The Diamondbacks announced several roster moves in advance of tonight’s Rule 5 protection deadline. One of them was the previously reported acquisition of reliever Carlos Vargas from the Guardians. They also added infielder Blaze Alexander, outfielders Jorge Barrosa and Dominic Fletcher, as well as righty Justin Martinez to the 40-man roster. In corresponding moves, they designated four players for assignment: infielder Sergio Alcántara, left-hander Caleb Smith and outfielders Stone Garrett and Jordan Luplow.
Alcántara had two separate stints on the Arizona roster this past season, with a brief stay in San Diego intervening. He bounced around the waiver wire on the strength of his glove at shortstop. He didn’t provide much offensively, however, putting up a .220/.261/.356 line in 224 trips to the plate. That’s fairly similar to the .205/.303/.327 showing he had in 2021 as a member of the Cubs.
Garrett and Luplow each played similar roles in the desert, serving as right-handed complements to a primarily left-handed outfield. Garrett had more success, posting a .276/.309/.539 showing with four home runs and eight doubles in his first 27 MLB games. That came with a 3:27 walk-to-strikeout ratio, and Arizona’s front office clearly wasn’t bullish on his chances of replicating that kind of success. Garrett joined the organization on a minor league deal but had a decent season at Triple-A Reno and could find some interest on the waiver wire.
The Snakes acquired Luplow in a trade with the Rays last offseason. They’d hoped he could replicate his career track record of success against left-handed pitching, but the veteran outfielder didn’t meet those expectations. Through 234 plate appearances, he posted a .176/.274/.361 line, although he did connect on 11 round-trippers. That wasn’t enough to convince Arizona to keep him around on a projected $2MM arbitration salary, making today’s DFA something of an early non-tender.
That’s also true of Smith, who’d been projected for a $2.7MM salary for his final year of club control. The 31-year-old southpaw pitched 44 times and soaked up 70 innings out of the bullpen this year, posting a 4.11 ERA. He was diagnosed with a ligament tear in his throwing elbow after the season but is electing to rehab without surgery. A former starter with the Yankees and Marlins, Smith had spent the past two and a half years in Arizona.
Taking their places on the roster are Vargas, Alexander, Barrosa, Fletcher and Martinez. Alexander may be the most notable of the group. An 11th-round selection out of a Florida academy in 2018, he had an excellent season for Double-A Amarillo. In 363 plate appearances, the right-handed hitting infielder posted a .306/.388/.539 line with 17 home runs, earning a late-season bump to Reno. He’s played all throughout the infield and has an excellent arm. Baseball America considers him the #15 prospect in the Arizona system.
Fletcher went 75th overall out of the University of Arkansas in the 2019 draft. A lefty-hitting outfielder, he split the year between the D-Backs’ top two affiliates. Fletcher, the younger brother of Angels infielder David Fletcher, combined for a .312/.378/.486 showing with 35 doubles over 591 plate appearances. He can cover all three outfield spots and is the #14 prospect in the system according to BA.
Barrosa checks in 22nd on that list. He’s a switch-hitter who only struck out in 15.7% of his plate appearances with Amarillo this year. The 21-year-old from Venezuela stole 22 bases and hit .276/.374/.438 while playing primarily center field for the Sod Poodles. Martinez, a native of the Dominican Republic, returned from injury to work as a reliever this year. He traversed three minor league levels, topping out at Triple-A.