The Kansas City Royals announced today that the club has signed left-handed pitcher Jake Diekman to a one-year contract, with a mutual option for the 2020 season. Consistent with club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. In a corresponding move, the Royals have placed right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn on the 60-day injured list (recovery from ulnar collateral ligament surgery).
Diekman, 32, appeared in 71 games combined between Texas and Arizona last season, going 1-2 with two saves, 17 holds and a 4.73 ERA (28 ER in 53.1 IP). He ranked tied for seventh among left-handed relievers in appearances, while his 11.14 K/9 (66 K in 53.1 IP) was 13th among that group. He did his best work on the road, posting a 1.40 ERA (4 ER in 25.2 IP), which ranked ninth in the Majors (min. 25.0 IP). He made 15-straight scoreless appearances away from home (July 5-Sept. 11), while 39 of his last 41 road outings have been scoreless, dating back to Sept. 12, 2016.
Diekman, who will wear uniform No. 40 with Kansas City, is entering his eighth Major League season, having spent time with Philadelphia (2012-15), Texas (2015-18) and Arizona (2018). In 365 big league appearances, he’s 14-15 with seven saves, a 3.75 ERA and 383 strikeouts in 312.0 innings. His career strikeout rate (11.05) ranks second in the Majors among active left-handed relievers that have worked at least 300.0 innings, trailing only Aroldis Chapman (15.00). In 2014, he became one of just seven left-handed relievers (14 occurrences) to record 100+ strikeouts in a season since 2010.
A native of Wymore, Neb., Diekman was originally selected by the Phillies in the 30th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kan.
Kansas City’s Major League Reserve List is at 40 players.