Sports Pulse: Ranking the top free agents and where they could possibly go.
The Diamondbacks parted ways with a pair of high-profile-but-injury-prone players on Monday, nontendering right-hander Taijuan Walker and outfielder Steven Souza Jr.
The club opted to retain infielder Jake Lamb, another player with a similar profile who seemed like a candidate to be cut loose.
The moves, which also included the nontendering of backup catcher Caleb Joseph, save the Diamondbacks roughly $10 million in projected arbitration salaries, according to estimates by MLB Trade Rumors.
The decision on Walker came as the biggest surprise. Though he missed nearly all of the past two seasons with injuries – Tommy John surgery cost him all but three starts in 2018 and just as he was nearing a return he suffered a shoulder injury in 2019 – he was the first big-name acquisition made by General Manager Mike Hazen.
Walker put together a strong 2017 season, logging a 3.49 ERA in 157 1/3 innings. He was projected to make roughly $5 million in arbitration.
Souza, another of Hazen’s bigger acquisitions, was sidetracked by injuries during his two years with the Diamondbacks. He hit just .220 in 72 games in 2018, a year he was bothered by a shoulder issue, then missed all of 2019 following a gruesome knee injury. Souza was projected to make about $4 million.
Lamb missed significant time each of the past two seasons. He battled a shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery in 2018, then missed time this past season due to a quad injury.
An All-Star in 2017, a year in which he hit 30 homers, Lamb has hit just .208 with 12 home runs in 394 at-bats over the past two seasons combined. He also finds himself without a clear path to at-bats next season with Eduardo Escobar entrenched at third base and Christian Walker having established himself at first base.
He is projected to earn $5 million in arbitration.