With young outfielders Corbin Carroll, Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy and Alek Thomas all left-handed hitters, one of the D-backs’ goals this offseason was to add a right-handed hitter to the group.
Mariners receive: OF/C Cooper Hummel
D-backs receive: OF Kyle Lewis
Here are some things to know about the trade:
The D-backs are betting on Lewis being healthy and they still believe in his upside
Lewis won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season when he hit .262/.364/.437 and showed good discipline at the plate.
Injuries to his right knee limited him to just 36 games in 2021 and he appeared in 18 games for the Mariners last year when a concussion also sidelined him briefly.
“We felt like he was a good fit for us,” D-backs GM Mike Hazen said. “We’re taking a shot at some upside here with the power potential, he’s gotten on base when healthy, and we feel like this is a good opportunity for us acquire some potential impact. He seems like he’s healthy right now, finished the season healthy. The concussion was a little bit of an outlier when he got hit, but we’re going to work hard to stay on top of [his health] and how that kind of fits from a playing time standpoint and a use standpoint. But when he’s in the lineup he’s a good fit for our team.”
The D-backs don’t need him to play center
Every inning Lewis played defensively in 2020 came in center field, but with Carroll, Varsho, McCarthy and Thomas all able to play center, Lewis will be used in the corner or designated hitter spots.
“We’re looking at his spot as somebody that is going to jump out into the outfield and bang a little bit and obviously hit from the other side of the plate,” Hazen said. “I don’t believe anybody we acquire is going to play any center field outside of the guys we have on the roster.”
The chances the D-backs trade one of their young outfielders remains the same
It would seem on the surface the acquisition of Lewis would make it more likely that the D-backs would trade one of their young outfielders like Thomas or Varsho for help at other positions, but while that’s still very much a possibility, this trade didn’t impact that.
“Nothing has changed,” Hazen said. “This doesn’t change any of those dynamics. This rounds out the roster I think a little more from a right-left standpoint. Opportunity that could present itself for us to continue to improve the roster, we’re going to look at those things.”
The trade of Hummel also doesn’t change the calculus behind the plate
Hummel was used as the team’s backup catcher the final couple months of the season and he went to the Arizona Fall League to continue his work behind the plate.
With or without Hummel, though, the D-backs planned on looking into upgrading if not the starting catcher position currently occupied by Carson Kelly, then certainly the backup role.
Hazen said the most logical outcome is probably that they find a way to strengthen the backup position, but as he has said many times over the past couple of months, all options are on the table for improving any aspect of the roster.