Jake Diekman re-signs in Oakland
This one isn’t the splashiest move, but they can’t all be exciting. Jake Diekman is heading back to Oakland on a two-year deal with an option for a third year. The total guarantee is $7.5 million. The southpaw was dealt to Oakland this past summer from Kansas City and the Athletics started the offseason by declining a $5.75 million option for the 2020 season. Diekman tossed 62 innings over 76 appearances last year, pitching to a 3.55 ERA with a 4.65 FIP and a 3.38 DRA. The strikeout stuff is impressive from the left side, but he does have control issues. Most interesting here, though, is that Diekman has spent some portions of his career as something close to a LOOGY. The 2020 season, of course, will be the first year in which pitchers must face at least three batters per appearance. Diekman has been good against batters of both handedness, though, which undoubtedly helped him get multiple years guaranteed.
Sox Spin: Diekman specifically was probably not of much interest to the Red Sox. He is fine, but they already have two fine left-handed relievers in their bullpen. I don’t think they’ll shy away from southpaws if they think they can make a real difference, but in the middle class of free agents and trade targets I think they’ll prefer righties. This does show how relatively cheap (less than $4 million per year) good-not-great relievers can be this winter.
The starting pitching market may be heating up
We are still waiting for the very top of this free agent class to sign, and a good portion of that upper class is on the starting pitching side of things. It seems those talks may be heating up. Zack Wheeler seems to be the hot name this winter, and reports have come out that he already has a $100 million offer in hand. The talks now seem far enough that the belief is that he could sign relatively soon, though we’ve learned in recent years that it’s never a guarantee until it actually happens. Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are apparently meeting with teams, with the Yankees really wanting to grab one of them.
Sox Spin: Couple things here. First of all, the Red Sox are not going to be in this portion of the market. We know that. However, they desperately need a starter and the lower parts of the market probably would like to wait until the upper portions start to move, particularly if that report about Wheeler making nine figures is true. So, the Red Sox may need to wait on the big pieces before making their move. Secondly, it would super stink if the Yankees get one of the big two.