Finding a 4th Outfielder: Ranking the top options in free agency and in the trade market

The Arizona Diamondbacks lost some outfield depth this offseason with the losses of JD Martinez and Gregor Blanco. JD Martinez has a slim chance to come back on a one-year deal that reportedly has already been offered, and Gregor Blanco signed with the Giants a week ago.

J.D. Martinez will not be apart of these rankings because of how unlikely it is that the D-Backs land him. He is still the number 1 target on this list for Mike Hazen, but let’s explore some other options to platoon with Yasmany Tomas.

5. Carlos Gonzalez

Although Cargo had a rough year in 2017, I am sure the D-Backs would love to snag him on a rental deal considering he has hit .300/.365/.579 with 27 homers and 79 RBI’s in 123 games against the D-Backs.

Cargo has been a D-Backs killer, and he could be a great fit to platoon with Yasmany Tomas in left field. He struggled mightily in 2017 hitting .262/.339/.423 with only 14 homers and 57 RBI’s in a potent Rockies lineup.

Gonzalez exit velocity could’ve be a reason for his downfall in 2017 has his average exit velocity dropped from 90.1 mph to 85.9 mph from 2016 to 2017. This led to a WAR of -0.2 which is his career low other than his injury-riddled 2014 season.

Buying low on Cargo isn’t a terrible idea, but with Scott Boras as his agent, getting a steal doesn’t seem realistic. The combination of Gonzalez and Tomas in left field would provide a lot of excitement with lots of home runs.

4. Trade for a Brewers Young Outfielders: Brett Phillips/ Domingo Santana/ Keon Broxton

This trade option is all about the future, and it might be a very popular option/opinion you may hear from fans. All three of these players provide good upside, but they all struggle to put the ball in play. Broxton struck out 175 times in just 414 AB’s. Santana struck out 178 times in 525 AB’s, and Phillips struck out 129 times in 383 Triple-A AB’s.

Broxton and Phillips are turning 28 and 24 respectively in May, while Santana is turning 26 in August. Santana is clearly the biggest offensive weapon out of three with 30 homers and 15 SB’s in 2017, but his defense is a huge liability right now. He isn’t much different than Tomas other than his speed too.

  • Tomas age 25 season (563 PA): 31 homers, 83 RBI’s, .272/.313/.508, 136 K’s
  • Santana age 25 season (607 PA): 30 homers, 85 RBI’s, .278/.371/.505, 178 K’s

With this in mind, I would eliminate any consideration of trading for Santana. Keon Broxton should be viewed the same way as well. Broxton had the highest strikeout rate in the bigs last year at 37.8%. While he was a 20-20 guy (20 HR’s & 21 SB’s), his low OBP of just .299 in 2017 is not a good indicator of growth in his future.

Phillips seems like the best option as he is the youngest player of the three and probably the best defender. He has an 80 rated arm (scale of 10-80) according to MLB Pipeline with 60 speed and 55 fielding.

Phillips hit very well in Triple-A and in Milwaukee too. In Triple-A, he hit .305/.377/.567 with 19 bombs in just 383 AB’s. He only got 87 AB’s in the bigs as a late call-up, but he hit 4 homers and walked 9 times.

Phillips would be a nice get as he would provide good major league depth this year and then possibly be ready to step in in 2019 if AJ Pollock leaves via free agency.

3. Jon Jay

Jay is coming off a huge year with the Cubs as he played in 141 games and hit .296/.374/.375. He wasn’t expected to be a huge contributor to the Cubs lineup, but his 1.6 WAR worked out great for the Cubs.

Jay is a high on-base batter with a .355 career average OBP. He used to be a stolen base threat, but he only stole 6 bases in 2017. Jay will offer just an average glove, but it will still be much better than Tomas’ glove in left field.

The 32-year-old got a one year deal last year for 8 million, but this year he might get a smaller deal. Although he had a career year in 2017, the outfield market is small with a lot of options as of right now. This would be a great low-risk target for the D-Backs as you know what you are going to get from the scrappy lefty.

 2. Seth Smith

Smith is the least flashy of all the players on this list, but his veteran presence could be a great fit. Other than Zack Greinke and Jeff Mathis, the D-Backs don’t really have an another older, veteran presence. For Smith, he can provide more than your average old man coming off the bench.

Smith is coming off a .258/.340/.433 year with 13 homers and 32 RBI’s in 373 AB’s with the Orioles. The year before he hit 16 homers and 63 RBI’s in 438 AB’s with the Mariners. He has been a quality third outfielder the past 5 years as he provides an average glove with average power numbers.

He signed with 7 million last year, but he is still unsigned this late into February. He is going to sign for less than 7 million, and the 35-year-old is going to be somewhat attractive to the D-Backs front office as a veteran platoon for Tomas.

1. Jarrod Dyson

Dyson is the perfect fit as a fourth outfielder who can steal a base late in a game, provide great defense, and give quality at-bats in spot starts. As the polar opposite of Yasmany Tomas, Dyson would provide elite speed and defense anywhere in the outfield.

Dyson got a one year, 2.8 million dollar deal last offseason with the Mariners after 5 seasons with the Royals. Dyson would provide a player with extensive playoff and World Series experience as he got to two World Series with the Royals.

Dyson has hovered around 30 SB’s since 2012, and last year he had 28 in 111 games. He only hit .251/.324/.350, but he will put the ball in play as he only strikeouts 14.1% of the time. Dyson’s advanced metrics show he had a rough year at the plate with the worst soft and high hit rates in the entire league in 2017 of 30% and 15.8% respectively.

By no means is Dyson a huge threat at the plate, but his elite speed and defense would be a difference maker throughout the season and in October for the snakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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