The Diamondbacks have signed right-hander Michael Tonkin out of the independent Atlantic League, per an announcement Long Island Ducks GM Michael Pfaff (Twitter link). He’ll head to Triple-A Reno for now,
Tonkin, 29, allowed just one earned run with a 31-to-9 K/BB ratio in 26 2/3 innings with the Ducks prior to signing with the D-backs. The 6’7″ righty went to Spring Training with the Rangers organization and latched on with the Brewers late in Spring Training after he didn’t make the cut in Texas. Tonkin headed to Triple-A San Antonio with the Brewers and posted a 4.26 ERA with 14 strikeouts and nine walks in 12 2/3 innings before being cut loose a second time.
Though he hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2017, Tonkin does have experience in parts of five different MLB campaigns — all coming with the Twins from 2013-17. Once a relatively well-regarded bullpen prospect in Minnesota’s system, Tonkin pitched 146 1/3 innings for the Twins in that five-year span, compiling a 4.43 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.54 HR/9 and a 39.9 percent ground-ball rate. Tonkin generated more grounders as he rose through the Twins’ ranks, but he favored his four-seamer over his sinker/two-seam fastball in the Majors. He averaged 94 mph on that four-seamer and 83.4 mph on a slider, his primary secondary offering.
Tonkin has been too homer-prone at the big league level to find consistent success, but he has a career 2.55 ERA with 10.6 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 in 173 Triple-A innings. He’ll give the Diamondbacks some additional pitching depth with Yoshihisa Hirano and Robbie Ray on the big league injured list and righties Greg Holland, Zack Godley and Ben Lively no longer in the organization.