Angels Re-Sign Jhonathan Díaz To Minor League Contract
MLB: New York Mets at Los Angeles Angels
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels brought back a familiar face by re-signing left-handed pitcher Jhonathan Díaz to a Minor League deal.

Díaz was originally signed in 2013 by the Boston Red Sox at 17 years old. He spent seven years in their farm system before he elected free agency in the fall of 2020. The Angels brought him into their organization shortly thereafter.

He posted a 4.01 ERA in 2021 between the Angels’ Double-A and Triple-A levels and finally settled in with the Salt Lake Bees for the entirety of this past season. Díaz didn’t see much time at the Major League level, but in four appearances (three starts) he allowed five earned runs across 15.1 innings pitched.

General manager Perry Minasian wanted to bring him back for depth and ability to pitch in both relief and from the rotation. Although the numbers haven’t been there for Díaz to garner an immediate spot with the big club, he’s still young and has room to grow.

Díaz features an arsenal that isn’t overpowering but does utilize a five-pitch mix. Last season his usage was fairly split between his four-seam fastball, slider and sinker at the front end, pairing that with a below-average changeup and a seldom-used curveball.

The 26-year-old still has three Minor League options remaining on his current rookie contract, which could be of use for the Angels in their search for productive young arms to fill out their farm.

Minasian has mirrored a few moves this offseason in César Valdez, and Justin Garza, both depth arms with a shot to impact the big league roster.

New Angels reliever Carlos Estévez wants to earn closer job

The Angels ended last season with a patchwork group to close out games, mainly featuring Jimmy Herget, Ryan Tepera, and Aaron Loup. But heading into 2023, the offseason addition of Carlos Estévez provides manager Phil Nevin with another option at the backend.

After trading Raisel Iglesias at the trade deadline last season, there hasn’t been a clear-cut arm to take over that role. Herget did have some success, but the second-year reliever doesn’t possess the high-powered stuff the average closer has.

However, Estévez is a different story, flashing an upper 90s fastball that provides some wiggle room if left over the heart of the plate and that can get someone out of a high-leverage spot.

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