The Padres announced that they’ve re-signed righties Miguel Diaz and Pedro Avila to minor league contracts and assigned both to Triple-A El Paso. Both right-handers were non-tendered yesterday and will quickly return to the organization without occupying a 40-man roster spot.
Diaz, 25, has the most big league experience of the pair. The hard-throwing righty spent the 2017 season in San Diego’s bullpen after being selected out of the Brewers organization in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. As one would expect for a 22-year-old jumping from Class-A ball to the Majors, it was a struggle for Diaz that year, as he was knocked around for a 7.34 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 5.4 BB/9 and a whopping 2.38 HR/9 in 41 2/3 frames.
After successfully navigating his Rule 5 rookie season in the Majors, Diaz opened the ’18 campaign in Double-A and pitched quite well through 65 1/3 innings there, logging a 2.35 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 4.1 BB/9 and a 56.4 percent grounder rate. Diaz was limited to just 36 2/3 innings between the the minors and the big leagues in 2019, however, as a torn meniscus in his knee required surgery and shelved him for much of the year. The Padres will now get another look at him while still gaining some 40-man flexibility.
Avila, just 22, made his MLB debut with a start against the D-backs in early April this season, allowing just one run in 5 1/3 innings. Unfortunately, an elbow strain wiped out most of his season, and he eventually underwent Tommy John surgery in a season that saw him toss just 29 1/3 innings. Acquired in a 2016 trade with the Nationals, Avila has still barely pitched above Class-A Advanced (just three Double-A starts in addition to his lone MLB appearance), and he’ll now be out until late in the 2020 season (if not the entirety of the year). He has a long road ahead of him before reemerging as a viable MLB option, but he won’t even turn 23 until January, so age is on his side.