Infielder Wilmer Difo went unclaimed on waivers after being designated for assignment and has rejected the Diamondbacks’ outright assignment to Triple-A Reno in favor of free agency, as first indicated on the transaction log at MiLB.com. As an outrighted player with more than three years of service time, he’d have been able to become a free agent at season’s end even if he accepted.
The 30-year-old Difo appeared in just three games with the D-backs, going 0-for-6 in that time. He’s spent parts of eight seasons in the Majors and logged nearly five years of MLB service time, however, hitting a combined .250/.311/.353 in 1306 big league plate appearances. Most of that time has been spent with the Nationals in a utility capacity, although Difo did make 240 plate appearances with the Pirates in 2021 and post a respectable .269/.329/.384 slash.
Difo has spent the bulk of the current season in Reno, where his offensive output largely mirrors that Pittsburgh production from one year ago (albeit in a much more hitter-friendly setting). In 306 Triple-A plate appearances, the switch-hitter has a .269/.312/.398 batting line with seven homers, 15 doubles and four steals. He’s played primarily shortstop and third base this season, but Difo also has more than 2300 professional innings at second base and has now appeared at every spot on the diamond other than catcher (though he’d probably prefer to forget the eight runs he allowed in two innings of mop-up duty with the ’21 Pirates).
Given that he cleared waivers, there may not be an immediate opportunity for Difo in the dwindling 2022 regular season. However, he grades out as a solid defender at shortstop and has plenty of defensive versatility, so he ought to find another opportunity on a minor league deal with a team hunting for infield depth this offseason.