The Royals have signed left-handed reliever Jake Diekman to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2020. Diekman will earn $2.25 million this year, with a $500,000 buyout on the option, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Royals placed pitcher Jesse Hahn on the 60-day disabled list. He is expected to be out until June after UCL surgery last year.
The 32-year old Diekman hails from Wymore, Nebraska and attended Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kansas. He has pitched seven years in the big leagues with the Phillies, Rangers, and Diamondbacks, with a 3.75 ERA and 383 strikeouts in 312 innings. His numbers went into the tank last year after he was traded to the Diamondbacks, and he posted a 4.73 REA overall with 66 strikeouts in 53 1⁄3 innings with 5.2 walks-per-nine innings, his highest rate since his rookie season. Two years ago, Diekman suffered a bout of ulcerative colitis that required a colectomy and the removal of his entire colon.
Diekman has not had a huge platoon split in his career, and was actually much worse against left-handed hitters last year. They hit .329/.443/.438 against him in 88 plate apparances, compared to .191/.303/.321 for right-handed hitters. He joins a bullpen that already has left-handed relievers Tim Hill, Brian Flynn, and potentially prospect Richard Lovelady.
Dayton Moore was reportedly looking for “bargain” relievers, with potential interest in Drew Storen. The signing brings the total number of players in camp to 62.