The Diamondbacks have signed free agent right-handed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Friday. The contract comes with an invitation to spring training.
Wilhelmsen was released by the Mariners in November. The 33-year-old split his 2016 run between the Rangers and Mariners, pitching to a combined 6.80 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 5.4 SO/9 that reflected a tough stretch in Texas during the first half of the season. His career stats should give the Diamondbacks some reassurance, however, as the righty carries a 3.46 ERA, 4.0 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 through six years in the majors. He peaked in Seattle during the 2012 season, putting up a career-best 1.6 fWAR for the club after ousting fellow right-hander Brandon League from the closer’s spot.
Wilhelmsen figures to be in the mix for another major league gig this spring. Many of the Diamondback’s bullpen spots appear to be up for grabs behind right-handers Jake Barrett and Randall Delgado and closer Fernando Rodney, though the team has no shortage of short-term options to consider.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.