[Editor’s note. “But, wait,” you may be thinking. “You started with #66 yesterday. What happened to #65 and #64?” Well, those will be along in a three-for-one special, currently scheduled for November 14. Trust me, I think you’ll find it will be worth the wait...]
- Rating: 1.78
- Age: will be 31 on November 13
- 2021 Stats: 7.1 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 HR, 5 SO, 8.59 ERA
- 2021 Earnings: $1 million
- 2022 Status: Minor-league contract
Devenski was one of, albeit the least of, the triple-headed veteran reliever signings made by GM Mike Hazen, behind Joakim Soria and Tyler Clippard. Considering he was an All-Star as recently as 2017, he came relatively cheap. But that made sense, since he had barely pitched in the majors since appearing in the 2019 World Series for the Astros. He threw just 3.2 innings for Houston in the 2020 campaign, after suffering a recurrence of the elbow issue that delayed his arrival until September. He underwent surgery to remove a bone spur, elected free agency at the end of the year, and signed a minor-league contract with the D-backs just before spring training started.
That contract was worth a million bucks if he made the club, and that happened as he made the Opening Day roster for the Diamondbacks. With Tyler Clippard starting on the IL, Devenski got the initial shot at the closer’s job. He locked down the team’s first win on April 4 (above), despite allowing a home-run. Unfortunately, that was about as good as the year would get for Devenski. Two days later, in Coors Field, he coughed up another ninth inning home-run, and this one tied the game, though Arizona would eventually win in 13. The following day, he was placed on the restricted list for unspecified personal reasons, and missed three weeks as a result.
He returned to the roster in late April, though his results were not convincing. He lasted only a couple of weeks before those pesky elbow issues cropped up once again. After an outing against the Marlins where Devenski allowed four hits to six batter, he was placed on the injured list on May 15, with what was diagnosed as a sprained right UCL. While he initially hoped to avoid going under the knife, Devenski ended up undergoing Tommy John surgery on June 5, drawing a line under his season. He elected free agency on October 8, but in a surprising move, signed a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks on October 25.
Obviously, he will see very limited action next year, given the usual 12-15 month recover from the TJ procedure. The details of the contract are not known, but I’d presume there is something in there about the season after next - maybe it’s a multi-year minor-league deal? For 2023 is likely to be the next time that Devenski is able to make a meaningful contribution to the Diamondbacks. There is still some upside potential, but it’s likely considerably dimmer than it was when he was initially signed in February. We never know how pitchers will come back after Tommy John; some rebound to full effectiveness or even better, yet others don’t make it back at all...