March 15: Diekman’s deal with the Sox is a two-year, $8MM arrangement, according to Cotillo (Twitter thread). He’ll earn $3.5MM in both 2022 and 2023. The Sox hold a $4MM club option for the 2024 season, which comes with a $1MM buyout.
March 13: For the second time today, the Red Sox are adding a lefty to the bullpen. Boston and Jake Diekman are close to agreeing to terms, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com (via Twitter). The deal is “believed to be a multi-year deal” though the exact terms are not yet clear.
Diekman is one of the top bullpen arms available on the market. The now-35-year-old was lights out for the A’s during the pandemic-shortened 2020. He appeared in 21 games, posting a microscopic 0.42 ERA/2.72 FIP spanning 21 1/3 innings, numbers-driven at least in part by an uncharacteristically high 61.6 percent groundball rate. For comparison, he posted a 34.8 percent groundball rate last year and owns a 47.9 percent rate in that department for his career.
The 10-year veteran initially came to Oakland mid-season in 2019 in a deal with the Royals that netted KC a pair of minor leaguers. He continued to be effective for the A’s last season, though not quite at the surreal level of 2020. He tossed 60 2/3 innings over 67 outings with a 3.86 ERA/4.46 FIP while notching seven saves and 14 holds. He also blew seven saves.
With a 31.7 percent strikeout rate, he differentiates himself from the other lefties in Boston’s pen with his ability to miss bats. In so doing, Diekman becomes the top southpaw in a Boston pen that added Matt Strahm earlier today.
Beyond their new pair, the BoSox can call on Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Austin Davis as potential southpaws out of the bullpen. Diekman is by far the most established of the bunch, however. He’s sure to team with Garrett Whitlock in the late game mix for manager Alex Cora.