Image credit: Paul Sewald (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The D-backs have fallen from first place to third place in the National League West, but they’re still in the thick of the playoff race and adding pieces at the trade deadline.
The D-backs acquired closer Paul Sewald from the Mariners on Monday afternoon in exchange for utilityman Josh Rojas, No. 13 prospect Dominic Canzone and No. 16 prospect Ryan Bliss.
Sewald ranks seventh in the American League with 21 saves. He bolsters a D-backs bullpen that ranks 23rd in the majors with a 4.49 ERA and has converted just 27 of 45 save opportunities.
Paul Sewald, RHP
After pitching poorly for four seasons in the Mets bullpen, Sewald signed a minor league deal with the Mariners before the 2021 season and unexpectedly blossomed into one of the best relievers in the American League. Sewald went 18-8, 2.88 with 52 saves over three seasons with the Mariners and is in the midst of his second straight 20-save season. Sewald confounds hitters with a rising, low-90s fastball and sweeping mid-80s slider with late break out of a low arm slot. The high spin rates and movement on his pitches make him difficult to square up and yield lots of swings and misses in the strike zone. He throws both pitches for strikes with above-average control and keeps self-inflicted mistakes like walks, hit batters and wild pitches to a minimum. Sewald will immediately step in as the D-backs closer and stabilize a unit that has struggled badly to close out games this year. He is under contract through the end of next season.
Josh Rojas, 3B/2B
Rojas is a versatile utilityman whose production has plummeted this year. He hit just .228/.292/.296 with zero home runs in 59 games this year and was demoted to Triple-A in June, where he suffered a back injury that sidelined him for three weeks. Rojas has hit better in the past and at the very least offers the defensive versatility to play third base, second base, shortstop, left field and right field. He will be arbitration-eligible after this season and is under team control through 2026.
Dominic Canzone, OF
Canzone has done nothing but hit since his college days at Ohio State. He hit .354/.431/.634 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs at Triple-A Reno this year and earned his first big league callup, where he went 9-for-38 with a home run and eight RBIs in his first 15 games. Canzone has an unconventional swing that is a bit rigid and stiff, but it works. He makes frequent contact, hits balls extremely hard and controls the strike zone to limit his strikeouts. He does damage to all fields and projects to be an average hitter who gets to his power in games. Canzone is limited to a corner outfield spot and is a fringy defender with fringy speed and arm strength. His bat is good enough for him to carve out a career as a part-time starter and potentially more.
Ryan Bliss, 2B
A second-round pick in 2021 out of Auburn, Bliss struggled last year as he chased power but rebounded in a big way this season after he re-oriented his approach to be an all-fields, line-drive hitter. He hit .358/.414/.594 at Double-A Amarillo before earning a promotion to Triple-A Reno, where he got off to a slow start through 12 games. Bliss is an undersized, speedy second baseman who catches up to velocity and drives the ball on a line, particularly to the opposite-field gap in right-center. He gets in trouble when he tries to hit for power and projects to be a table-setter who hits for a high average and uses his plus speed to steal bases. Formerly a shortstop, Bliss converted to second base and has begun to look comfortable at the keystone with natural, athletic actions. He has a chance to be a second-division starter or utilityman as long as he stays with his contact-first approach.