Diamondbacks Bullpen Competition 2021 | MLB.com (www.mlb.com)

PHOENIX — This week, the D-backs agreed to Minor League deals with a pair of pitchers, Chris Devenski and Ryan Buchter, and their main selling point was simple: there’s opportunity in the desert.
The D-backs are without their closer from last year, Archie Bradley, who was dealt at last year’s

PHOENIX — This week, the D-backs

with a pair of pitchers, Chris Devenski and Ryan Buchter, and their main selling point was simple: there’s opportunity in the desert.

The D-backs are without their closer from last year, Archie Bradley, who was dealt at last year’s Trade Deadline, and they cut ties with veteran relievers Hector Rondón and Junior Guerra, who were signed to free-agent deals last offseason.

Neither Rondón nor Guerra pitched well last season, and their departures, along with Bradley’s and veteran left-handed specialist Andrew Chafin, left Arizona with an inexperienced bullpen.

General manager Mike Hazen is trying to turn that into a positive.

“I’d say it’s a pretty unique advantage for us at this point in time,” Hazen said. “We have a very young bullpen, a lot of guys that have [Minor League] options, so that should open the door for guys to be able to come in and make the team.”

Devenski and Buchter were low-risk signings, with Devenski set to earn $1 million in the Major Leagues with another $350,000 in incentives. Buchter’s deal will pay him $925,000 if he makes the big league team.

Stefan Crichton finished the year as the team’s closer, but the competition for that job, as well as just about every other bullpen slot, appears wide open.

“Both guys we feel like have performed at the Major League level; have that experience,” Hazen said of Devenski and Buchter. “We talked about there being competition in our bullpen, and we want to make that competition as robust as possible. We think these two guys really add to that given their pedigree and past performances. Hopefully, it’s a very strong competition, and we have a lot of young guys that are going to get pushed by these guys, and we want those guys to push back.”

Devenski, 30, is particularly appealing to the D-backs. The right-hander pitched well for the Astros in 2016 and finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting. He followed that up with another good season in ’17.

He didn’t have the same success in 2018 or ’19, and he had a bone spur removed in his right elbow in September 2020.

“Chris coming back from surgery and getting him back into the form where he was a dominant reliever in the American League for a couple of years has a lot of intrigue for us,” Hazen said.

The 33-year-old Buchter gives the D-backs another potential left-hander in the bullpen joining Alex Young, Taylor Guilbeau and Travis Bergen, all three of whom are on the 40-man roster.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.



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