In an effort to resurrect his career Micah Owings is returning to the team that drafted him, signing a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks that includes an invitation to spring training.
Owings was Arizona’s third-round pick in 2005 and spent the first two seasons of his career with the Diamondbacks before being traded to the Reds in late 2008 as part of the Adam Dunn deal.
Owings once looked like a solid young pitcher who brought additional value to the table with his bat, but at this point his hitting might be ahead of his pitching. He has a 16-23 record and 5.59 ERA in 258 innings since a relatively promising rookie season in 2007, but has hit .274 with five homers and a .468 slugging percentage in 134 plate appearances during that same time.
This might be his last chance to make it as a pitcher who can also hit, but if the Diamondbacks get creative Owings could have more value as a pinch-hitter or part-time first baseman/outfielder who can also pitch, much like how the Brewers used Brooks Kieschnick in 2003 and 2004.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.