The Arizona Diamondbacks came into spring training with very few roster spots set in stone, and a lot of open competition set to take place. So its no surprise that the Diamondbacks waited till the last minute to decide their Opening Day roter.
Yesterday, the team announced that left-hander Andrew Chafin had won the final bullpen spot. Later the team made their last two roster moves announcing their decisions at third base, and at catcher when Jordan Pacheco and Gerald Larid each won spots on the 25 man roster.
Left-handers Vidal Nuno and Robbie Ray were sent down to Triple A-Reno, right hander Enrique Burgos was optioned to Double-A Mobile, and catcher Blake Lalli was reassigned to the minors.
There were reports saying that the Texas Rangers had interest in Vidal Nuno, but Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said a trade wasn’t likely going to happen.
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This announcement is a little surprising for a couple of reasons. First of all, Enrique Burgos had a really nice spring, and many feel it’s just a matter of time before Burgos, Jake Barrett, Kaleb Fleck, and Will Locante reach the bigs.
Chafin also didn’t put up the greatest numbers this spring posting a 4.73 era with 14 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. The command was certainly there, but the era isn’t where he would like it.
However, I also completely understand the decision to go with Chafin. He has major league experience , and the 24 year old opened the teams eyes late last season when he pitched to a 3.86 era in three starts.
The Diamondbacks wanted to have three long relievers in the pen, and Burgos was never going to get that role, so Chafin essentially beat out Nuno.
Personally, I really like his versatility. He can pitch many innings after a starter struggles to help save the rest of the pen for the next game, or he can come in for an inning and get crucial outs. That had to have factored in to the decision.
He is also a left-hander, and the Diamondbacks bullpen consists of mostly right-handers. In 2014, lefties hit just .231 off him.
I think he will be a nice addition to the pen. Besides, Burgos will be in the bigs sooner rather than later.