The Diamondbacks have released veteran right-hander Fernando Salas, the team announced. The 33-year-old was designated for assignment last week when fellow righty Randall Delgado returned from the disabled list.
Salas got off to a strong start in 2018 after making the D-backs’ roster as a non-roster invitee in Spring Training. The former Cardinals/Angels reliever posted a 1.56 ERA and 3.30 FIP through the end of April and possessed solid season-long numbers through the end of June. To that point, Salas had a 3.58 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 0.96 HR/9 to go along with a 43.2 percent ground-ball rate. ERA alternatives weren’t quite as bullish but felt he’d pitched reasonably well (3.85 FIP, 4.29 xFIP, 4.06 SIERA).
Salas, though, was tagged for runs in each of his three appearances in July, ultimately yielding five runs in 2 1/3 innings to balloon his ERA up to 4.50. Generally, while he hasn’t exactly pitched poorly in 2018, he’s taken a step back in a few key areas, most notably in his overall strikeout percentage (21.3 percent in 2017 compared to 17.7 percent in 2018), his swinging-strike rate (12.9 percent to 9.3 percent) and in his average fastball velocity (91.1 mph to 90.5 mph).
He’ll now be available to latch on with any club on a new contract, and given his 3.90 ERA over the life of 487 big league innings dating back to 2010, Salas should at the very least find an opportunity to report to a new organization’s Triple-A affiliate and attempt to work his way back up to the MLB roster.