A familiar bearded face is currently a free agent. Should the Arizona Diamondbacks resign Archie Bradley? Is there a place for him? Did he do well when he was in the desert? Is there reason to believe he will do well if they do sign him? Is he worth the money that he will cost? Let's dive in!
Is there a place for him?
This is not a question for the Diamondbacks or for their fans, this is a question for Archie himself. Currently, the Diamondbacks have a 13 man bullpen that includes Caleb Smith, Noe Ramirez, Mark Melancon, Stefan Crichton, Kevin Ginkel, Taylor Widener, J.B Wendelken, Joseph Mantiply, Matt Peacock, J.B Bukaukas, Sean Poppen, Brett de Geus, and Ryan Buchter based on their 40 man roster. Only 1 of the listed relievers has an ERA below 4.00. That may be a good reason to sign Bradley, but that is also a bad thing knowing that the reliever who had a 3.71 ERA last season also has the job that Bradley would want, which is the closer, Mark Melancon. Now both the Diamondbacks and Bradley would have a decision to make. Do you bring Archie in as the closer or do you risk him not signing with you to be a set-up man again? He clearly wanted to be either a starter for the Diamondbacks the first time around or he wanted to be the closer. There is definitely a place in the putrid Arizona bullpen for Bradley. The question is what position would it be? And would Bradley be willing to accept it?
Did he do well when he was in the Desert?
Archey Bradley was originally drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1st round of the 2011 MLB draft. He was taken as the 7th overall pick out of Broken Arrow High School. He did not make his major league debut until 2015, as a starter in 8 games where he had a 5.80 ERA with 22 walks, 23 strikeouts, and 23 earned runs. Those stats were the bad news, the good news was he would improve on those stats, especially when the decision was made in 2017 to make him a permanent part of the bullpen. That season he walked 21 struck out 79 and gave up only 14 earned runs. Overall he spent six seasons with the Diamondbacks, minus getting traded at the deadline and spending 7.2 innings with the Cincinnati Reds. In those 6 seasons, he had a 3.96 ERA, across 404.1 innings walking 169 with 419 strikeouts. Knowing how he began his major league career, I think once he went to the bullpen his numbers drastically improved. Did he do well here? The correct answer would be after he moved to the bullpen, yes.
Will he continue to do well and will he be worth the money?
These two questions do not have clear cut answers. And if they did teams would not need General Managers. Let's tackle the question of his continued success. First, can you call it success? He has a career .517 winning percentage, a strikeout to walk ratio of 465 to 191 he has given up 442 total hits to 1,999 hitters with only 43 of them going for home runs (and 19 of those were in his first two seasons) with 30 career saves. Personally, he gives up a few to many hits to be an effective closer, but he has had success.
This past year in another hitter-friendly ballpark in Philly he was in 53 games totaling 51 innings. He had an ERA of 3.71 he had almost a 2 to 1 ratio of balls to strikes with 22 and 40. He did give up 51 hits but they only turned into 21 earned runs and he managed a 7-3 record. Knowing all this we can't really even say that he will defiantly continue to do well, but we can say in 7 years he has yet to fall off.
Now, let's look at the money situation. This past season Archie signed a 1-year $6MM contract with the Phillies. I don't think anyone would argue that he was defiantly worth the contract this season. His entire Diamondback career only had him making roughly around $8MM total. The 2022 season is his year 29 season. I like the Philly deal but I also believe with his track record and his age, Archie might want to get paid. I also don't think he will take another 1-year deal and enter the market next year as a 30-year reliever who has never really been a closer. Closers get paid, relievers, not so much. So, what do you do?
Knowing all these stats that I got from Baseball-Reference, I would try to sign him. I would ask him if he loved his time here in Arizona and try to get him to come back on a bit of a reunited discount, and if he would agree I would reward him with multiple years and incentives. I would offer him a 4-year contract with a mutual option for a 5th season, $28MM guaranteed broken up by years of $6MM, $6MM, $8MM, $8MM with a $12MM 5th year, and a $2MM buyout so it can be presented as a 4 year $30MM contract. I would let him know that there would be an open competition for the closer's role between himself and Mark Melancon. His incentives would be based on the life of the 4-year contract. I would present it by saying in 7 years you pitched a total of 463, if you can reach 400 in this 4-year contract, he would receive another bonus of $1MM. In those same 7 years, he struck out 465 batters. In this 4-year contract, if you can reach 500 strikeouts, I will give you another $1MM. Lastly, if he hits both 400 innings and 500 strikeouts, I will turn the 5th year option of 12MM into a guaranteed 5th year contract. If Archie would sign this particular contract and he can make all his incentives (and in so doing would give the Diamondbacks a great 4-year stretch) he could make $42 million over the next 5 years.