The Dragon comes back to the Desert along with two new Relief Pitchers
The injured dragon is back in the desert for another year to rehab from Tommy John Surgery and hopefully provide a boost to the club around the All-Star break. The Dragon I’m referring to is Chris Devenski. He’s a former World Series-winning relief pitcher with the Astros before signing with the Diamondbacks before last season.
He ended up only pitching in 8 games, 7.1 innings, of a rather mediocre pitching before it was revealed that he was pitching through an elbow injury. That injury ended up leading to Tommy John which knocked him out for the rest of the season. Luckily, if there is any luck in an injury, it was early enough in the season that the team could get a full read on his rehab and how he was doing. This allowed Mike Hazen to decide to offer Chris a minor league contract to keep him in the organization.
It’s a solid minor league signing for a former All-Star pitcher who’s only 30. He’s nicknamed the Dragon for his curve/slider. Last season, in those 7.1 innings, he allowed 11 hits, 2 walks, 5 K’s, and had an 8.59/6.58 ERA/FIP. Not great numbers, but when you factor in that he had a lifetime 3.21 ERA/3.49 FIP in 305 innings with 327 K’s, and only 80 walks before 2020 (missed season due to injury/covid), then it’s reasonable to expect him to hopefully bounce back.
Plus, this signing is cheap enough that it’s a solid re-pickup to help the Diamondbacks’ horrendous bullpen at some point next year.
New Pitchers come to help the Diamondbacks’ Bullpen
Speaking of helping the team’s bullpen, Mike Hazen has claimed two other pitchers over the past few weeks. Those two pitchers are Edwin Uceta and Zack Burdi. Edwin Uceta comes from the Hollywood Dodgers after he was placed on waivers during the playoffs when LA needed to replace Justin Turner after his injury. I foresee Edwin being a bullpen pitcher in the long run.
Edwin’s only 23 and made his MLB debut in 2021. He got pounded hard by hitters but pounded them right back. Over his 20.1 innings pitched, he gave up a massive 15 runs on 19 hits and an alarming 12 walks. However, he struck out 25 batters as well. Take the good with the bad, especially for a team that’s in desperate need of pitchers who can strike out batters.
Plus, Edwin’s only 23 and was returning from a lumbar strain. With a new coaching staff, healthy off-season, and a fresh start, it’s quite easy to see him reaching new heights. He’s a great strikeout artist having struck out over 29% of opposing batters in Triple-AAA and was the Dodgers’ 18th ranked prospect. To steal him away for free from a rival team makes the pickup so much sweeter. Welcome to the team, Edwin!
Another low-key claim by Hazen and the Diamondbacks was that of Zack Burdi. He was last with the Orioles who put him on outright waivers when the team claimed him. He’s a power-right-handed pitcher who throws absolute gas. He averages close to 98 MPH. That’s a huge part of the bullpen that the team has been missing. We had no one that could throw hard.
Unfortunately, Burdi has struggled with his control as he’s given up 7 HRs but struck out 18 in 17+ innings since the beginning of the 2020 season. Despite that, for a “free” pickup of a younger pitcher that can throw hard is well worth it. The former first-round pick from the White Sox has multiple option years remaining which will allow the team to send him to Reno after Spring Training if they deem so. Welcome to the team, Zack!
With these moves, it’s hopefully looking like an off-season where Mike Hazen will be targeting the bullpen to improve the Diamondbacks a ton. Please. Hopefully, this is only just the beginning!
May the Force be with You…