Small Contracts the Diamondbacks can do with Big Upsides
Heath Hembree is next. The money is right as he has only made a total of $4.7MM in his 9 year career and only $100,000 last season. He had good numbers in Cincinnati last season in 42.1 innings his batting average against was .203 and his OBP against was .319 (which was the league average). For Cincinnati he had 8 saves while striking out 68 and walking only 19. The Reds did release him, but he can be had more than likely on a minor league contract.
"Mike Hazen met with the media including MLB Arizona Diamondback beat writer Steve Gilbert shortly after the lockout ended. On the topic of adding to the bullpen it seems he wants to add a couple veteran pitchers, "I think we have a stable of young arms that you’re going to see some of whom end up continuing on their progression as Major League starters," Hazen said. "I think some of whom are going to end up matriculating as relievers. I think historically giving those guys a little bit of a runway instead of having your better [young] arms thrust into [high] leverage out of necessity is a better strategy for me from a development standpoint." "- Arizona Diamondback's GM Mike Hazen
This guy is not much of a strike thrower when in 227.1 innings pitched he has only struck out 279 batters, but he is also 10 games above .500 for his career with a 23-13 record. He is a ground ball pitcher 41.7% of them over his 7 years and his hard hit rate is only 38.6% in those same 7 years. He was 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA last season with the Padres and signed a $1.2MM contract with them so Keone Kela should be able to be signed to a deal less than a million for 1 year.
Our next guy did not pitch in 2018 or 2020 and in 2019 and 2021 combined he only pitched only 51 innings. He has won 11 and 12 games in a year and he has lost 16 games in a year. His career has truly been up and down. Jimmy Nelson is a guy who you don't know what your going to get, but you may want to take a chance that you get a good year considering he signed a $750,000 contract with the Dodgers in 2020 and made $500,000 in 2021. Sign him for the league minimum and give him an incentive laden contract where he will get paid if he gives you a good season.
Richard Rodriquez spent 202 of his 228 career innings in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. In his 5 year career he is 16-14 with a 3.28 ERA, 33 saves, walking 60 while striking out 230. His batting average against is .229 and his line drive percentage is 19.7%. He received $1.7MM last year, is arbitration eligible in 2022 and can be a free agent in 2024. I told you all of this to suggest the following contract; a 2 years $6MM with a mutual option for a third year at $4MM so it can be presented as a 3 year $10MM contract.
I guess it will only be 9 pitchers as the San Francisco Giants just signed Jakob Junis to a 1 year $1.75MM contract. But I do appreciate them signing him to a little contract with a big upside. Also a big thank you to Baseball Reference for all the stats and figures.