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Padres, Robbie Erlin avoid arbitration

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Padres and pitcher Robbie Erlin have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. The lefty was in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Erlin, 28, pitched both out of the rotation and out of the bullpen for the Padres last year, making 12 starts and 27 relief appearances. Altogether, he posted a 4.21 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 12 walks in 109 innings. It was his first season back after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2016. Erlin’s workload was managed as a result.

The Padres have a handful of candidates at the back end of the rotation and Erlin is among them. Needless to say, if he doesn’t capture a rotation spot at the end of spring training, he’ll work out of the bullpen once again.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.