Recent Diamondbacks Free Agency news
By Jake Oliver
Diamondbacks sign injured, but high impact reliever Keone Kela
Although Keone Kela underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021 as a member of the Padres, the Dbacks still decided to sign him. He won't be ready at the start of the season, but the hope is he's ready near June. This would give Arizona another late-inning reliever who has a history of being an impact pitcher. This was reported by FanSided's very own reporter Robert Murray!
Kela originally debuted in 2015 with the Texas Rangers. He eventually worked his way into a closer role with the Rangers in 2018 saving 24 games before being dealt to Pittsburgh. He would continue being an impact reliever in Pittsburgh until struggling over 3 games in the shortened 2020 season. He also missed time with injuries. Then, TJ occurred in 2021.
Regardless, the 28-year-old pitcher has pitched in every MLB season since 2015 giving him 7 years of experience. Over 227 1/3 innings, he's recorded a 3.23 ERA, 30.1% K rate, 135 ERA+, 3.39 FIP, 23-13 record, 279 K's, and 86 walks. He's been worth 5.0 WAR as well. This is an excellent deal to get a great bullpen arm in our pen. Yes, he's injured, but he will be back. It's a cheap deal as well which lessens the risk. If he performs amazing, we could re-sign him or even trade him at the trade deadline. It's exciting to see the Dbacks actually try to improve our bullpen.
Other Diamondbacks signings/releases
The Diamondbacks claimed lefty Caleb Baragar off waivers from the Giants. He had spent his entire career with the Giants, mainly in the minor leagues. He has appeared in 49 games the last two years with the Giants, mainly out of the pen. Over those games and 45.1 innings, the reliever has gone 7-2 with a 2.78 ERA, 36 hits allowed, 12 walks, 16 K's, 152 ERA+, and a not-so-great 4.17 FIP. This indicates that he's gotten a bit lucky over the last two years, especially when seeing his high walk-rate. At the very least, the 27-year old will get a chance to make the club out of spring training. He has two options remaining so he should stay on with the club's 40-man roster for the foreseeable future.
Another roster move the Diamondbacks made was signing shortstop Wilmer Difo to a minor league deal. He's been invited to MLB Spring Training Camp. Difo is well-known for playing with the Washington Nationals from 2015-2020. This includes winning the World Series with them in 2019. Last year, he played with the Pirates hitting .269/.329/384. He's not known for being much of a hitter. Rather, he's known for being able to play a multitude of positions. He has a decent chance of making the roster as a veteran utility player, but don't expect much if he does. The switch hitter is 29 and has a career batting line of .251/.313/.355. Once again, this was reported by the great Robert Murray!
One unfortunate piece of news for the fans of this player is that the Dbacks released Zack Burdi. The pitcher was originally claimed on a waiver claim in October but has failed to survive Spring Training. He's got a powerful fastball that hits the upper 90s, but he's failed to maintain his control or limit homers. He's likely to reach another minor league deal with another club soon in hopes of making the MLB once again.