Arodys Vizcaino came into the 2019 season with a ton of questions regarding the health of his troublesome right shoulder. When healthy, he produced as a late-inning option for the Braves (0.9 fWAR per 65 innings pitched, never an FIP- above 93) but his availability became suspect due to persistent shoulder issues. Vizcaino entered last offseason eligible for arbitration and there were discussions as to whether he would even be tendered a contract due to those injury concerns. Atlanta and Vizcaino eventually struck a deal, avoiding arbitration with a one-year deal worth $4.8 million.
What were the expectations?
In general, Vizcaino was expected to be a high-leverage arm if healthy, though forecasts about his performance were a lot more modest. “Decent” is probably the best way to describe expectations for him.
What went right in 2019?
Not much, actually. The shoulder soreness returned in Spring Training, Vizcaino made the Opening Day roster but appeared in just four games for the Braves allowing three hits, one run, three walks and six strikeouts in four innings. In his best outing of the year, he locked down a come-from-behind Braves victory on April 3 by retiring the Cubs in the ninth — the Braves had scored four runs in the eighth to take a 6-4 lead, and Vizcaino retired Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber on a groundout and two strikeouts, working around a one-out walk to Anthony Rizzo in the process.
What went wrong in 2019?
Vizcaino was placed back on the Injured List on April 14 and opted for season-ending surgery performed on April 17, effectively ending his season. He was then traded along with Jesse Biddle to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Anthony Swarzak which amounted to swap of two struggling relievers with Vizcaino’s contract added in to balance things out. On the field, Vizcaino’s worst performance was also his last action of 2019 — on April 7, he was asked to close out a one-run game against the Marlins but failed to do so, giving up a homer to Curtis Granderson to tie the game at three runs apiece. The Braves would walk the game off four batters later without making an out, so it was fine in the end, but it was a lame way for Vizcaino to end his 2019 campaign nonetheless.
What to expect in 2020?
Vizcaino will turn 29 in November and will be a free agent this offseason. If his shoulder issues are behind him, then he looks like someone that can still contribute to a major league bullpen. However, he will have to show he is healthy and may have to take a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite to do so. Someone will probably take a flier on him; it could even be the Braves, who have anything but a settled bullpen at this point.