The Arizona D-backs signed Jarrod Dyson to provide outfield depth and defense off the bench. His signing fills one glaring need for Manager Torey Lovullo. It also creates a surplus of tradable assets for GM Mike Hazen.
I guess hindsight really is 20/20. On Patrick Corbin’s slide (#5) in Venom Strikes’ Top 10 Highest Paid Arizona D-backs in 2018 list, I declared, “The D-backs could use, at the least, a dazzling fourth outfielder to join forces with their current group”.
Even though I missed the boat by a couple of hours regarding the Diamondbacks big news yesterday, I was on the same wavelength as Arizona’s think tank in terms of the need to add that type of player to the roster.
Jarrod Dyson and the D-backs agreed on a contract that will keep him in AZ for the next two seasons. He’ll fill a bench role and occasionally start against right-handed pitchers while providing dependable defense to all three outfield spots.
Although by no means a bargain, Dyson’s contract is neither exorbitant in terms of length nor total dollars. In fact, he fell just short of being in our top 10 money list. Of his highest paid new teammates, he comes in at 11th earning $3.75 million in each year of the deal.
Dyson is a speedster who hits meekly with only 12 career home runs. He has fared better against right-handed pitchers, though, sporting a .267/.332/.372 slash line against them over eight seasons.
However, where Dyson’s value truly lies is in his defense.
Although Dyson has played mostly center throughout his career, with his range, he can handle any of the three outfield positions when asked. Because Arizona already has A.J. Pollock manning center field, the most effective use of Dyson might be as a defensive substitution and pinch runner late in tight games. Dyson can take over in center field with Pollack sliding over to an outfield corner.
As an impending free agent, Pollack is playing with everything to gain this year and deserves to start almost every day in center field if he’s healthy. Likewise, left-handed hitter David Peralta should, barring injury, be a mainstay at either corner outfield position this year.
Because of Dyson’s left-handed swing, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo is now able to play matchups a little more than he did last year. As for defensive underdog Yasmany Tomas, he’ll be relied upon much less to play an outfield position and utilized more often off the bench and as a pinch hitter.
Or maybe Arizona’s newly created outfield depth could allow them to trade one of their positional players.
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Tomas is a tough sell. He has more than $32 million owed to him for two more years after this year’s $10 million salary. Maybe an American League team would value him at DH, but usually teams will want most of the player’s salary paid for, or prospects in return, to offset the cost of dead money like that.
More than likely, the Diamondbacks will have to swallow their pride and their money on Tomas’s contract. Eventually they may end up faced with a decision to cut him loose if there are no interested trade partners and his production doesn’t warrant the roster spot anymore.
To me, Dyson’s presence has made another player seem very likely dangled in a trade.
After years of being utilized all over the diamond, Chris Owings is suddenly a player without a position in Arizona. Set to earn $3.4 million this year and team-controlled for another via arbitration, Owings plays some outfield, but is primarily a short stop. Unfortunately for him, Arizona has the younger Ketel Marte champing at the bit for a chance to show his mettle at short.
Chris Owings makes sense as a trade chip now.
The Diamondbacks have the positional depth needed to win. They’ve also created a surplus of players from which to possibly trade. Now, or at some point during the season.
With the recent addition of free agent Jarrod Dyson, the Arizona D-backs have filled one glaring need at a reasonable cost. Eager to get to work with his new team and prove to them he was worth every penny, Jarrod was even able to join the D-backs in time for photo day at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Welcome to AZ, J.D.
Jarrod Dyson is an exceptional athlete able to provide Arizona with outfield depth for the next two years. He’s a left-handed hitter who can come off the bench and defend well at all three outfield positions. Dyson will create a luxury for his manager, Torey Lovullo, and perhaps force the trade of a longtime D-back.