Oakland Athletics Acquire Jake Diekman from Kansas City Royals

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 12: Relief pitcher Jake Diekman #40 of the Kansas City Royals throws against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on July 12, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The Oakland Athletics have acquired relief pitcher Jake Diekman from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for outfielder Dairon Blanco and pitcher Ismael Aquino. The 32-year-old lefty is in his eighth season. In 351.2 career innings pitched, Diekman has a 14-21 record and a 3.87 ERA, as well as 446 strikeouts.

Oakland Athletics Acquire Jake Diekman from Kansas City Royals

Diekman’s Minor League Career

Diekman, out of Cloud Community College, was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 30th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. In his first season in the Phillies organization, he had success as a starting pitcher, posting a 3-4 record and a 2.72 ERA. However, his second season saw him flounder to a 4-9 record and a 5.09 ERA.

In 2009, after starting two games at single-A Lakewood, Diekman was moved to the bullpen. The first season of his transition was rough, but thanks to tinkering with his mechanics Diekman figured it out. The lefty thrived as a reliever so much, there was talk that he could eventually be a major league closer. Diekman pitched to a 13-16 record with a 4.04 ERA in his five seasons in the minors.

It’s Philly Time

Diekman opened the 2012 season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In early May, he was called up to the Show. Diekman showed his potential, ending the season with a 1-1 record and a 3.95 ERA. Despite being a part of the Phillies future, he started the 2013 season back at Lehigh Valley. His early-season struggles delayed his eventual call up to the main roster, but finally in June Diekman was back in Philadelphia and he was there to stay. He finished the season with a 1-4 record and a 2.58 ERA.

Diekman’s career in Philadelphia started well. His first full season in 2014, he posted a 5-5 record and a 3.80 ERA. He also struck out 100 batters in 71 innings. However, in 2015, Diekman’s production took a significant hit. As a result, his ERA swelled to 5.15 in 41 innings. Once thought of as the closer in waiting, Diekman was in the center of trade talks.

On July 31st, Diekman was traded along with Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers for six prospects as the Phillies began to rebuild their team. In four years as a Phillie, Diekman went 9-11 with a 3.84 ERA and recorded 225 strikeouts in 172 innings pitched.

Welcome to the Rangers

Immediately upon joining the Rangers, Diekman became an essential part of the bullpen. He pitched six innings in the ALDS against the Toronto Blue Jays and gave up just one run. The next season he again appeared in the ALDS against the same Blue Jay team and pitched only one inning, giving up three runs. His combined stats in 2015-2016 was 4-2 with a 3.01 ERA and four saves.

Lost Season

On January 25th, 2017, Diekman underwent surgery for chronic ulcerative colitis. This injury cost him most of the season. He did make eleven appearances in September and had a 2.53 ERA in 10.2 innings. Fully healthy in 2018, he returned to form with a 1-1 record and a 3.69 ERA. Diekman’s career as a Ranger should be labeled as a success with a 5-3 record and a 3.18 ERA.

Crazy Day In Arizona

On July 31st, 2018, Diekman was traded for the second time in his career. The Rangers were playing the Arizona Diamondbacks in a two-game series, and Deikman was traded to the Diamondbacks during the series. His half season in Arizona was not impressive. In 14 innings pitched, Diekman finished with an 0-1 record to go along with a 7.53 ERA. With Diekman set to be a free agent at the end of the season his career as a Diamondback was short-lived.

Becoming A Royal

Diekman signed a one year deal with the Kansas City Royals for the 2019 season, which also included a mutual option for the 2020 season. The reliever struggled with the Royals, resulting in an 0-6 record and a 4.75 ERA.

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