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Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks Sign Japanese Newcomer Yoshihisa Hirano To Two-Year Deal

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The Arizona Diamondbacks made an international splash last Friday, agreeing to a two-year, $6 million deal with Japanese right-handed reliever Yoshihisa Hirano.

Hirano, 33, comes to the states after an 11-year career (since 2006, didn’t pitch in 2008) with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

“I am honored to be signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They have welcomed me and my family with open arms and made us feel at home already, which is the reason I chose to sign here. My family is looking forward to starting our new life together in Arizona. I believe the D-backs are a team that can win a championship, and I hope I can help them achieve that goal,” said Hirano in a statement released by the Diamondbacks.

For the first three years of Hirano’s career as a Buffalo, he was mainly a starter (73 games, 68 starts); but has only been a relief pitcher since 2010. Since 2013, he’s been a full-time closer, recording 143 saves- including a career-high 40 in 2014 which led NPB.

After losing 2017 closer Fernando Rodney to free agency, Hirano joins Archie Bradley and newcomer/former closer Brad Boxberger as potential options at the end of a game.

Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said his team is “likely done” looking for back-end relievers, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reported.

“Those would be the three guys (Boxberger, Bradley, Hirano) that I think have the ability to pitch 7-8-9 in some form or fashion. I don’t know that we’ll walk into Spring Training with a declared closer. We’ll probably save that for walking out of Spring Training. I think we have an opportunity to take a look and see what roles best fit everybody,” said Hazen.

Following Hirano’s signing, Arizona placed left-hander Henry Owens on waivers, after claiming him from the Boston Red Sox about two weeks prior.

In his 11-year career in NPB, Hirano is 48-69 with a 3.10 ERA and 156 saves. In addition, his career strikeout-per-nine ratio is 8.16 in 974 2/3 innings; however, since becoming a full-time reliever in 2010, that mark is 9.83 in 516 1/3 innings.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks Sign Merrill Kelly To Two-Year Deal

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed right hander Merrill Kelly to a two-year, $5.5 million contract, according to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.

Kelly’s new deal will pay him $2 million in 2019 and $3 million in 2020 and includes a pair of club options. The 30-year old has never pitched in the major leagues but had an impressive four-year stint in the Korea Baseball Organization.

Kelly was a former prospect in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

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Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks Sign Rob Refsnyder to Minor League Deal

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed veteran utilityman Rob Refsnyder to a minor league contract that also comes with an invitation to Arizona’s big league Spring Training camp, giving Refsnyder a crack at their big league roster, according to an official team announcement via the Reno Aces, Arizona’s minor league affiliate.

Refsnyder bounced between the minors and the big leagues in 2018, posting a .283/.357/.402 slash line at the Triple-A level in the Tampa Bay Rays’ organization, and hitting .167/.314/.274 for Tampa Bay over 40 big league games.

 

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Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks Exercise Option on Paul Goldschmidt

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The Arizona Diamondbacks have exercised the club option on first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, according to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert.

With the option, Goldschmidt will earn $14.5 million in lieu of a $2 million buyout.

Goldschmidt posted a slash line of .290/.389/.533 to go along with 33 home runs during the 2018 season.

 

 

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