The Diamondbacks signed Joc Pederson late last month and plan to use him as their primary designated hitter, but the Snakes remain on the lookout for a right-handed bat to pair with Pederson, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Among the names they’re considering are Randal Grichuk, Adam Duvall and Tommy Pham, he adds.
Beyond Pederson at designated hitter, Arizona also has lefties in center field (Alek Thomas) and in right field (Corbin Carroll). The team’s re-signing of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on a three-year pact helped to balance out an all-lefty outfield mix, but in the event that Gurriel misses any time, the top option to replace him would lefty-swinging Jake McCarthy. As such, there’s reason to have interest in a right-handed outfield bat beyond simply wanting a platoon partner for Pederson.
The mere possibility of Pederson and Pham on the same roster will prompt boundless quips about fantasy football, but the two would form a rather natural platoon in Arizona’s DH slot. Pederson has made a career of slugging against right-handed pitching (.242/.344/.490) but carries a bleak .209/.293/.329 slash against lefties — including a .186/.327/.279 output with the Giants in 2023. Pham, meanwhile, is a .271/.381/.453 hitter against southpaws.
Pham, 36 next month, hit .262/.332/.435 against lefties in 2023 — a season split between the Mets and the D-backs. It’s not the first time this winter that Arizona has been linked to a reunion with Pham, and their ongoing interest suggests that beyond giving the Snakes a useful right-handed bat, he was a good fit in the team’s clubhouse. Defensively, Pham is primarily a left fielder at this stage of his career. He did log 45 frames in center last season, but he hasn’t played the position even semi-regularly since 2018.
Duvall, who turned 35 in September, has generally even splits in his career: .232/.301/.469 against lefties and .232/.287/.473 against righties. He strikes out a bit more and walks a bit less against right-handers but doesn’t overwhelmingly favor pitchers of either handedness. That might make him a suboptimal platoon partner for Pederson, but it does give him some more utility of the D-backs incur injuries in their outfield and/or at designated hitter, with Pederson.
Duvall graded out as an elite corner outfield defender earlier in his career, but metrics like Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average have viewed him as more of an average outfielder as he progresses into his mid-30s. The Red Sox did give Duvall a career-high 478 innings in center field last season, though the results weren’t what the team had hoped (-5 DRS, -4 OAA).
At 32 years old, Grichuk offers a younger version of a comparable skill set. He’s a career .267/.315/.507 hitter against left-handed pitching and has experience at all three outfield positions. Though he drew strong grades for his center field defense earlier in his career, defensive metrics have increasingly panned his work there. Grichuk is still a capable corner outfielder with average speed and above-average arm strength, and last year’s massive .328/.388/.607 slash against southpaws is particularly appealing for a team specifically looking for help against lefties.
The Diamondbacks currently project for a $142MM payroll, per Roster Resource, which would top their prior franchise record by nearly $11MM. That apparently won’t stop general manager Mike Hazen and his staff from pursuing further upgrades in free agency. None of Pham, Grichuk or Duvall will break the bank — all could likely be had on one-year contracts — but every dollar spent on payroll at this point pushes the D-backs further into uncharted territory.