How Lourdes Gurriel Jr. shakes up the Arizona Diamondbacks’ outfield

With the Arizona Diamondbacks recently resigning left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., how will he shake up the team's outfield depth chart?
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Four
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Four / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

The Arizona Diamondbacks recently re-signed Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to a three-year deal at $42 million with two opt-outs. At the very least, the Diamondbacks will have Gurriel for the next two seasons and potentially for four years. It seemed like Gurriel Jr. may end the off-season with a different team, but now that he’s back in Arizona, how does this shake up the Diamondbacks’ outfield depth chart?

Had the Diamondbacks not re-signed Gurriel Jr., one of Dominic Fletcher, Jake McCarthy, or Jorge Barrosa would have taken one of the three outfield spots. Alek Thomas and Corbin Carroll both seem entrenched in center and right field. But now that Gurriel is back on board for 2024 and 2025 at minimum, the Diamondbacks have a logjam.

The Diamondbacks still have some areas that they could reinforce on their major league roster. Now that they signed Gurriel, they could use some of those outfielders to acquire some talent to improve other areas on the roster. Jake McCarthy would be my first choice to trade. He is coming off a rough season but is still only one year removed from a quality rookie season where he had a 117 wRC+. But the most valuable would arguably be Dominic Fletcher after his quality brief MLB stint and his decent numbers at Triple-A.

As of right now, the best move for the Diamondbacks would be to wait out Cody Bellinger’s decision. After Bellinger signs, the free agent market’s best outfield options include Kevin Kiermaier, Michael A. Taylor, Harrison Bader, Joey Gallo, Tommy Pham, Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, and Randal Grichuk. While these aren’t bad players, they’re all on the older side and are probably better used in a platoon rather than a full-time regular. Hypothetically speaking, if Fletcher were a free agent, he would probably be the second-best option after Bellinger. There are still going to be outfield-needy teams after Bellinger signs, and this is where the D-Backs can take advantage of their outfield depth.

The Diamondbacks shouldn’t just trade an outfielder to trade an outfielder. But if Mike Hazen would be able to get back a young and controllable pitcher or a slugger that could slot into DH based on a trade package centered around one of their young outfielders, they should highly consider it, at the very least.

To put it simply, resigning Gurriel Jr. makes some of the Diamondbacks’ outfielders on their depth chart more expendable. The Diamondbacks now have three young outfielders on their 40-man roster that don’t project to be full-time regulars, or even part-time regulars next season, assuming there isn’t a major injury to Gurriel, Thomas, or Corbin (god forbid). The Diamondbacks shouldn’t deplete their depth to improve another area on the roster, but don’t be surprised if the D-Backs trade at least one of Fletcher, McCarthy, or Barrosa before Opening Day.