Photo By Cygnusloop99/Creative Commons
The Arizona Diamondbacks made a couple of important additions to their roster recently, as they look to boost their chances in the National League West this season.
The first signing of note is veteran reliever Tyler Clippard, who has agreed to a one-year contract worth around $2.25m It will be the second time the 36-year-old has appeared for the Diamondbacks, he played 40 games back in 2016 before being traded with the Yankees for Vicente Campos. His original deal saw him sign a two-year, $12.25 million contract, but that was at the height of his ability. He only stayed for seven months during his first stint, pitching a 4.30 ERA in 37 1 3 innings with one save.
Since then, he has appeared for the Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians, and Minnesota Twins, which was his last team. He is a two-time All-Star and has 777 appearances over a total of 14 seasons with a career 3.13 ERA.
He is not the only new face to arrive at Chase Field in time for the new season, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera also joins on a one-year deal, worth $1.75m, as the team looks to improve on their flagging fortunes of late. He is believed to be viewed as a corner infielder who should be able to slide occasionally over to second base. He has also hit lefties well in recent years, which will be a valuable skill to have according to manager Torey Lovullo, who also ranks consistency as a key driver for the move.
“We know that his primaries are the corner infield spots and we’ll just lean on him for the consistency that he’s shown throughout the course of his career,” Lovullo told Arizona Sports. “He’s been an unbelievable performer; he’s been an unbelievable teammate and leader inside of the clubhouse. I’m not looking for that to change.”
Last season, Lovullo’s team finished 25–35, ending up at the bottom of the division giving them their first losing season since 2016. Looking ahead to the upcoming season, the Diamondbacks are currently rank outsiders with Bwin Sports to emerge from the NL West, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres the only serious contenders for the next stage. Sadly, the Diamondbacks’ spending leaves them a long way behind both teams when it comes to pure talent in the NL West.
Despite the perceived lack of spending, general manager Mike Hazen told AZ Central he did not feel it was necessarily restrictive in terms of future success. “I don’t think it strips away your ability to be one of the better teams in the league,” he said. “It’s not a binary choice.”
In addition to the two recent captures, the team also added Joakim Soria on a one-year, $3.5 million contract over the winter, leaving their overall payroll in the region of $97 million, down $23 million from the projected budget before the recent pandemic. That pales into insignificance when considering that the Dodgers are thought to be on around $248 million and Padres $174 million.
It remains to be seen whether veterans such as Clippard and Cabrera can take the team forward, or whether another season in the other team’s shadow beckons.