Starter Bronson Arroyo inked a two-year, $23.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks on Friday. The signing displaced two pitchers in the D-Backs’ system: 2011 first-rounder Archie Bradley and Randall Delgado, one of the players acquired from the Braves in January 2013’s Justin Upton trade. The rotation can more or less be written in ink with Patrick Corbin, Arroyo, Wade Miley, Trevor Cahill, and Brandon McCarthy.
GM Kevin Towers said Bradley could still wind up in the rotation in the event of an injury, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. Towers also indicated that Delgado could end up contributing out of the bullpen.
Delgado, who Arizona acquired from Atlanta as part of the Justin Upton trade, is out of Minor League options. That means if the D-backs want to send him to the Minor Leagues, they will have to put him on waivers first, where he could be claimed by another team.
“So if he’s not one of our starters, he’s more than likely going to probably be one of our bullpenners,” Towers said.
Gilbert then notes that, with that expected shuffling, right-hander Will Harris could be the odd man out of the bullpen, as he has options remaining.
Delgado, 24, posted a 4.26 ERA in 19 starts and one relief appearance last season, spanning 116 1/3 innings. He was rated as one of the 50 best prospects by Baseball America prior to the 2011 and ’12 seasons.
The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.
The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.
A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:
I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.
This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.
Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.
Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.