Zach Kroenke's Latest Rule 5 Experience Sends Him To Arizona
PHOENIX—The Rule 5 draft is nothing new to lefthander Zach Kroenke, who has been selected each of the last two years. This time, Kroenke is likely to get a better chance to stick in the major leagues.
The Diamondbacks selected Kroenke from the Yankees with the sixth pick in the draft, using the opportunity to replenish the left side of the bullpen that dropped in numbers after Daniel Schlereth was sent to the Tigers as part of a three-way deal that sent righthanders Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy to Arizona. Scott Maine was also shipped to the Cubs as part of the Aaron Heilman deal. Clay Zavada, who pitched well out of the Arizona bullpen after being recalled from Double-A Mobile early last season, was the only lefthander on the 40-man roster with major league experience.
"There is a very real opportunity for him, based on the fact we lost two lefthanders," farm director Mike Berger said. "We like the slider and we like the split, which is not all that common for a lefthander."
Kroenke, 25, was 7-1, 1.99 with four saves for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season, his fifth in the organization after being a fifth-round pick out of Nebraska in 2005. Kroenke was selected by the Marlins in the Rule 5 draft last winter but made only two spring training appearances before being offered back to the Yankees.
Because this is Kroenke's second time through the Rule 5 process, he can declare free agency rather than accept a return to the Yankees, a condition that would only apply if he clears waivers. Kroenke, whose fastball is in the 88-92 mph range, is 25-25, 3.90 with nine saves in 162 minor league games, spending most of the last three seasons in the bullpen after being converted from a starter.
"He's a lefty with pretty good stuff and pretty good performance," general manager Josh Byrnes told reporters at the Winter Meetings. "He's a lefty that has weapons for both lefthanded hitters and righthanded hitters, and he is coming off a pretty good year."
• The Diamondbacks lost righthander Hector Ambriz to the Indians in the Rule 5 draft. Ambriz was a combined 12-11, 4.94 in 28 games with Mobile and Triple-A Reno last season.
• The Diamondbacks signed minor league free agents catcher Carlos Corporan, righthander T.J. Beam and outfielder Drew Macias. Beam, a native of Scottsdale, was 8-4, 5.42 at Triple-A Las Vegas last season. He has seen major league time with the Yankees (2006) and Pirates (2008).