Former Phillies draft pick, reliever reportedly returning to NL East

Relief pitcher Jake Diekman is reportedly joining the Mets after eight years away from the NL East.
Jake Diekman, a former Philadelphia Phillies draft pick, is signing with the New York Mets
Jake Diekman, a former Philadelphia Phillies draft pick, is signing with the New York Mets / Jason O. Watson/GettyImages

The New York Mets continue loading up on new faces this offseason, with the soon-to-be latest addition a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher. Jake Diekman is reportedly close to an agreement with the Mets, according to The Athletic's Will Sammon (subscription required).

The deal between the 37-year-old Diekman and the Mets hasn't been finalized yet, per Andy Martino of SNY. There's a hang-up on the pending physical, but it sounds like it will get done eventually.

Diekman overcame long odds to make the majors

The left-handed reliever, originally a Phillies 30th-round draft pick back in 2007, could once be found coming out of the Citizens Bank Park bullpen from 2012 to 2015. He was serviceable during his time in Philadelphia, even though his tenure coincided with the beginning of a bleak run for the organization.

Over his first three seasons in red pinstripes, Diekman threw 136 1/3 innings, posting a 3.49 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, although his 2.79 FIP indicates he might have fared better with a bit of luck. His biggest problem was, and always has been, his control and high walk rates, with a career 13.3 percent walk rate. Yikes!

After a tough first half in 2015, he was traded to Texas in the Cole Hamels deal, and since then has moved around with stops in Arizona, Kansas City, Oakland, and Boston.

Diekman found success with the Rays in 2023

Most recently, Diekman split the 2023 season between the Chicago White Sox, where he struggled, and the Tampa Bay Rays, where, unsurprisingly, he thrived.

In 11 1/3 innings in Chicago, he put up a 7.94 ERA and a disturbing 2.12 WHIP before the team released him. Luckily, he found a home in the Tampa bullpen and salvaged his season. He pitched to a 2.18 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over 45 1/3 innings despite still walking batters at a 13.5 percent clip.

Now Diekman rejoins the fray in the NL East as part of a revamped Mets pitching staff. Once the deal goes through, he'll become the second left-hander in the bullpen, along with Brooks Raley. Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber should expect to see a lot of the effectively wild lefty in their division clashes this season.

In 14 plate appearances against Diekman, Harper has a .182 batting average and .490 OPS with a pair of RBI and five strikeouts. Schwarber has only faced the southpaw once, last season, which ended in a strikeout.

The Phillies will see the Mets for a four-game series in New York from May 13-16 and then face off again at the 2024 London Series before meeting up seven more times in September.