The Dodgers are among the teams showing interest in acquiring 32-year-old left-hander Jake Diekman from the Kansas City Royals, according to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com.
A left-hander for the bullpen is the Dodgers’ biggest need heading into the July 31 trade deadline and Diekman is a total Andrew Friedman target.
Diekman has been having a solid season for a lackluster Royals team. He has pitched to a 3.09 DRA, 3.71 FIP, and 3.98 xFIP in 38 innings. He has done that by striking out 32 percent of hitters faced and limiting how often opponents hit the ball hard off him.
As the chart below shows, he is the 91st percentile of K%, hard-hit percentage and expected batting average. He is also in the 93rd percentile of expected slugging percentage, the 75th percentile of average exit velocity allowed, and the 63rd percentile of expected weighted on-base average.
— Blake (@BlakeW47) July 17, 2019
To put all of those stats in simpler terms, he is much better than his 4.97 ERA shows.
His biggest struggle this season, and in his career, has been his trouble with walks. His walk rate this season is at 13.4%. and his career mark is at 12.4%. Even with the walks problem, he has had a strong career, so he has shown he can still be effective despite them. Over 350 innings, he has a 3.38 ERA, 3.35 FIP, and 3.59 xFIP.
Diekman primarily relies on a slider, which he uses 49% of the time and a hard fastball that averages 96 MPH, which he uses 43% of the time.
He is making $2.75 million this season and has a mutual option for $5.75 million in 2020 with a $500,000 buyout.
His cost shouldn’t be as high as the elite relievers who might be available and he would still be a big upgrade in the bullpen. They’re also likely to acquire at least two relievers so a trade for Diekman wouldn’t take them out of the market for a top bullpen arm.
If I had to guess, I think there is a very high chance the Dodgers acquire Diekman in the next two weeks.