D-backs bring back veteran RHP Davies on 1-year deal

January 12th, 2023

The D-backs are bringing back right-hander Zach Davies on a one-year deal, the club announced on Wednesday. The contract will guarantee Davies $5 million and could pay him up to an additional $3 million in incentives.

The D-backs designated RHP J.B. Bukauskas for assignment in a corresponding move. Another D-backs-related transaction that took place Wednesday was right-hander Edwin Uceta being claimed off waivers by the Twins. Uceta was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for veteran third baseman Evan Longoria, whom the D-backs signed to a one-year, $4 million deal on Thursday.

Davies, who will turn 30 on Feb. 7, posted a 4.09 ERA across 27 starts last season, his first with Arizona. By re-signing him, the D-backs give themselves another veteran option in the starting rotation. He is 58-53 with a 4.14 ERA over 182 career starts for the D-backs, Padres and Cubs.

"I think he really stabilized things for us in the rotation last year, especially from a consistency standpoint," general manager Mike Hazen said. "We love the guy. We feel like he's a pro. He fits in great in our clubhouse. We felt the whole time that we needed another starting pitcher, even though I know we have a lot of kids coming.

"Yes, those guys are going to get opportunities to pitch for us, but we felt like, starting off the season and moving into the season, we'd create a little bit more depth and runway for all of them, and for our team. And adding Zach -- obviously a quality starting pitcher for us -- seemed to make the most sense."

, and are returning from last year's club and the team has a number of young, highly regarded pitchers. Some, like , and , saw time in the big leagues last season. , the organization's Pitcher of the Year, likely would have made his debut as well had he needed to be added to the 40-man roster.

Hazen said that while those young pitching prospects will get their chance during the 2023 campaign, he doesn't envision going into Spring Training with a bullpen role set in stone for them. He added that doing that and then potentially needing them to join the rotation later in the year would increase the chance of injury unless they are sent down to the Minors and built back up for a starter's workload.

Hazen also did not rule out the possibility of going to a six-man rotation at some point during the season.

"[The Davies signing] allows us to be more aggressive in pushing starters into the bullpen," Hazen said. "I think that's the more realistic scenario that I would envision happening if everyone stays healthy. Everyone doesn't stay healthy -- this conversation will, unfortunately, possibly change during the early part of the season. 

"So that's my largest concern in making those decisions in Spring Training -- it's not to hold [the young] guys back from being on our team. ... We also want starting pitching that is going to carry us. [Last season,] we were a disaster because our entire starting rotation was gone by May 1."

Even after making a big trade with the Blue Jays that sent catcher/outfielder Daulton Varsho to Toronto in exchange for infielder/outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno, as well as signing Longoria and bringing Davies back, the D-backs aren't yet done shopping this offseason.

"We're still trying to add to the bullpen if we can," Hazen said. "We're working through mostly trade scenarios at this point. So we'd still like to get another reliever if we could."