This winter’s free agent market has always promised to change the league, and it’s lived up to its billing thus far. But we are only part of the way through the transfiguration process. Rangers signed two of the best stopping points available, which added a crease that the other 29 clubs have yet to resolve. If nothing else, two important dominoes – Carlos Correa And Trevor’s story – It hasn’t fallen off yet, so there are more twists when the lock ends.
For those teams that don’t want to cut six figures for a long-term solution like Correa or Story, however, it would be worth giving Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen a call to see veteran availability. Nick Ahmed. Ahmed struggled hard in 2021, cutting just 0.21/.280/.339 on 473 board appearances, but that was never his calling card.
If nothing else, it is affordable. He’s entering his 32-year season after two years with $18.25 million left on his deal. The contract is affordable, but it can also be a potential hurdle. The money owed is large enough that teams may doubt whether he offers enough promotion whatever they have within the company. Any short-term beginner program will offer better value capabilities due to the minimal amount of novice contract. On top of that, it’s easy to dream about the untapped potential of a young player you haven’t yet seen fail at the Major League level.
However, there is still a question as to whether the Diamondbacks will be willing to sell a player who came alone with their franchise, becoming a fan favorite in the process. But after a disastrous season of 110 losses, it’s hard to consider the Diamondbacks anything but sellers.
They have finished last in the NL West for consecutive seasons and have made the playoffs only once in the past decade. What’s more, they’re staring at what may be the most competitive divisions in baseball, as Dodgers, Giants, and Padres are all pedal-to-metal, the World-Series Championship.
While teams are looking to upgrade their candidate lists, there are only too many lists to search. This time of year, belief is rife, so finding a business partner requires either aligning the team’s needs, or a team looking to cut salaries, or as in the case of the Diamondbacks, a team in rebuilding mode with an outside opportunity to compete next season. Whether the Diamondbacks see themselves in that light is unclear, given that they only have two seasons left out of signing. Madison Baumgarner for a five-year deal worth $85 million.
Even this winter, they have now made a lucrative move to sign the closest veteran Mark Melancon for a two-year deal worth $14 million. Of course, there are levels of rebuilding, and the Diamondbacks have to make a full roster just like any other team. Signing to Melancon could be just as easy to get a futuristic commercial piece as it’s a sign that the front office thinks they can win the NL West race this season. Teams around the league have certainly called to inquire about availability mart kettle, but they have so far been rejected — another sign that Arizona may be leaning toward a poor bid for an unsuitable spot.
However, Ahmed has never been a player of great influence and the Diamondbacks are almost certain to be able to find another solution, should they decide to transfer him. He has never scored above 96 WRC+, and his career mark is at 74 wRC+. His 2.3 fWAR season in 2019 is the only time he has surpassed 2.o fWAR over the course of an entire season (although he would have been on track to surpass that number in 2020, had there been an entire season).
Honestly, Ahmed is very close to being a typical second-tier player, and that’s not the kind of guy teams are really looking to replace in the off-season. However, what makes Ahmed attractive is that he possesses an elite skill: defense. Certain teams have grown adept at maximizing flawed players with elite skills, and there is no reason to believe that the right organization cannot maximize Ahmed’s talents in a similar way.
Bottom line: Ahmed is a veteran and likely transitioning into a part-time role, but that might be something he’d like to do if he was in a contender. The Diamondbacks don’t need a veteran player like Ahmed, and perhaps they should use this venue to test young players who stand a chance of long-term survival. This is a trade account.
So who might be interested in Ahmed? The right team would be a competitive club looking to make the playoffs that has a solution in the middle, but not all-stars are certain in that spot. Ahmed would be a perfect third-middle player to complement with a left-handed racket or an option that is first in the middle. Some options:
the Astros Ahmed can be used for relief Jeremy Pena In normal playing time. It will basically be the first gauntlet version of Aledmys Diaz. They will probably have enough pop to get another glove body in the bottom of the lineup, although this probably only works if a young quarterback proves a true offensive weapon, as they already give one place in the lineup to the gauntlet only veterinary doctor Martin Maldonado.
the Cubs You may take a bulletin on Ahmed to support the young and vulnerable duo to the middle Nico Horner And Nick Madrigal. Both young strikers are key players by nature, and both are coming off seasons wracked by injuries. Ahmed will find time playing as Hoerner is moved around the diamond, and it can act as insurance if one of the pair ends up in the coach’s room.
if it was Yankees Don’t sign one of the best free agents, Ahmed will protect your offensive assets well Jaleber Torres By allowing their minor element to remain at the center of the skew. A plan to transform 30 years Jiu Orchila To a short full-time pit stop has some legs after trying 24 starts in 2021 (-1 DRS, -0.2 UZR), but it will be expected to handle a full load. Ahmed would instantly become the best offensive tackle on Yankee Stadium, and they could find ways to increase glove work and reduce trips to the plate.
the Phyllis Really need more insult, but as long as Didi Gregorios Is the starting point, there will be a place for Ahmed. After Gregorius’ 68 wRC+ season, the Phils may soon be improving their internal defense – which also needs work.
Looking at the stars that were in the free agent market this winter, and the stars that might be in the market next year (Tria TurnerAnd Xander Bogarts), Ahmed represents a decidedly full-fledged solution to a major position. But it is not a single solution. He’s a capable veteran who can help out defensively if he’s suitable for the bench role at the right club. There is a team that can use Ahmed to help them win games and get to the post-season. Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks may not have been that team.