Miller, Owings, Boxberger hit free-agent market

D-backs decline to tender contracts to trio; roster stands at 35

November 29th, 2018

PHOENIX -- The D-backs did not tender contracts to veteran pitcher , infielder/outfielder Chris Owings and closer Brad Boxberger prior to Friday night's deadline.

The trio became free agents as a result and can sign with any team, including re-signing with Arizona.

The moves are not a surprise given the salary increase each was expected to receive through the arbitration process, but they are still noteworthy given their histories.

Miller arrived in Arizona prior to the 2016 season as the centerpiece of a deal that sent outfielder , shortstop Dansby Swanson and pitcher to the Braves.

The trade was widely panned at the time and it has only gotten worse since Miller struggled in 2016 and needed Tommy John surgery after a good start to '17. In 29 games with the D-backs, Miller is 5-18 with a 6.35 ERA and has appeared in just nine games over the past two seasons.

Owings, 27, was a supplemental first-round pick by the D-backs in the 2009 Draft out of Gilbert (S.C.) High School. He made his big league debut in '13.

Owings was popular among his teammates and D-backs manager Torey Lovullo valued Owings' leadership, but injuries combined with the emergence of Nick Ahmed at shortstop and at second to limit Owings' playing time.

Boxberger was acquired by the D-backs from the Rays last offseason and opened the year as the team's closer.

While he did save 32 games, Boxberger struggled in September, lost his hold on the job and finished with a 4.39 ERA and eight blown saves. Because saves are valued highly in arbitration hearings, Boxberger figured to get a big raise from the $1.85 million he made last season.

and give the D-backs options at closer for next year, and the emergence of Yoan Lopez in September adds to the depth that helped make Boxberger expendable.

While the non-tender decision doesn't necessarily end the trio's time with Arizona, it certainly makes it likely.

"Very tough decisions for us with all three guys," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. "Great teammates, great guys, but these are just some of the tough decisions we have to make. We felt like we had opportunities for others."

The D-backs did tender contracts to the rest of the unsigned players on their roster including their other 11 arbitration-eligible players; , , , T.J. McFarland, Robbie Ray, , John Ryan Murphy, Ahmed, , and Steven Souza Jr.