It was a tough game 3 loss, to say the least for Arizona. The pitching staff only surrendered 3 runs to a high-powered offense but speaking of offense, the Diamondbacks’ was nonexistent last night.
Not to make excuses or anything, but you can’t really blame the Snakes for only being able to muster 1 run last night. Max Scherzer has dominated the league for years. Jon Gray is dealing this postseason (3-0 with a 1.59 ERA). Josh Sborz has 5 holds for Texas in the playoffs… the list goes on.
Arizona will get a chance to even the series tonight as Joe Mantiply gets the ball to start the game. All eyes will be on the contest in Arizona tonight.
But looking ahead, 2024 specifically, Arizona will have some tough questions to answer. Which free agents will they look to re-sign, and which will they let go? No doubt they will have to make cap space for newcomers and contract extensions so Mike Hazen and crew will have some difficult choices to wrestle with.
Here’s what I think the Arizona front office should do this offseason.
Diamondbacks should re-sign these 2 players
LF/DH Tommy Pham: I don’t think I have to say too much here.
Pham has been a staple in this Arizona lineup since he arrived from New York. His regular season numbers don’t jump off the page at you (.719 OPS), but he is the definition of a grinder. He always gives 110%.
This postseason, he has given the Diamondbacks juice when they needed it most. He has 6 extra-base hits, 3 RBIs, and 2 steals.
If you look at Pham more in-depth, you will realize why he is worth resigning. Among all major league hitters this season, Pham boasted the following numbers: Top 11% in expected batting average, top 7% in average exit velocity, top 11% in chase percentage, and top 25% in arm value.
LF/DH Lourdes Gurriel Jr.: This one isn’t as clear-cut of a decision in my eyes.
Gurriel Jr. was on fire to begin the season. It seemed like for most of the season leading up to the all-star break, he was top 10 in a lot of important offensive categories. But then, as most major leaguers do, he hit a slump and struggled to produce.
He finished the season with respectable numbers at the plate: 24 HRs, 82 RBIs, .463 slugging percentage. But he struggles to get on base, and he isn’t patient at the plate in the slightest. To some, this doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but when your team struggles to work pitchers and draw walks, having a guy like Gurriel Jr. in the lineup doesn’t help that.
He is solid on defesne and brings a swagger to the team that not many can. Despite his inconsistency at the plate, I think the Diamondbacks should resign this purple-haired goofball.
Diamondbacks should not re-sign these 2 players
3B Evan Longoria: I think we are all very grateful for what Longo (veteran presence/leadership) brought to the team this season. But it’s probably time for him to retire or find a home with another team next season.
For being 38 years old Longoria still has some juice in his bat. He finished the season with an OPS over .700 and when you look at his Baseball Savant page, it’s easy to see that Longo crushed the ball when he made contact this season (92.2 MPH average exit velocity)
But he struggled defensively, and his age is unfortunately a liability. He hasn’t done much this postseason for Arizona and with the youth movement coming like a tidal wave, there is no room for Evan. Thank you for your service (salute)...
RP Mark Melancon: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! Oops, did I say that out loud?
On December 1, 2021, Melancon signed a two-year $14 million contract with a 2024 mutual option with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Little did the Arizona front office know that this deal would cost them greatly.
Melancon has been out all this season due to a right shoulder strain. But in 2022 he appeared in 62 games. He went 3-10 last season with a 4.66 ERA. He also recorded 18 saves out of 21 opportunities.
Those numbers aren’t terrible, but if you pay a reliever that much money, their ERA should probably be under 3.00. Once again considering the age factor (38) there should be a 0% chance Arizona resigns Mark.