In the high-stakes world of professional baseball, bold moves often pave the path to glory. As Arizona Diamondbacks fans, we’ve witnessed this firsthand with last season’s exhilarating run to the NL Pennant.
Now, we stand on the precipice of another potentially monumental season, and the question looms: could a few audacious free-agent signings propel us to a World Series victory?
Let’s dive into this exciting possibility, examining three daring free agents who could make a significant difference for our beloved Diamondbacks. Buckle up, folks; it’s time to go big or go home!
Despite his recent struggles and injury woes, Rhys Hoskins is a player who could significantly impact the Diamondbacks’ roster. In the last season he managed to play, Hoskins flashed his batting prowess, posting impressive figures such as a .345 wOBA and a 122 wRC+. His striking-out rate was a career-worst 25.1%, but this was countered by his better-than-average 10.7% walk rate- a promising sign of his potentially resurgent bat.Injury unfortunately sidelined Hoskins for the entire 2023 season, but this could be a blessing in disguise for the Diamondbacks. The Phillies seem ready to move on, with plans to use Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber in the positions Hoskins previously filled. It opens up the opportunity for the Diamondbacks to swoop in and secure Hoskins’ services.
Though his defensive skills at first base have been less than stellar, transitioning to a full-time DH could alleviate these concerns while allowing him to focus on what he does best: hitting. His predicted signing cost is affordable, and his inclusion wouldn’t prevent the development of promising players like Ivan Melendez and Gino Groover.
Imagine a lineup with Hoskins alongside power hitters like Christian Walker, Ketel Marte, and Corbin Carroll. The Diamondbacks could have four players capable of hitting 25+ home runs next season. Now that’s an exciting prospect!
Shota Imanaga, a widely acclaimed left-hander from Japan, could be the ace up the Diamondback’s sleeve. With a career spent entirely across the Pacific, Imanaga might not ring a bell for most of us. But don’t mistake the lack of familiarity for a lack of skill. In the previous season alone, he pitched 159.2 innings, pulling off an impressive 2.59 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He paired a minimal walk rate of just 3.8% with an incredible 29.5% strikeout rate.
While not exactly a speed demon with a fastball averaging 93-95 MPH, Imanaga’s strength lies in his accuracy and expansive pitch arsenal. He’s got two breaking pitches – a curveball and a cutter-slider – and two off-speed offerings in the form of a sinker and a splitter. His control lets him consistently hit his spots, resulting in a walk rate below 5%.
The financial aspect is also achievable for the Diamondbacks. Predictions suggest Imanaga could command a contract within five years at $75 million, or around $16 million yearly. It could be a sound investment towards creating a formidable rotation for the Diamondbacks, contributing significantly to Arizona Diamondbacks odds of succeeding next season. With the addition of Imanaga, the Diamondbacks might well be on their way to making their mark in the upcoming MLB season.
Aroldis ChapmanAroldis Chapman, renowned as the “Cuban Missile,” could be the high-octane lefty that the Diamondbacks need in their bullpen. Despite recent wobbles with the New York Yankees, Chapman demonstrated a strong comeback with the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. Across 58.1 innings, he maintained a respectable 3.08 ERA, a 2.52 FIP, and a 1.25 WHIP. His walk rate of 14.5% might raise some eyebrows, but it’s worth noting that Chapman has often thrived in situations with a high walk percentage, as evidenced by his career BB% of 12.4%. Most encouraging is his K%, which rebounded to an impressive 41.4%, marking the first time since 2018 he’s achieved a 40%+ K-rate.
One essential factor to consider is Chapman’s regained velocity. After averaging 98.1 MPH from 2018 through 2022 and hitting a career-low 97.5 MPH in 2022, Chapman bounced back to a blistering 99.1 MPH, the fastest he’s thrown since 2017. His max velocity of 103.8 MPH is the hardest he’s thrown since 2018.
Yes, he did struggle towards the season’s end, with nine earned runs, 12 walks, and three home runs in his final 13.2 innings. But that doesn’t dim the brilliance of his previous 45.1 innings, where he held a 2.18 ERA and 1.83 FIP. Nor does it overshadow the eight innings he pitched in the Postseason, allowing only two earned runs with six K’s, albeit five walks.
With his experience and regained firepower, Aroldis Chapman could be a significant asset to the Diamondbacks. Adding him to the team would bolster their high-leverage lefties and provide a reliable option for late-inning, high-stakes situations. If the Diamondbacks are looking for a way to keep the momentum of their NL Pennant run going, they might just find it in the Cuban Missile.
In conclusion, the addition of Rhys Hoskins, Shota Imanaga, and Aroldis Chapman could be a game-changer for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hoskins’ strong batting potential, Imanaga’s impressive pitching repertoire, and Chapman’s regained velocity and late-inning reliability bring a unique strength that could significantly boost the team’s performance.
These strategic signings could transform the Diamondbacks into a formidable competitor in the coming season, making the dream of a World Series victory tangible. As sports fans, all we can do now is wait with bated breath and hope that the management is bold enough to take these audacious steps.