The Diamondbacks added a bit of minor league pitching depth over the weekend, signing right-hander Austin Brice to a minor league deal, per an official announcement. The deal comes with an invite to big league spring training.
A ninth round pick in 2010 by the Marlins, Brice has spent parts of seven big league seasons across four teams. He struggled initially with Miami after coming up in 2016 and was sent to the Reds as part of the Dan Strailly trade (that also got the Reds Luis Castillo). He tossed 70 innings across two seasons in Cincinnati, pitching to a 5.40 ERA while displaying slightly below league-average strikeout rates.
He bounced around on waivers a bit prior to the 2019 season, but ultimately landed back with the Marlins and turned in his best big league season. That year, Brice pitched 44 2/3 innings of 3.43 ERA ball, striking out 23.1% of batters against a 9.1% walk rate. The Marlins traded him to the Red Sox before the 2020 season, but he’d struggle in Boston, turning in a 6.21 ERA across 33 1/3 innings of work over two seasons.
He spent the past season with the Pirates, mostly pitching at Triple-A where he had a 5.56 ERA in 37 2/3 innings. He did spent some brief time in the big leagues, tossing 6 2/3 innings of relief for the Pirates.
All told, Brice owns a 5.12 ERA across 168 2/3 major league innings. His career strikeout rate of 21.8% is a fraction under the major league average, while his career walk rate of 9% is slightly over it. Brice has a two-pitch mix, combining a low-90s fastball with a low-80s slider. The 30-year-old will provide some valuable minor league pitching depth for Arizona, though given the volume of relief pitching teams often require over the course of a season, there’s every chance he’s back in the big leagues again at some point in 2023.