Arizona Diamondbacks in the market for right-handed hitters

The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking at the right-handed hitting market for a Joc Pederson platoon.

World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two
World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers - Game Two / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly looking at the right-handed hitters still on the free agent market. According to Mark Feinsand on Twitter/X, they are currently searching for someone to platoon with Joc Pederson. The D-Backs signed Pederson earlier this off-season to serve as their designated hitter, but he has historically had struggles when facing same-handed lefty pitching. Feinsand stated three names the D-Backs are looking at.

The Snakes are familiar with one of them, as they’ve looked into Tommy Pham. They had acquired Pham from the New York Mets during last summer’s trade deadline in exchange for minor league infielder Jeremy Rodriguez. After batting .268/.342/.472 with a 125 wRC+ with the Mets, Pham struggled down the line for Arizona as he slashed .241/.304/.415 with a 92 wRC+. To Pham’s credit, it wasn’t until the last two weeks of a season he fell below average. His first 159 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks saw him continue to hit well with a .262/.314/.476 triple-slash and 110 wRC+. Then, through his final 58 PAs, he had eight hits, two extra-base hits, and a 43 wRC+.

Although Pham hits lefties better than righties, the platoon splits are not drastic. When facing same-handed pitching, Pham had a .768 OPS, .331 wOBA, and 109 wRC+. But when he came to the plate vs a lefty, he owned a .787 OPS, .333 wOBA, and 111 wRC+. Pham would still be a solid platoon, and he could occasionally fill in any of the three outfield spots. He was a respectable defender when playing the field with zero defensive runs saved and only -1 out above average.

Another batter they’ve looked into is Randal Grichuk. I’ve previously mentioned Grichuk as a potential platoon partner to go after, and it looks like the Diamondbacks agree with my assessment. Grichuk had a solid .267/.321/.459 triple-slash and 100 wRC+ for the Colorado Rockies and LA Angels last season. Grichuk had an above-average 20.4% K-rate, albeit a less impressive 6.2% walk rate. He did hit for some good pop with a .191 isolated slugging percentage. Grichuk, however, struggled down the line with the Angels with a .677 OPS through his final 208 PAs of the season.

But Grichuk would make a great platoon partner, at least based on how he has done vs LHP recently. Last season, in 134 plate appearances against a southpaw, Grichuk batted .328/.388/.607 with a .415 wOBA and 155 wRC+. This is the third time he’s batted for 140+ wRC+ in four seasons. His .279 ISO was the 17th-best among batters with at least 125 PAs against LHP in 2023. Grichuk is not a great defender and had -1 DRS and -7 OAA in the outfield, but he wouldn’t be costing the team a massive amount on defense if he served as a 4th OF/platoon DH type.

The last and final player is Adam Duvall. Duvall spent the 2023 season with the Boston Red Sox, and while he only appeared in 92 games with 353 plate appearances, he hit well when he was healthy. Duvall batted .247/.303/.531 with 21 home runs and a 116 wRC+. His ISO was approaching .300 at .284. But Duvall has never had great plate discipline. He struck out 31.2% of the time with a sub-par 6.2% walk rate.

Duvall doesn’t seem as good of a fit compared to Pham and Grichuk, at least on paper. He had reverse splits, slashing .248/.312/.551 with a .347 wOBA and 116 wRC+ when hitting against same-handed pitching, but .244/.280/.477 with a 91 wRC+ when facing lefties. Career-wise, he’s only slightly better with a .780 OPS vs. LHP and .770 OPS vs. RHP. Duvall’s defensive numbers from 2023 aren’t good, but that’s mainly because he played center field most often for the Red Sox. He’s still a quality defensive corner outfielder.

Of these three options, I think Grichuk would be the best. He’s the best vs LHP and would benefit the most from a platoon with Joc Pederson. Duvall is better against right-handers than lefties. Grichuck has better splits than Pham, and who knows how much Pham would want to become teammates with Joc Pederson, given their history. Either way, this is probably on the top of the D-Backs to-do list before Spring Training starts. A platoon of Pederson plus someone who can hit left-handed pitching very well could prove to be very productive.