As a result of roster moves this past weekend, the Diamondbacks reached the maximum roster limit allotted by Major League baseball. At the same time, reaching this ceiling could force the hand of decision-makers.
That’s because the Diamondbacks, along with the 29 other clubs, are preparing for the up-coming winter meetings (Dec. 6-9 in Nashville, Tenn.) and tweaking rosters. Should the Diamondbacks make any moves, such as signing free agents or dealing in trades, alteration of the 40-man roster would result. While Arizona can invite non-roster players to spring training, it’s rare that non-roster players end up on the 25-man, opening day roster.
At the same time, those players on the 40-man roster retain a reasonable chance to make the final, spring training roster. In the case of the 2016 Diamondbacks, pundits already suggest any roster opening could be one too many. Four outfielders of Yasmany Tomas, A. J. Pollock, David Peralta and Ender Inciarte appear set. In the infield, Paul Goldschmidt at first, Nick Ahmed at shortstop and Jake Lamb at third seem a lock. Several could battle for the second base job and Welington Castillo and Tuffy Gosewisch appear solid as catchers.
Over the past weekend, the Diamondbacks added right-handed pitchers Jake Barrett and Matt Koch, along with outfielder Gabby Guerrero to the 40-man roster. At the same time, the Diamondbacks designated right-handed Allen Webster for assignment. If no team claims Webster or he is not traded with the next 10 days, he is released.
Of the three, Barrett seems to have a reasonable chance to grab some attention. A former Pac-12, All-Conference honorable mention at Arizona State, Barrett turned in a solid season. Going 4-3 with a 4.58 ERA in a combined 47 appearances between Double AA-Mobile and Triple-A Reno, Barrett has 78 saves in four years in the Arizona organization.
Regarding current personnel as middle relievers, Barrett comes to spring training batting Matt Reynolds, A. J. Schugel, Matt Stites, Silvino Bracho, Dominic Leone, Enrique Burgos, Zack Godley, Keith Hessler, David Hernandez, Daniel Hudson and Evan Marshall for attention. In concert to the five designated starters, manager Chip Hale will carry 12 pitchers. That means seven relievers will make the final cut. Perhaps the only lock here is closer Brad Ziegler, who recently signed a two-year deal.
Barrett is also in competition with Koch, who was dealt to the Diamondbacks in August from the New York Mets for reliever Addison Reed. With the Mets Double-A Binghamton and Mobile, Koch went 5-8 with a 3.20 ERA.
Regarding Guerrero, a nephew of former major league all-star Vladimir Guerrero, he was locked in a battle for attention with Daniel Palka. Earlier this month, the Diamondbacks traded Palka to the Minnesota Twins and now Guerrero will battle Socrates Brito (who .303 in 18 games in a September call-up) should Hale and decision-makers decide to carry five outfielders.
The Arizona Fall League ended Saturday and Scottsdale captured the league crown. The Scorpions defeated Surprise, 6-4 in Scottsdale Stadium.
Diamondbacks prospects were one of five organizations which populated the Salt River roster. The Rafters finished with a record of 16-13, one and one-half games behind Scottsdale and in second place in the AFL Eastern Division.
Among statistical leaders, outfielder Gabby Guerrero finished fourth among the Rafters in hitting with a .300 (15-for-50) batting average. Infielder Jack Reinheimer hit .230 (17-for-74). Catcher Oscar Hernandez finished with a .179 average (10-for-56) in 16 games. Right-hander Yoan Lopez went 2-3, a 5.34 ERA for seven starts, and Daniel Gibson was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in seven relief appearances.