Arizona Diamondbacks: Salvaging Yasmany Tomas

SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 20: David Peralta
SAN DIEGO, CA - MAY 20: David Peralta /

The Arizona Diamondbacks are doing what they can to make lemonade from the lemon that is Yasmany Tomas. Their newest gambit: make him a first baseman.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are attempting to salvage what they can from the six year, $68.5MM deal they signed with Cuban Yasmany Tomas in 2014. The Dbacks paid half a million more for Tomas than the White Sox paid the previous year for Cuban Jose Abreu – with decidedly different returns.

Abreu has become a fixture in the White Sox lineup, a steady contributor with that bat, if less capable in the field. And that’s where Tomas can steal an advantage. Though the Diamondbacks originally pegged Tomas as a third baseman, the hot corner no longer looks like a long-term landing spot. In an effort to find a spot for him on the roster, the Dbacks have Tomas working out at first base, per’s Steve Gilbert. The best-case expectation would be that Tomas could play the lesser half of a platoon with fellow first-base-transplant Jake Lamb.

Still, the high water mark is low. From 2015-2017, Tomas appeared in 305 games for the big league club in Arizona, mostly splitting time between left and right. The return has not impressed, as even in limited opportunity, Tomas has accumulated -30 DRS and a -15.0 UZR score.

Even if Tomas becomes a passable defender at first, it’s hard to envision enough growth in his overall game to truly become an asset for the Diamondbacks. There is definite value in a power bat that can handle the four corners, but that’s not what Tomas is. Not yet.

Last season was the first in his pro career when he did not make an appearance in the bigs, as the Dbacks outrighted him off the 40-man roster and Tomas floundered all season long in Triple A. In Reno, Tomas hit .262/.280/.465 with 14 long balls. That’s a solid power output, but with below-average on-base skills and below-average defense and below-average speed, there’s not much use for Tomas.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks are committed to Yasmany Tomas for $15.5MM this season and $17MM next season. Thus far, he’s been an unmitigated disaster. But if there’s any on-field value to extract for Tomas, the Diamondbacks will do their part to find it.