HomeMLB RumorsDiamondbacks Designate Peter Strzelecki For Assignment, Select Tucker Barnhart

Diamondbacks Designate Peter Strzelecki For Assignment, Select Tucker Barnhart

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The Diamondbacks announced that they have selected the contract of catcher Tucker Barnhart, with right-hander Peter Strzelecki designated for assignment in a corresponding move.

The Snakes came into spring with just two catchers on their 40-man roster in Gabriel Moreno and José Herrera. The latter was optioned over the weekend, pointing to Barnhart getting to serve as Moreno’s backup to open the season, which has now been made official by this move.

Barnhart, 33, signed a minor league deal with the D’Backs in January. The veteran has hit a tepid .217/.333/.304 here in spring, but he’s always been a glove-first backstop. In just under 3,000 major league plate appearances in his career, he has slashed .243/.319/.356 for a wRC+ of 79, indicating he’s been 21% below league average.

But he’s been worth 12 Defensive Runs Saved in his career while Statcast has looked favorably on his work both in terms of blocking and with the running game. Each of Statcast, FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus grade him as a below-average framer for his career, but all three agree that he hit a nadir in 2018 and has been above average over the past five years. He’ll give the club a solid veteran presence behind the 24-year-old Moreno.

Strzelecki, 29, came over to the Diamondbacks from the Brewers in last year’s deadline swap that sent Andrew Chafin to Milwaukee. After that deal, Strzelecki was mostly kept on optional assignment, only making one appearance in the majors for Arizona. Here in spring, Strzelecki has made four appearances, striking out four batters while allowing one walk and two earned runs.

The Diamondbacks will now have one week to trade the righty or pass him through waivers. He has 72 major league innings under his belt, mostly with the Brewers, with a 3.63 earned run average in that time. He has paired a 24.8% strikeout rate with an 8.7% walk rate. Over the past two years, he has a 4.88 ERA in 51 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level, punching out 34.8% of opponents but also walking 13.6% of them.

Strzelecki still has an option remaining and could appeal to clubs in search of bullpen depth since he wouldn’t require an active roster spot. But many clubs around the league are facing 40-man roster crunches at the moment as they finalize their decisions prior to Opening Day. If he were to sneak through waivers unclaimed, he would stick with the Diamondbacks as bullpen depth but without taking up a spot on the 40-man.

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