 4:00 pm CST deadline, per a report from Yahoo! Japan (link in Japanese). He’ll instead return to the Fighters for a tenth season in 2021.

    10:52 am: In early December, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters made center fielder Haruki Nishikawa available to major league teams via the posting system. That opened a 30-day window for MLB clubs to work out an agreement with Nishikawa; otherwise, the 28-year-old would return to the Fighters for at least another season.

    Today marks the final day of Nishikawa’s posting window, as was first noted last month by Jon Morosi of (Twitter link). While no one knows if the left-handed hitter will put pen to paper in the coming hours, it seems he has attracted the attention of a few MLB teams. Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported earlier this week (Japanese-language link) that the Astros, Blue Jays, Cardinals and Diamondbacks were among those with interest in the outfielder. It isn’t clear if any of those four (or any other MLB club) has actually put forth a formal offer, however.

    Over parts of nine seasons at Japan’s highest level, Nishikawa has hit .286/.382/.394. He’s coming off a very strong 2020 seasons with the Fighters, wherein he slashed .306/.430/.396 with more walks than strikeouts across 523 plate appearances. Nishikawa has never been much of a power threat, but he’s consistently hit for high batting averages and drawn plenty of walks.

    If Nishikawa were to come to an agreement with an MLB team, the signing team would owe a release fee to the Fighters. That fee, which comes on top of the contract paid to the player himself, is equal to 20 percent of the contract’s first $25MM, plus 17.5 percent of the next $25MM and 15 percent of any dollars thereafter. Nishikawa’s track record in NPB is lesser than that of countryman Shogo Akiyama, who inked a three-year, $21MM deal with the Reds last winter. It’d be a surprise to see Nishikawa top that mark, so in all likelihood his posting fee will fall squarely into that first tier, 20-percent bracket. Nishikawa’s former Fighters teammate, right-hander Kohei Arihara, signed with the Rangers last week.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Managers & Top Front Office Executives On Expiring Contracts]]> 2020-12-27T14:11:27Z 2020-12-27T02:28:41Z A unique set of challenges faced anyone running a Major League franchise in 2020, between dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and then the difficulties involved in playing games during the delayed-then-shortened season.  Nevertheless, it seemed like only a certain amount of slack was granted the sport’s managers and front office leaders (whether that top title was president of baseball operations, general manager, chief baseball officer, etc.) through the turbulent year, as we still saw a number of teams make changes either in the dugout or at the top of the baseball ops department.

    As such, it’s fair to assume that a “normal” amount of pressure to put a winning — or championship-winning — team on the field will be the same in 2021 as in any usual season, even if 2021 is already looking it may have its own share of abnormality.  That means that for managers and executives heading into the last guaranteed year of their contracts, job security will likely be on the line in the coming months.

    Thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for information on the various contractual details of team personnel, though this list may not be complete.  Some teams don’t publicly reveal contract lengths of managers or front office execs, so it’s possible some of these names might be locked up beyond 2021 whether due to the original terms of their current deals or due to extensions that haven’t been announced.

    Astros: Originally signed to a one-year deal with a club option for 2021, Dusty Baker saw Houston exercise that option last summer, lining Baker up for his 24th season running a Major League dugout.  Recent comments from Baker indicate that the 71-year-old is taking something of a year-by-year approach to his future, though if the Astros again reach the postseason, one would imagine the team would certainly have interest in retaining Baker for 2022.  A longer-term extension seems unlikely, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if at least another club option (or even a mutual option) was tacked onto Baker’s deal to give both sides some flexibility going forward.

    Athletics: While major postseason success continues to elude the team, Oakland has reached the playoffs in each of the last three years.  This makes six postseason appearances for Melvin in 10 years managing the A’s, and it seems likely the team will discuss another extension for Melvin as he enters the final year of his current contract.  While Billy Beane’s possible departure would naturally have a major impact on the Athletics, the likelihood of longtime executive and current GM David Forst taking over the baseball operations department would probably mean that Melvin would be welcomed back.

    Blue Jays: Charlie Montoyo is entering the last guaranteed year of his original three-year contract, and the Jays hold a club option on Montoyo’s services for 2022.  That option could be exercised to give Montoyo a bit more security as a reward for leading Toronto to the playoffs last year, though expectations are certainly higher for the 2021 team.  It should also be noted that there hasn’t yet been any official confirmation that president/CEO Mark Shapiro has signed a new contract with the team after his five-year deal ran out after last season, but last October, Shapiro seemed to imply that a new deal was all but complete.

    Braves: After going from interim manager to full-time manager following the 2016 season, Brian Snitker has twice been signed to extensions — most recently last February, when Atlanta turned its 2021 club option on Snitker into a guaranteed year.  Snitker has led the Braves to three straight NL East titles and the team fell one game shy of the NL pennant last October, so Snitker seems like a prime candidate for another extension prior to Opening Day.

    Diamondbacks: 2020 was an overall disappointing year for a D’Backs team that was aiming for the postseason, but team president/CEO Derrick Hall indicated that the organization wasn’t planning to make any wholesale changes due to the season’s unusual nature.  This bodes well for manager Torey Lovullo as he enters the last year of his contract, and it seems possible Arizona could add another year to Lovullo’s deal just so he can avoid lame-duck status.

    Mariners: Both GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais were in the final year of their contracts when both inked extensions with Seattle in July 2018.  The terms of those extensions weren’t known, but 2021 would be the final guaranteed year for both if the extensions were three-year deals like their original contracts, though it’s possible Dipoto and Servais each got more security than just a three-year pact.  The Mariners have mostly been in rebuild mode since those extensions were signed, and with the team only starting to deliver on some of the young talent amassed in the farm system, ownership could give Dipoto (and quite possibly Servais) more time to see if they can finally get the M’s back to the playoffs.  Considering the previous extensions weren’t announced until midseason, we might not know Dipoto/Servais’ fate for some time — and if the Mariners get off to a particularly disappointing start, changes might be in the offing.

    Marlins: One of few holdovers from Jeffrey Loria’s ownership, Don Mattingly was signed to a two-year extension following the 2019 season that contained a club option for 2022.  The young Marlins reached the postseason last season, so Mattingly has a good case to at least get his option exercised at some point this year, and another extension could well be discussed if CEO Derek Jeter and GM Kim Ng are satisfied with the team’s progress.  It can’t hurt that Ng knows Mattingly well from her past days an assistant general manager with the Yankees and Dodgers.

    Mets: The winds of change have swept through the Mets organization this winter, yet Luis Rojas wasn’t affected, as team president Sandy Alderson announced that Rojas will remain in the dugout for 2021.  Making the move from quality control coach to manager after Carlos Beltran’s quick resignation last winter, Rojas signed a two-year deal with club options for both 2022 and 2023.  Expectations are definitely higher for Rojas under the Steve Cohen regime, but given all of the tumult of the 2020 season, Cohen and Alderson (plus newly-hired GM Jared Porter) seem interested in seeing what they actually have in Rojas before deciding on whether a new manager is required.

    Orioles: According to The Athletic’s Dan Connolly, “one industry source said it’s believed” that 2021 is the last guaranteed year of manager Brandon Hyde’s contract, with the club possibly holding a club option for 2022.  For that matter, executive VP/general manager Mike Elias didn’t have his contract terms revealed when he was hired in November 2018, so he could also be in his final guaranteed year if he hired Hyde on a similar timeline to his own deal.  It doesn’t seem like a change is coming in either the front office or the dugout, as the Orioles are still at least a couple of years away from coming out of a complete rebuild.  (Connolly makes the case that Hyde should be retained, as Hyde has had little to work with as manager and deserves a chance to steward an actual competitive roster.)

    Rangers: Chris Woodward is entering the last guaranteed year of his deal, with the Rangers holding a club option for 2022.  Woodward has a 100-122 record over his first two years in the Texas dugout, and since the team is looking to get younger in 2021, it doesn’t seem like an immediate return to contention is in the cards.  If it’ll be a year or two until the Rangers are done with what seems like a mini-rebuild, it’s possible the team might decide to hire a new manager to herald them into something of a new era.  Woodward may have to prove himself anew by shepherding this younger talent and keeping the Rangers as competitive as possible while they shuffle the roster.

    Rays: Erik Neander’s contract terms aren’t known, and it has been over four years since his promotion to the GM/senior VP of baseball operations position in November 2016.  So, if Neander’s new gig came with a five-year contract, it would be up at the end of 2021.  He makes the list due to uncertainty over his contractual situation, but it doesn’t seem like Neander and the Rays will be parting company any time soon, especially after the club reached the 2020 World Series.  Neander reportedly has no interest in leaving the organization and the Rays turned down the Angels’ request to speak with Neander about their GM opening earlier this offseason.

    Reds: 2021 is the last guaranteed year for manager David Bell, with the Reds holding a team option for 2022.  On the plus side for Bell, he led the team to the playoffs in 2020, though Cincinnati was swept out of the two-game wild card series without scoring even a single run against Atlanta pitching.  The Reds spent a lot of money to build that winning team, yet now seem focused on moving salaries, with Raisel Iglesias dealt to the Angels and such names as Eugenio Suarez and Sonny Gray also coming up in trade talks.  It remains to be seen if the Reds are trying to just trim payroll or make more wholesale cuts, and this direction could certainly impact Bell’s future if the club is already thinking rebuild.

    Rockies: Now through six full seasons as Colorado’s GM, Jeff Bridich’s contractual status is unknown.  Between the Rockies’ struggles over the last two years and the frosty relationship between Bridich and star third baseman Nolan Arenado, it would certainly seem like Bridich will need to get things turned around quickly.  However, payroll cuts appear to be on the horizon, and the front office is also dealing with the loss of two-thirds of the analytics department.  As has been noted many times in the past, Rockies owner Dick Monfort tends to give his employees lots of opportunities, but if Bridich’s contract is up any time soon, one wonders if Monfort might feel a change is necessary.

    Yankees: While no official statement has been made, owner Hal Steinbrenner clearly stated after the season that manager Aaron Boone will be returning in 2021, so it’s safe to assume the Yankees have exercised their club option on Boone.  There hasn’t been any buzz about an extension, and until then, there will be plenty of media focus on Boone’s lame-duck status.  Boone has a 236-148 record and three postseason appearances in his three seasons as manager, but as always in the Bronx, the focus is on playoff success — the Yankees have only made it as far the ALCS once during Boone’s tenure.  Anything short of a World Series appearance could spell the end of Boone’s stint as manager.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs Receiving Interest In Starters]]> 2020-12-14T03:04:11Z 2020-12-14T03:04:11Z
  • The bulk of the Diamondbacks’ talks with other teams has focused on pitching, with rival clubs showing interest in Arizona’s starters.  The D’Backs have something of a surplus of rotation options on paper, with a projected starting five of Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Luke Weaver, Caleb Smith, Merrill Kelly ahead of other potential depth arms like Taylor Clarke, Alex Young or prospect Corbin Martin.  Speaking to’s Steve Gilbert and other reporters, D’Backs general manager Mike Hazen said “I think we have to be in a position to listen to what people have to say” in terms of trade offers, though “I think we’re somewhat reluctant to talk about pitching, just because of our feeling on the amount of pitching we’re going to need.”  Kelly is the most obvious question mark since he underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in September, though the right-hander was very pleased with his recovery process as of November.  Beyond Kelly, Bumgarner and Weaver each struggled last season, and while the Diamondbacks are hopeful both can bounce back, the club would surely like to have more depth on hand just in case.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Diamondbacks Targeting Bullpen Upgrades]]> 2020-12-13T22:03:40Z 2020-12-13T22:03:40Z
  • Also from Rosenthal, the Diamondbacks are prioritizing bullpen help and are in the market for a right-handed hitting outfielder. That lines up rather directly with the types of players Arizona sold off at last summer’s trade deadline. Starling MartéArchie Bradley and Andrew Chafin were all sent elsewhere after the D-Backs fell out of the playoff picture. (Bradley and Chafin are now free agents, so nothing prohibits the Arizona front office from pursuing reunions with either player if they’re so inclined). After doling out multi-year deals for Madison BumgarnerNick Ahmed and David Peralta last offseason, Arizona doesn’t figure to play at the top of the market this winter, Rosenthal feels. That probably rules out a Liam Hendriks pursuit, but there are plenty of lower-cost relievers available on the open market.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Mets Hire Jared Porter As General Manager]]> 2020-12-13T20:36:31Z 2020-12-13T20:35:12Z DECEMBER 13: The Mets have officially announced Porter’s hiring as general manager. He signed a four-year contract.

    DECEMBER 12: The Mets have focused their search for a new general manager on Arizona Diamondbacks Assistant GM Jared Porter, per MLB Insider Jon Heyman (via Twitter). Porter has been talked about in conjunction with a number of front office openings, including the recent Angels’ opening, for which he was a finalist. Joel Sherman of the New York Post confirms that the Mets are now working to finalize a four-year agreement with Porter (Twitter links). The two sides are merely working out some final details, adds Heyman.

    Porter’s background is in professional scouting, though he isn’t limited to any one area in his current role with the Diamondbacks. Prior to joining the Diamondbacks, he was the Director of Professional Scouting for the Cubs for two seasons, a title he held with the Red Sox from 2012 to 2015. Currently, he’s a Senior VP & Assistant GM to Mike Hazen in Arizona, a position he’s held for since just after winning the World Series with the Cubs. Hazen hired Porter in November of 2016.

    Porter has contributed to four World Series winners, including a pair of “cursebreakers” in Boston and Chicago. Sherman offers this assessment of Porter: “Reputation as personable, hardworking, scout at heart who knows analytics, not afraid to make decisions. Theo Epstein disciple.” Porter will work closely now with Sandy Alderson to head up the Mets baseball operations department.

    Back in 2017, Porter was kind enough to grant an interview to MLBTR, which can be found in two parts: here and here.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Marlins Acquire Zach Pop From Diamondbacks]]> 2020-12-10T19:46:29Z 2020-12-10T19:38:54Z The Miami Marlins have acquired Zach Pop from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later, the Marlins announced. Pop was taken with the sixth pick of today’s Rule 5 draft from the Baltimore Orioles.

    This marks the second deal made with players selected in today’s draft, following the Pirates acquisition of Luis Oviedo, which was announced just moments after the Mets made the selection. Oviedo was selected from the Cleveland Indians organization.

    Pop, 24, came to the Orioles as part of the Manny Machado trade. He missed all but eight appearances of the 2019 season with Tommy John surgery, but he remains an intriguing bullpen arm. He boasts a sterling 1.34 ERA across three minor league seasons.

    After adding Pop and catcher Paul Campbell from the Rays with their own pick in the Rule 5 draft, the Marlins 40-man roster is currently full.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Nationals Claim Rogelio Armenteros]]> 2020-12-07T19:58:18Z 2020-12-07T19:58:18Z The Nationals announced that they’ve claimed right-hander Rogelio Armenteros off waivers from the Diamondbacks. Arizona picked up the righty in a waiver claim of their own after the Astros tried to pass him through outright waivers earlier this winter. Washington’s 40-man roster is at 34 players.

    Armenteros, 26, didn’t pitch in 2020 owing to surgery that removed a bone spur from his right elbow. He made his big league debut with the Astros in 2019, however, and pitched to a 4.00 ERA with an 18-to-5 K/BB ratio in 18 innings (four starts). The righty has a generally sharp track record in parts of three seasons in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League, having compiled a 3.73 ERA with averages of 10 strikeouts, 3.4 walks and 1.2 homers per nine innings pitched.

    Though the elbow procedure creates some uncertainty, it’s clear that Armenteros is still viewed as an intriguing depth option with some upside, as we’ve now seen a pair of clubs claim him this winter. He does have a minor league option remaining, which surely appealed to the Nats, who have some uncertainty at the back of their rotation. After Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, the Nats don’t have set fourth and fifth starters. Armenteros will join a group of candidates that includes Erick Fedde, Joe Ross and Austin Voth — assuming the Nats opt to carry Armenteros on the roster for the remainder of the offseason, of course.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[D'Backs Notes: Porter, Hazen, Offseason Plans]]> 2020-12-01T19:30:25Z 2020-12-01T19:30:25Z
  • Diamondbacks assistant GM Jared Porter “is the heavy favorite” to become the Cubs’ next general manager, according to The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma (subscription required).  Newly-minted Chicago president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer has stated that he wants to make an external hire for the GM job in order to bring a fresh viewpoint into the Cubs’ front office, though Porter is still a known quantity, having previously worked with Hoyer in both Chicago and Boston.  Other speculative general manager possibilities for the Cubs include another Diamondbacks AGM in Amiel Sawdaye, as well as former Marlins president of baseball ops Michael Hill.
  • The Diamondbacks had a busy offseason last year, and general manager Mike Hazen “wouldn’t anticipate that type of a splash” this winter since “the majority of the work we did last offseason was for multiple years,” Hazen told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (subscription required).  Many of those roster moves didn’t pan out during a last-place season for the team, but while Hazen said the Snakes are examining how and why they performed as they did in 2020, the smaller sample size of the shorter season is a factor in evaluation: “One of the lasting questions that we all have was what was real about the 60 games.”  In terms of potential offseason needs, Hazen cited relief pitching, a right-handed hitting outfielder, and possibly third base, though Hazen is confident of a bounce-back year from Eduardo Escobar.
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