Three bold free agents the Arizona Diamondbacks should go all in on

The Arizona Diamondbacks should get bold this off-season, and pursue these three top free agents.
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) delivers a pitch during
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) delivers a pitch during / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Aroldis Chapman

Paul Sewald and Kevin Ginkel are a solid high-leverage and late-inning duo, but the Diamondbacks lack quality depth or reliable high-leverage lefties. Andrew Saalfrank may be their best option, and he danced around eight walks in 5.2 Postseason innings. Joe Mantiply and Miguel Castro aren’t the most awe-inspiring duo, either. So let’s get a lefty who the D-Backs can slot into a late-inning/high-leverage role, and one of the best options out there for that is Aroldis Chapman.

The Cuban Missile had struggled in his last few seasons with the New York Yankees. But he rebounded with the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. In 58.1 innings, Chapman owned a 3.08 ERA but 2.52 FIP and 1.25 WHIP. Chapman’s 14.5% walk rate is not great, but it wouldn’t be the first time he’s done well with a high walk rate, actually far from it. His career BB% is 12.4%. However, Chapman’s K% rebounded to 41.4%, the first time he’s had a 40%+ K-rate since 2018.

But the most promising part of Chapman’s season is that he regained his velocity. Chapman was averaging only 98.1 MPH from 2018 through 2022. In ‘22, he hit a career-low 97.5 MPH. Of course, that’s still some serious heat, but he saw that rebound to 99.1 MPH, the fastest he’s thrown since 2017. His max velocity of 103.8 MPH is the hardest he’s thrown since 2018.

Now, Chapman did struggle down the line. He allowed nine earned runs, 12 walks, and three home runs in his final 13.2 innings of the season. But that doesn’t negate the previous 45.1 innings, where he had a 2.18 ERA and 1.83 FIP. It also doesn’t erase the eight Postseason innings he pitched while allowing only two earned runs with six K’s, albeit five walks.

Chapman also had strong numbers under the hood. He was in the top 91st percentile of exit velocity (86.5 MPH) and 87th percentile of hard hit rate (33%), with a quality 47.7% ground ball rate. His expected numbers were also great, with a 2.59 xFIP, 2.95 SIERA, and 2.84 xERA.

As of right now, MLB Trade Rumors lists Chapman as their 33rd-best free agent, with him estimated to make $24 million over a two-year contract. For someone who can close games, work as a set-up man, and overall held opponents to just a .545 OPS in high-leverage situations, $12 million is a good price. He, along with Ginkel and Sewald, would make a formidable but underrated late-inning trio to face.