Small Contracts the Diamondbacks can do with Big Upsides
The Arizona Diamondbacks had a dismal season last year suffering through a 52-110 season that saw them finish the year 55 games behind the first place Giants. That is not something that one superstar sign is going to fix. But, the team does have an above average rotation and a few nice pieces on the offensive side of the ball. Therefore I would suggest signing several smaller 1 year contracts. And even if you sign let's say 5 different players to these sort of contracts and 3 of them do well, and you are not in contention for the play-offs at or around the trade deadline, you simply trade them for other useful pieces. Granted, those pieces will more than likely be from double A, but that will help you build a team in 2 to 3 years, and we all know that is when, if done right, we will be competitive again. This team desperately needs bullpen help even though as of this writing they have signed Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy. The bullpen finished last season with a 5.08 ERA placing 29th of the 30 MLB teams. They also need a center fielder and a third baseman. But, this article will look at 10 options to help in the bullpen or as a 5th starter.
Let's look at the two pitchers who could be the Diamondbacks 5th starters. The first is the longest shot of the two Collin McHugh. He is listed at 6-2 191lbs and over his 9 year career he is 20 games over .500 at 64-44. After not playing in 2020, last year with Tampa Bay he was 6-1 with a 1.55 ERA and a strikeout to walk ratio of 74-12. But, he could be used out of the bullpen, or at least in long relief because he has not pitched over 75 innings since 2016. He has had a history of elbow problems which is why Houston placed him in the bullpen for the majority of the 2019 season. He has never made more than $5.8MM in a single season and last season he signed a 1 year $1.8MM contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. He should be affordable, but several media outlets say the Red Sox are exploring signing him.
The second possible 5th starter is Vince Velasquez. He is 5 years younger than McHugh at age 29. Throughout his career his hits and innings pitched are almost identical, and for his 7 year career he has pitched a total of 651 innings while giving up 638 hits. He has struck out over 100 batters 4 times in those 7 years and for his career his strikeout to walk ratio is 716 to 268. So per nine innings he gives up a career 8.8 hits, 3.7 walks and 9.9 strikeouts. He has never made more than $4MM per season, and that was in a 2021 season that saw him get released by the Phillies and not do much better for the Padres. I would think you could get Velasquez off the scrap heap for $1-2MM and roll the dice.
And the relievers are...........