Randall Delgado took a bit of a step back in 2016, along with most of Arizona's other pitchers. After posting a 3.25 ERA in 2015, the righty saw that figure jump more than a run to 4.44 last season. Delgado owns a career 4.15 ERA and 4.31 FIP across six MLB seasons, indicating that 2015 might have been a bit of an outlier. Delgado's K/9 also regressed from 9.1 in 2015 to 8.2 in 2016, but again it's the 2016 number that's closer to his career average (7.7). While Delgado has moved into a fairly high-leverage role with the Diamondbacks the past two seasons, recording 20 holds during that span, he's probably best served as a lower-leverage middle reliever or long reliever. However, Arizona did little to improve what was a disastrous bullpen last year aside from signing Fernando Rodney to close, so Delgado may remain in a setup role by default.
Delgado agreed to a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks on Friday, avoiding arbitration. The terms of the agreement were not announced. He should enter the year as a setup man for closer Fernando Rodney, and given Rodney's volatility, Delgado makes for an interesting end-game play in really deep leagues.
Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said Delgado will likely move into a late-innings role, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. Given the recent struggles of Jake Barrett and Enrique Burgos at the back end of the Arizona bullpen, the announcement makes sense. Hale said both Delgado and Daniel Hudson could be used in high-leverage situations going forward. Hudson recorded 20 holds a season ago and has 17 in 2016, so he's probably the safer bet of the two to see save opportunities.
Delgado has given up seven runs over 11.1 innings during July, striking out nine in that time span. The 26-year-old posted a 1.80 ERA over May and June, but worsened in July with a 5.56 ERA and has yet to record a hold or save this season. On the bright side, he owns just a 0.67 WHIP in his last six innings, spanning seven games.
Delgado allowed his first earned run since May 9 in Tuesday's loss to Houston on a Luis Valbuena home run. Following the lead-off homer to begin the fifth, Delgado needed just seven pitches to retire the next three batters. After a horrid April, in which the right-hander posted a 6.19 ERA, he compiled a 2.92 ERA in May and now leads the bullpen in total appearances with 25. Delgado seems to have righted the ship but is still a long shot to see any save opportunities.
After allowing two runs in 1.1 innings of work in Sunday's loss to Colorado, Delgado's ERA is up to 6.75. It's been a rough start to the season for the righty, and a dip in velocity may be to blame for the poor results. The Diamondbacks have not reported any injuries with Delgado, but he will likely remain in a low-leverage role until he starts producing better outings.