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.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks high fives teammates after defeating the Philadelphia...
Alex Weiner

D-backs get 4 prospects on MLB’s top 100 list, headlined by Corbin Carroll

The Diamondbacks were one of two teams with three prospects on the top 15 of MLB Pipeline's top 100 prospects list for 2023. 
4 days ago
Jeurys Familia of the Boston Red Sox delivers during the tenth inning of a game against the New Yor...
Torrence Dunham

D-backs reportedly sign veteran reliever Jeurys Familia to minor league deal

The Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be adding depth to the bullpen with the reported signing of veteran reliever Jeurys Familia to a minor league deal.
6 days ago
Scott Rolen #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies prepares for a ground ball during a baseball game agai...
Associated Press

8-time Gold Glove 3B Scott Rolen elected into baseball Hall of Fame

Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday with five votes to spare above the 75% needed.
7 days ago
Owner Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks off the field prior to a baseball game...
Associated Press

Arizona native Arte Moreno takes Angels off market to continue as owner

Arizona native Arte Moreno took the Angels off the market on Monday after announcing his plan to explore a sale of the team last August.
8 days ago
Scott McGough #39 of Team United States pitches during the baseball opening round Group B game betw...
Alex Weiner

D-backs RHP Scott McGough credits development of splitter for MLB opportunity

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Scott McGough in December to be a back-end reliever with a dangerous splitter. 
9 days ago
(Twitter screenshot/@ASU_Baseball)...
Arizona Sports

Arizona State baseball legend Sal Bando dies at 78

Arizona State baseball legend Sal Bando, a College World Series and three-time World Series champion, has died at the age of 78.
10 days ago
D-backs sign infielder Wilmer Difo to minor-league contract