Arizona Diamondbacks: File And Trial For 4 Key Dbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks had until the arbitration exchange deadline at 1pm EST today to reach agreements with their arbitration eligible players.

For those players the Arizona Diamondbacks did not sign before today’s deadline, an arbitration process looms that sometimes gets personal. Each side will submit their contract numbers and make their case before the arbiters, who ultimately sets the 2019 salary for the player in question.

Notably, under GM Mike Hazen, the Dbacks stuck to the “file and trial” strategy to this deadline. Basically this means that Hazen and company treats this afternoon’s deadline as a hard deadline, after which no further negotiation will take place prior to arbitration, though long-term extensions are occasionally negotiated right down to the wire.

The Diamondbacks had a long list of arbitration eligible players at the outset of this offseason, though they trimmed the total by non-tendering Chris Owings, Brad Boxberger and Shelby Miller. Still, Hazen had a whopping 11 arbitration eligible players with to negotiate new contracts with before today’s deadline.

Contract details trickle in all afternoon, but most of the signings have come through already.

Contract Agreements

  • Andrew Chafin will make $1.945MM in 2019. Chafin, 29 in June, has played a significant role in Arizona’s bullpen for three of the last four seasons. As is the case with many middle reliever on teams without a ton of national notoriety, Chafin is undervalued around the league. That could change with a strong 2019. Don’t be surprised to see Chafin targeted as a mid-season trade candidate if the Diamondbacks fall out of contention as most suspect they will. Chafin will be arbitration eligible for the final time in 2020, so he’s controllable, inexpensive, effective, and he pitches from the left side. Over the last two seasons, he’s averaged 74 appearances with 10.2 K/9 to 4.1 BB/9 and a 3.31 ERA, 3.03 FIP. He’s been one of the most oft-used relievers the last two seasons, but he’s been much better in the first half of seasons than in the second half.
  • Lefty starter Robbie Ray will make $6.05MM in 2019. That’s pretty great value for the Diamondbacks, as we’ve noted in discussing Ray quite a bit here on Venom Strikes. We’ve been using $6.1MM as the salary number projected by MLBTR, so the actual here lands a tad south of that. It’s a big season for Ray, who has a chance to step into the spotlight as a top of the rotation lefty. But there’s risk too. If Ray gets bit with the injury bug again, the uncertainty over his potential will certainly swell. Hazen probably broached the subject of a long-term deal in coming to an agreement on this number, but since Ray has just one more season of arb eligibility after 2019, he will likely reengage Ray and his representatives during the season at some point. In my opinion, the Dbacks have to trade or extend him by the trade deadline in order to maximize his value moving forward.
  • Jake Lamb is set to earn $4.825MM in 2019. It’s a little surprising to see Lamb out-earn MLBTR’s prediction of $4.7MM, given the disaster of a season he had in 2018. The injury to his shoulder definitely could have played a major part in his isolated power bottoming out last season (.126 ISO), a below-average mark that does not represent his true power potential. He recorded excellent isolated power marks of .260 and .239 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The Dbacks likely expect him Lamb bounce back from his 56-game injury-shortened 2018 when he slashed only .222/.307/.348. Just about every metric went in the wrong direction for Lamb in his age-27 season, but with a fresh and healthy spring, he is a prime comeback candidate. He’s not a young player anymore, and a season as disastrous as Lamb’s 2018 often has residual affects, either because of mental insecurity or because of a recurrence of the physical ailment. Regardless, aging is a difficult process for an athlete, and if you aren’t fully healthy as your physical skills start to diminish, the process becomes even more confusing and disheartening. Luckily for Lamb, he’s only 28 now, still theoretically in the heart of his prime, so a solid 2019 campaign could right the ship.
  • Contract details aren’t yet in, but the team announced (via Twitter) one-year deals for Steven Souza Jr., Matt Andriese, and Taijuan Walker as well.

Interestingly, the announcement from the team came 13 minutes before the deadline, so while further agreements may have been reached in the waning moments before the deadline, as of this writing, the Arizona Diamondbacks are heading to arbitration with David Peralta, Nick Ahmed, T.J. McFarland and Archie Bradley. That’s a pretty significant subset of players for this season’s Diamondbacks.

Yesterday, the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal with catcher John Ryan Murphy, who could be crowded out of a catchers room that also includes veteran Alex Avila and young hopeful Carson Kelly.