MLB: A Look at the AZ Diamondbacks Bullpen
September for baseball fans can be an entertaining time. Not only are pennant races reaching the peak of excitement for those teams still in the races, but it can even be enjoyable for teams that are already mathematically eliminated. Yes really! Your team could play spoiler and it is certain that the teams are looking at the players through minor league call ups, which is always a great experience for young players.
With the Diamondbacks out of contention for a playoff spot, expanding their roster is a glance for a potential 2016 roster spot for the called up players. The most important part of that review will be what the bullpen could look like next season. The Diamondbacks, like all major league teams, have players who will not be back next season, so they must consider contract extensions and minor league options in the rebuilding of their bullpen once again.
Brad Ziegler is the first guy they will need to look at when the 2015 season ends. I do expect the team to pick up his option, so expect him back. I expect Andrew Chafin to be a lock for 2016 as well, as he has been a very valuable lefty. Josh Collmenter should be back because he can give the club more than an inning and can fill in as a spot starter.
However, Randall Delgado is out of options and is also arbitration eligible. He may end up starting in the season’s final weeks, so the team can decide if he can add value for a trade or possible return as a starter again for the 2016 season. As much as the fans like David Hernandez, I doubt that the club offers him a contract in 2016. The same could be said for Daniel Hudson. Neither Hernandez nor Hudson seem to dominate opposing hitters like they used to; however if Hudson does come back he might be looked at as a starter.
As far as some of the other Diamondbacks’ pitchers, Evan Marshall‘s future is hard to predict right now. Matt Reynolds must show he is a late inning stopper or he will not likely be back. Matt Stites has pitched just 4 1/3 innings this season, working out of a middle relief role, so they need to see if he can hold runners and get outs. Keith Hessler will pitch in the Arizona Fall League to work on his pitches and control.
Silvino Bracho and Enrique Burgos will get looks to see if they are candidates to be the 2016 closer. Even Allen Webster or Robbie Ray could find their way into the bullpen to get a look at before the season ends. Jimmy Sherfy and Jake Barrett, who were not called up, have realistic shots at making the 25-man roster next year if they show promise during Spring Training.
There is even a possibility the Diamondback may bring back Oliver Perez, who was traded to the Astros if the price is in their range.
Let’s hope the season ending evaluations make for a powerful and winning 2016 bullpen!
Check back here all season long for updates on the Arizona Diamondbacks and follow me on Twitter: @Basebaldaz. You can listen to me on NBC Sports Radio AM 1060 PHX for AZ Sports Talk Saturday from 10AM to 1PM AZ time.