The Diamondbacks have signed right-hander Dan Straily to a minor league deal, as officially announced by the Triple-A Reno Aces. Straily’s deal includes an invitation to Arizona’s big league spring camp.
A veteran of eight MLB seasons, Straily last pitched in the Show in 2019, when he allowed 22 home runs over 47 2/3 innings with the Orioles en route to an ungainly 9.82 ERA. Straily opted for a notable change of scenery and joined the Korean Baseball Organization’s Lotte Giants for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, with an impressive 3.22 ERA and 24.75% strikeout rate over 360 1/3 innings.
Straily took part in a chat with MLBTR’s readers back on December 14, and noted that a return to the majors was on his mind: “ .” Since Straily is only 33 years old, there’s plenty of time left for a second act in his Major League history, provided that Straily can build on his success in the KBO League.
Beyond just the change in competition in South Korea, Straily also said that he and the Giants’ coaching staff used pitching technology to work on his pitches and upgrade both his changeup and fastball, in particular. These changes have apparently caught the eye of the D’Backs, and for the no-risk cost of a minors deal and camp invite, Arizona can get a closer look at Straily (whenever Spring Training actually opens) to see if he can contribute to the active roster.
While the rotation was one of many things that went south for the 110-loss Diamondbacks in 2021, the club can at least go into next season with a provisional starting four in place — Zac Gallen, Madison Bumgarner, Merrill Kelly, Luke Weaver figure to be Arizona’s top choices at the moment. Pitchers like Tyler Gilbert, Taylor Widener, Humberto Mejia, Humberto Castellanos and Caleb Smith could all be competing for that fifth spot or for bullpen roles, with Straily now adding some veteran depth to what is overall a pretty young and inexperienced group (except for Smith). Injuries or trades could open up further opportunities in the rotation, as Kelly in particular could be a trade chip as he enters the final year of his contract.
Straily has a solid track record in his recent big league past, posting a 4.03 ERA over 495 1/3 innings with the Reds and Marlins from 2016-18. Prior to that nightmare of a season in Baltimore, Straily had seemingly established himself as at least a solid innings-eater, if a pitcher prone to allowing home runs. While Chase Field has a reputation for being a homer-friendly ballpark, that reputation may be a bit outdated, considering that fewer homers have been hit at the ballpark since the D’Backs began storing baseballs in a humidor prior to the 2018 season. Over the last three years, Chase Field has actually allowed a below-average number of home runs, as per Statcast.