D-backs sign infielder Wilmer Difo to minor-league contract

Mar 20, 2022, 1:30 PM | Updated: 1:31 pm
Wilmer Difo #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a ground ball during the second inning of the game...
Wilmer Difo #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a ground ball during the second inning of the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 5, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed veteran infielder Wilmer Difo to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training on Saturday.

Difo, a 29-year-old switch hitter from the Dominican Republic, played 116 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, primarily at second base.

He spent 2015-20 with the Washington Nationals before signing with Pittsburgh in free agency.

Difo hit .269 with an OPS of .713 last season, which were both career highs when discounting the 2016 season he only played 31 MLB games in.

He’s been a stronger hitter against right-handed pitching throughout his career and could be a platoon option for the D-backs. His OPS was .778 against righties last year and .550 versus lefties.

Difo played 95 innings at third base last season, a position up for grabs at D-backs camp. Contenders for the starting job Joshua Rojas, Josh VanMeter, Matt Davidson and Drew Ellis have all struggled against right-handed pitching throughout their MLB careers.

Difo also played right field, center field and shortstop in 2021, although his metrics suggest he was more effective as a middle infielder.

He earned -1 defensive runs saved in 179.2 frames in the middle infield last year, -3 DRS at third base and -5 DRS in 83 outfield innings, according to FanGraphs.

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