Arizona Diamondbacks Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2013

Arizona Diamondbacks Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

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    The Arizona Diamondbacks finished in second place in the National League West this year, but a record of 81-81 means that there is plenty of room for improvement.

    Several good pieces are already in place in Arizona. Paul Goldschmidt has turned into a star at first, and right fielder Gerardo Parra gives the team a solid player. Shortstop Didi Gregorious impressed in his rookie season.

    Now the team has to find a way to improve. The Diamondbacks made a splash by acquiring left fielder Mark Trumbo from the Los Angeles Angels. Now they will look to sign a starting pitcher.

    There are a few areas that the team has to improve on in order to keep another team from celebrating in its stadium again next season. With a strong foundation already built, the Diamondbacks will be looking to add complementary pieces to contend next year.

    Stay tuned to see what rumors and moves the team is involved with this offseason as this tracker will be updated as news happens. Ownership is looking to build a winner in the desert, so this figures to be an important offseason for the Diamondbacks.

Arizona's Own Free Agents and Done Deals

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    Done Deals

    Dec. 3: Involved in three-team deal, via FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. AZ receives: RHP Justin Choate and OF Todd Glaesmann. CIN receives: LHP David Holmberg. TB receives: C Ryan Hanigan (CIN), RHP Heath Bell (AZ) and cash.

    Dec. 10: Acquired LF Mark Trumbo, RHP A.J. Schugel and a CWS prospect in a three-team deal. LAA received RHP Tyler Skaggs and LHP Hector Santiago. CWS received OF Adam Eaton.

    Dec. 12: Selected Marcos Mateo in the Rule 5 draft

    Dec. 13: RHP Daniel Hudson signed to a minor league deal

    Dec. 15: Acquired reliever Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for infielder Matt Davidson

    Dec. 18: Re-signed 3B Eric Chavez to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million with $1 million roster bonus

     

     

    Free Agents

    UT Willie Bloomquist (Dec. 2: Signed a two-year deal worth between $5 million and $6 million with the Seattle Mariners.)

    3B Eric Chavez (Age 35)

    2013 stats: 80 G, .281/.332/.478, 9 HR, 14 2B, 2 3B, 44 RBI, 19 BB, 45 K 

    C Wil Nieves (Dec. 3: Signed with the Philadelphia Phillies)

    LHP Tony Sipp (Age 30)

    Nov. 20: Designated for assignment and elected free agency, via Diamondbacks' official Twitter account

Arbitration Eligible Players

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    Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Tendered

    RHP Josh Collmenter

    OF Gerardo Parra

    LHP Matt Reynolds (Dec. 2: Signed a one-year, $550,000 deal with 2015 team option worth $600,000)

    LHP Joe Thatcher

    RHP Brad Ziegler (Dec. 20: Signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal with 2016 club option worth $5.5 million-$1 million buyout)

     

    Non-Tendered

    RHP Daniel Hudson (Dec. 13: Re-signed to a minor-league deal)

Dec. 18: Re-Signed 3B Eric Chavez to a One-Year Deal

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    Arizona has re-signed third baseman Eric Chavez, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million with $1 million in roster bonuses.

    Chavez can swing the bat when he steps up to the plate, but he has to find a way to stay healthy. He has played in more than 90 games only once since 2007, and he hasn't played in more than 113 games since the 2006 season.

    He started his career, after his initial debut, by playing in at least 115 games in eight straight years. The third baseman routinely played in 150 games, but injuries have caught up to him.

    Multiple injuries limited him to only 80 games this year. He dealt with injuries to his oblique, knee and hip this year.

    When he played, Chavez was very good. He hit .281 with nine home runs, 14 doubles, two triples and 44 RBI for the Diamondbacks.

    Chavez also hit .281 with 16 home runs in 2012 with the New York Yankees, so he still has something left in his bat.

    The 35-year-old had several American League teams interested in him, but he chose to stay with the Diamondbacks.

Is Jose Valverde Returning to the Desert?

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    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 12:15 p.m. ET

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman confirms Rojas' report and tweeted that he misinterpreted a text. The reliever has not signed with the club, but he has talked to the team.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 12:00 p.m. ET

    Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reported that Jose Valverde says that he has not signed with the Diamondbacks, which conflicts an earlier report.

    ---End of update---

    CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that Jose Valverde had accepted a minor-league deal with Arizona.

    It would be a low-risk deal that could pay off big for the Diamondbacks.

    Valvarde has 286 saves in his 11-year career, including three seasons with at least 44. From 2007 to 2012, he recorded at least 25 saves in each season.

    The right-hander was as good as it gets in 2011. He recorded 49 saves with a 2.24 ERA and a 1.189 WHIP that season. However, he struggled badly in 2013.

    In fact, Valverde wasn't even signed until the season was underway. When he took the mound, his numbers weren't what he was used to. He posted a 5.59 ERA and a 1.241 WHIP in 20 games. He did record nine saves, but he also went 0-1 with three blown saves.

    The 33-year-old joined the club near the end of April, and he was gone by late June. Now he will get a chance to try to get back on track with the team he started with.

    Valverde went 9-14 with a 3.29 ERA, a 1.173 WHIP and 98 saves in five seasons in the desert. He was solid during his time in Arizona, but he was even better after he left. Now he has some work to do to get back in the majors.

    It's a smart move by the Diamondbacks. If Valverde is able to turn it around, this move will look genius.

Dec. 16: Acquired RHP Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Age: 24

    Throws: R

    2013 Stats: 68 G, 71.1 IP, 5-4, 40 SV, 3.79 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 6 HR, 72 K/23 BB 

    Contract status: Under team control through 2017 season

     

    The Diamondbacks have acquired reliever Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for infielder Matt Davidson.

    Heath Bell was traded earlier this offseason, and Reed was brought in to be the team's closer.

    The right-hander has 69 career saves, all of which have come over the last two seasons. He made a brief appearance in the majors in 2011, but he took over as closer in 2012.

    Reed is great against both right-handed (.220 average) and left-handed (.210) batters. His numbers against both sides are eerily similar, and the Diamondbacks don't have to worry about him struggling against one side.

    One split that is concerning, however, is his home-road splits. 

     GIPWLSVERAWHIPKBB
    Home373942212.540.923417
    Road3132.112195.291.3303116

    Reed was brilliant at home, but he did have his struggles at home. If he can settle into Chase Field like he did in Chicago, this move will help out the Arizona bullpen tremendously.

    The reliever has a strong fastball that can blow hitters away, and his slider is a very good complementary pitch.

    Reed is a terrific closer who will be a dominant force out of the bullpen, so the Diamondbacks made another move to take the next step. 

Dec. 13: Daniel Hudson Re-Signs with Diamondbacks on a Minor League Deal

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Daniel Hudson was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks after he couldn't reach an agreement with the club, but he has been re-signed to a minor league deal, via ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

    The right-hander has undergone Tommy John surgery twice and has not pitched since 2012. After those surgeries, it remains to be seen how he will pitch if/when he returns.

    Hudson has gone 28-17 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.209 WHIP in 62 appearances, including 58 starts, in four years. He is 26-15 with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.176 WHIP in 53 starts over parts of three seasons in the desert. He won 16 games in 2011.

     

Justin Masterson: Trade Target

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    As the Diamondbacks look to get an ace, they have discussed Cleveland's Justin Masterson, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.

    Multiple sources have said that the Diamondbacks are likely to sign a pitcher rather than trade for one after trading away young players for Mark Trumbo.

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 3:22 p.m. ET

    In regards to Justin Masterson, the Diamondbacks are probably out of luck.

    The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reported that two general managers have confirmed that Masterson is available but said the price is very steep. MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince tweeted that Indians manager Terry Francona called Masterson to tell him that he's not getting traded.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 11:37 a.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Diamondbacks could still acquire a starter via trade despite trading away young talent to Los Angeles. Shortstop Didi Gregorious, infielder Chris Owings, Trevor Cahill and Randall Delgado could all be valuable trade chips.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 8:58 a.m. ET

    Arizona dealt Tyler Skaggs to the Los Angeles Angels in order to get Mark Trumbo. In doing so, the Diamondbacks may have dealt one of the key pieces that the Chicago Cubs were targeting in a possible trade for pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Diamondbacks would now "really love" to land Masterson. Cleveland hasn't shown that it wants to deal Masterson, but it is willing to listen to offers.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:53 p.m. ET

    Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers plans on leaving the Winter Meetings with a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

    Towers provided quotes to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert:

    We plan on leaving with a pitcher before we're done

    We've pretty much had all the meetings to get a good idea where all the free agents are at. We just have a couple of clubs we have to circle back with to see if we're still a player on the trade front with the two pieces that we moved today. A couple of the potential trades we had, one or the other might have been involved in it. I don't know if we still have enough where it makes sense.

    Arizona is still open to getting a pitcher via trade or free agency. 

    ---End of update---

     

    The 28-year-old went 14-10 with a 3.45 ERA and is 44-55 with a 4.08 ERA in parts of five seasons with the Tribe.

    Consistency has been an issue for Masterson. Here are his earned run averages from 2010 to 2013: 4.70, 3.21, 4.93 and 3.45. He has the potential to be a stud pitcher, but he hasn't put together two back-to-back seasons in a row.

    The Indians are said to be listening to offers for him, as Masterson is entering the last year of his contract.

Dec. 12: Selected Marcos Mateo in the Rule 5 Draft

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Arizona selected former Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcos Mateo in the Rule 5 draft for $50,000.

    Mateo has pitched in parts of two seasons in the majors, but he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2011. In his two seasons, he posted a 5.04 ERA with a 1.41 WHIP in 44 games. He struck out 51 batters and walked 19 in 44.2 innings.

    The 29-year-old spent the 2013 between three levels in the minors. He pitched in rookie ball, Double-A and Triple-A. He went 2-0 with a save in 24 games, including two starts. The right-hander posted a 1.74 ERA with a 1.194 WHIP in 31 innings between the three levels.

    MLB.com's Jim Callis has a high-90s fastball with an upper-80s slider. There is plenty of talent in his arm, but his command still needs to improve.

    Per Rule 5 Draft rules, the Diamondbacks must keep Mateo on their 25-man roster for the entire season or offer him back to Chicago for $25,000.

     

Masahiro Tanaka: Diamondbacks' No. 1 Target

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    Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka has become the Diamondbacks' No. 1 target, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

    It still remains to be see as to whether or not his club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, will even post him this winter. The MLB and NPB have yet to agree on new posting rules, and Rakuten doesn't like the proposed changes, according to Peter Gammons.

    Tanaka is expected to be "the next big thing," and the Diamondbacks are targeting him to make another big splash. The Dodgers and the Yankees are expected to be players for him as well.

    Going after Tanaka makes sense for Arizona. He's projected to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, and he won't cost the team a draft pick.

Dec. 10: Acquired LF Mark Trumbo and Two Prospects in a Three-Team Deal

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    Age: 27

    Bats: R

    2013 Stats: .234/.294/.453, 34 HR, 30 2B, 100 RBI

    Contract Status: Arbitration eligible, under team control through the 2016 season

     

    The Arizona Diamondbacks have made a big splash by trading for left fielder Mark Trumbo in a blockbuster deal, according to Nick Piecoro of AZCentral Sports. The Los Angeles Angels and the Chicago White Sox were the other two teams involved in the deal.

    Keith Law first reported what each team would receive in the deal:

    • Diamondbacks get: LF Mark Trumbo (from LAA), RHP A.J. Schugel (from LAA) and a CWS prospect to be named later
    • Angels get: RHP Tyler Skaggs (from AZ) and LHP Hector Santiago (from CWS)
    • White Sox get: OF Adam Eaton (from AZ) 

    Arizona was able to pull off the deal thanks to a nice group of young pitchers. The Angels were coveting pitching, and they were dangling Trumbo to see what they could get.

    Trumbo hit 34 home runs and 30 doubles with 100 RBI in 2013. However, his slash line dropped to .234/.294/.453. He has at least 29 home runs in each of the past three seasons. His power makes him a great option for Arizona. 

    The Diamondbacks were tied for 25th in home runs, and their left fielders tied for 22nd with only 14 homers. They addressed that weakness by acquiring Trumbo.

    With Trumbo and Paul Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks have a strong middle of the lineup. It was a bold move to add a big bat, and Arizona sent a message that it is ready to contend.

    Arizona was a .500 team last season. Adding some pop behind Goldschmidt should help the team challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.

    The Diamondbacks also received RHP A.J. Schugel from the Angels. The 24-year-old has quickly worked his way through the minors and pitched in Triple-A last season. Arizona will also receive a player to be named later from Chicago.

Matt Garza: Free Agent Target

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    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    Now that the team acquired a big bat for the outfield, it is looking to add a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. Nick Piecoro of AZCentral Sports reported that the Diamondbacks have contacted Matt Garza.

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 9:12 p.m. ET

    The Diamondbacks are unlikely to add a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher before the end of the Winter Meetings, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.

    GM Kevin Towers does not sound optimistic about landing Garza. The lack of a draft pick tied to Garza makes him attractive to many teams. Towers weighed in on how many years the Diamondbacks may offer Garza:

    Longer contracts for pitchers always I thought were pretty risky. It seems like most of the free-agent pitching out there are looking for longer term than we're probably interested in. It depends on the individual, too. Some guys are a little older or there's more risk attached to them, some have had health issues in the past, others haven't. I'd say anything beyond three to me could be risky.

    No [on five years] and probably not four, which may eliminate us.

    Garza's agent also left the Winter Meetings to go back to California on Wednesday, so Garza likely won't sign before the meetings end.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 12:15 p.m. ET

    The Diamondbacks are talking to Garza, but CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported that the team has "significant work to do" still.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 11:19 a.m. ET

    ESPN's Jayson Stark tweeted that Garza could sign in the next 24 to 48 hours. Arizona is one of the teams in the running for the right-hander.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:53 p.m. ET

    Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers plans on leaving the Winter Meetings with a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

    Towers provided quotes to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert:

    We plan on leaving with a pitcher before we're done

    We've pretty much had all the meetings to get a good idea where all the free agents are at. We just have a couple of clubs we have to circle back with to see if we're still a player on the trade front with the two pieces that we moved today. A couple of the potential trades we had, one or the other might have been involved in it. I don't know if we still have enough where it makes sense.

    Arizona is still open to getting a pitcher via trade or free agency. 

    ---End of update---

     

    Arizona was rumored to have been in the running for southpaws David Price and Chris Sale, but now that it gave up young talent, it is more likely to sign a starting pitcher rather than trade for one.

    Garza has bounced around the league in his career. He has played for four teams in his eight-year career, including two last season. He was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers in the middle of the season in 2013.

    The right-hander went 10-6 with a 3.82 ERA and a 1.326 WHIP last season. However, he struggled when he went to Texas and was put in a pennant race. He went 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts with the Rangers.

    The 30-year-old has dealt with elbow, shoulder and lat injuries in the past. Those injuries could scare some teams off and hurt his value.

    Arizona wants a top pitcher, and Garza is one of the best available on the market. 

Homer Bailey: Diamondbacks Are Interested Ace

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Arizona has been linked to another high-profile pitcher. MLB.com's Phil Rogers tweeted that the Arizona Diamondbacks are pursuing Bailey in their quest to get a front-of-the-rotation starter.

    However, Cincinnati GM Walt Jocketty said that the Reds are trying to sign Bailey to an extension, not trade him, via MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.

    The 27-year-old went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 2013. He has thrown two no-hitters since September of 2012. 

    It appears that the Diamondbacks would have to blow the Reds away with an offer in order for them to change their minds. This move probably won't happen, but it would certainly bring back the front-of-the-rotation starter that the Diamondbacks desire.

Jeff Samardzija: Trade Target

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    Brian Kersey/Getty Images

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 11:37 a.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Diamondbacks could still acquire a starter via trade despite trading away young talent to Los Angeles. Shortstop Didi Gregorious, infielder Chris Owings, Trevor Cahill and Randall Delgado could all be valuable trade chips.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 8:58 a.m. ET

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Diamondbacks may be looking elsewhere after trading Tyler Skaggs, who could've been part of a package for Jeff Samardzija, to the Los Angeles Angels. The Diamondbacks are now reportedly interested in Cleveland's Justin Masterson.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 11:53 p.m. ET

    Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers plans on leaving the Winter Meetings with a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.

    Towers provided quotes to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert:

    We plan on leaving with a pitcher before we're done

    We've pretty much had all the meetings to get a good idea where all the free agents are at. We just have a couple of clubs we have to circle back with to see if we're still a player on the trade front with the two pieces that we moved today. A couple of the potential trades we had, one or the other might have been involved in it. I don't know if we still have enough where it makes sense.

    Arizona is still open to getting a pitcher via trade or free agency. 

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET

    Even though multiple sources have said that the Diamondbacks are likely to sign a pitcher rather than trade for one, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the club is still looking at Jeff Samardzija.

     

    ---End of update---

     

     

    *Update: Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. ET

    ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine tweeted out on Tuesday that there is nothing going on between the Cubs and the Diamondbacks. Although the teams did talk about a deal involving Samardzija in July, nothing appears to be going on right now.

    ---End of update---

     

    *Update: Monday, Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET

    ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Diamondbacks are talking to the Chicago Cubs about a possible trade involving starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

    After having a 3.81 ERA in 2012, the right-hander finished this past season 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA. He did strike out 214 batters in 213.2 innings, so he showed that he can be a power pitcher.

    The 28-year-old has a lot of talent, and the Diamondbacks could improve their rotation by acquiring him.

     

Dec. 3: Involved in a 3-Team Trade with the Reds and the Rays

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Now FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Reds have traded catcher Ryan Hanigan to the Tampa Bay Rays. Details are unknown, however. The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay reported that it is indeed a three-way deal that will involve the Reds, the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 3:10 p.m. ET

    Arizona will only have to pay the Tampa Rays $500,000 for them to take on the rest of Bell's $9 million salary for 2014, via USA Today's Bob Nightengale. The Diamondbacks can use the money that they save in the deal on starting pitching and a corner outfielder with power.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 2:53 p.m. ET

    The Diamondbacks will receive RHP Justin Choate and OF Todd Glaesmann from the Rays, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.

    ---End of update---

    *Update: Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 2:46 p.m. ET

    FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cincinnati Reds will get LHP David Holmberg from the Diamondbacks. Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com tweeted that RHP Heath Bell could be involved, and Rosenthal reported that Bell will be going to Tampa Bay in the trade. 

    ---End of update---

Nate Schierholtz: Possible Trade Candidate

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    In 2013, Nate Schierholtz put together the best season of his career for the Chicago Cubs, and now, at least one other team is interested in his services for the 2014 season.

    According to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Diamondbacks are interested in adding Schierholtz to help add production from a corner outfield position.

    Since Schierholtz is still arbitration eligible, he is under Cubs' control, so a trade would be necessary. Schierholtz would likely continue in his role as a platoon player in Arizona, as he hit just .170 against left-handed pitchers in 2013. 

    He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2003 MLB draft. While he made his MLB debut just four years later, Schierholtz never quite caught on as a regular starter in his five-plus seasons for the Giants.

    He was included in the trade deadline deal in 2012 that sent him to the Philaelphia Phillies for right fielder Hunter Pence. Schierholtz was non-tendered by the Phillies and signed by the Cubs in December 2012. 

    Schierholtz's success last season will likely earn him a nice raise in arbitration, and the Diamondbacks are certainly looking for answers in the outfield after trading Jason Kubel last August. 

Matt Tuiasosopo: Claimed off Waivers

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    *Update: Friday, Nov. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET

    The Arizona Diamondbacks made a move to add a bat on the first day of November. The club claimed Matt Tuiasosopo off waivers from Detroit.

    Age: 27

    Bats/Throws: Right/Right

    Position: LF/1B/3B

    This move gives the team some flexibility. Tuiasosopo can play first base, third base and left field. Obviously Paul Goldschmidt is going to be playing every day at first, but the Tuiasosopo can play either third base or left field. The majority of his games in 2013 came in left field.

    In 191 plate appearances, Tuiasosopo hit .244/.351/.415 with seven home runs and seven doubles.