A look at the Diamondbacks 2022 Small Arbitration Class

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Luke Weaver #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at Oracle Park on September 28, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Luke Weaver #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at Oracle Park on September 28, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Luke Weaver Arbitration Arizona Diamondbacks 2021-22
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 28: Luke Weaver #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning at Oracle Park on September 28, 2021, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Arizona Diamondbacks are well into their off-season already, despite the MLB playoffs still going on. As such, they are surely trying to figure out what players to sign to extensions, offer a contract to, what each arbitration player will get, and what players they will be interested in signing off the free-agent market this winter. With that said, the team is rather young. They have 27 players on their current 40-man roster under the age of 27. That’s a lot.

As such, one would think that they would have a large arbitration class this year. Surprisingly enough, that’s not the case. Many of their players are still in their rookie years or just completed their first season in the Majors. Due to that, they won’t hit arbitration for at least one more year, if not more. This is of course presuming that when the new CBA is agreed to, nothing drastic happens with player service time and contracts. If something happens, we will be sure to publish a new article about all the new changes.

Anyways, we are going to be looking at the Diamondbacks 2022′ Arbitration class, or the players that will be getting an arbitration contract over the 2021-22 offseason. The Dbacks only have 5 eligible players that are into their arbitration years. Arbitration covers the MLB service years 4-6 unless a pre-signed extension covers those years. I took the expected dollar amount for what we expect each player’s 2022 contract to look like from the famous and oft-correct MLB Trade Rumors’ Matt Schwartz’s arbitration outlook article.

Now, these are just estimates and not exact numbers. Neither does it mean that if the final contract the player and team sign is lower/higher than this number does it mean player/team “won”. In my personal opinion, if a team lets a player reach arbitration, the team already lost. Since, when a player and team go to arbitration, the team’s lawyers rip apart the player and his career/stats to defend why the team thinks the player is worth so much less money. Meanwhile, the player is forced to be in that courtroom and listen to everything the lawyers are saying.

The player finds out exactly what that team thinks of him. Now, of course, the player says it’s “just business” and no “hurt feelings”, but they are humans. That’s got to hurt, and it could hurt the team’s chances of signing that player to an extension. MLB players are human beings, they aren’t machines much to the chagrin of many. Being told you suck, you failed at swinging the bat, being a baseball player affects a player’s mind. It happens a few weeks before Spring Training too as hearings are done in February.

What a way to start the season. You’re starting it arguing with the team you play for. Not the best foot to start the new year on. Anyways, while this arbitration class for the team is rather small, it has a few players that are a part of the core of hopefully the next competing Dbacks team.

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Luke Weaver, Diamondbacks Starting Pitcher

Luke Weaver is in an arbitration off-season. Matt projects Luke to get a 2.7MM contract for arbitration this winter. Now, whether that’s via the team agreeing to a contract to avoid arbitration or not, that’s roughly the number you should expect. This will be the 2nd time that Luke goes through Arbitration with the team after last winter. Of course, the team and Luke agreed to a $1.95 million contract for the 2021 season. Thus, after an injury-filled but decent performance season, he’s about to get an 800-thousand dollar raise. I wish that was the case for me.

Assuming that Luke doesn’t get sent to the minors for an extended period this next season, he’ll go through arbitration a final time next off-season. After the 2023 season, Luke will become a free agent if he doesn’t sign a contract extension with the team before then. Let’s take a look into why Weaver’s getting a smaller than expected raise via arbitration when compared to other starting pitchers.

Well, he’s not pitched over 100 innings since 2018. That’s back when he was with the Cardinals too. He had a marvelous 2019 debut with the Dbacks after being acquired in the Goldschmidt trade throwing 64.1 innings of 2.94 ERA ball with 69 K’s. Unfortunately for him and the team, he suffered an elbow injury and missed the rest of the season. Then, with 2020, he was healthy the whole short-60-game season and threw 52 innings, a decent amount over 12 starts.

It wasn’t a great amount though since, in 2019, he threw more innings over the same amount of starts. Anyways, he struggled greatly in 2020 with a 6.58 ERA, 4.67 FIP, and 18 walks to 55 innings. Not the best platform year to get a huge raise entering your first go-round with the arbitration.

So, he needed a great season to dramatically increase his pay. Even just a healthy season would’ve increased his pay by a lot. Unfortunately for all parties, Luke started the season off great, but yet another injury wiped out the majority of his season. This time, instead of it being his elbow, it was his shoulder. Due to that, he only started 13 games and pitched a tiny amount of 65.2 innings. It’s unfortunate too as we could’ve used a healthy Weaver.

During those innings, he compiled a 4.25 ERA, 4.42 FIP,  58 hits, 20 walks, and 62 K’s. That’s not what you were hoping for. His K/9 innings rate has decreased from 9.7 in 2019 to 8.5 in 21′. He still provided positive WAR at least he was a 0.8 WAR player and he was worth 0.2 wins above average. Also, Luke will be tendered a contract, so don’t worry about him being released.

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Noe Ramirez, Diamondbacks RP

Noe was a revelation for the Dbacks this year after being signed as a minor-league free agent. He started the year with the Angels, but only pitched 3.1 innings and allowed 5 hits and 2 runs. Los Angeles ended up releasing Noe Ramirez despite the face that he had been with LA for 3 1/2 years prior to this one. He had established a consistency as a middle-innings reliever in which he never had an ERA higher than 4.54 or lower than 2.16. He struck out batters consistently above league-average and walked a normal average of batters. In fact, he even started 7 games for the Angels as an Opener in 2019.

Thus, when he came to the Diamondbacks, whom were in desperate need for effective bullpen pitching, one had decent hope he could at least stabilize the 5th-7th innings that the team was struggling to cover. I don’t think anyone expected that he would become the best relief pitcher the team had by the end of the season. Especially when he had been pitching in various parts of MLB seasons since 2015 and is 31 years old.

Yet, that’s what he did as he pitched in 36 games and 32.2 innings with an 0-2 record, 6 games finished and 1 save. He had a 2.76 ERA, 3.48 FIP (best in career), 18 hits allowed, 10 ERs, 11 walks, and 29 K’s. He posted his best hits/9 innings allowed and K/9 innings in the last three years. Thus, why is Matt only projecting him for 1.8 MM dollars as his arbitration pay? Well, for starters relievers don’t get raises really at all in arbitration unless you’re absolutely dominant or rack up a ton of saves. Plus, Noe had struggled staying in the Majors prior to this season.  Additionally, this is his third year of abritration, but he’s a Super 2 player, so he has a 4th year of arbitration next year. I’m pretty confident Mike Hazen will offer Noe a contract.