As the Arizona Diamondbacks remain in the thick of a playoff race, the front office has turned its eyes towards potential pitching upgrades for the second half of the season.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Diamondbacks have expressed interest in two of the Texas Rangers late-inning relievers.
Sources: #DBacks have shown interest in #Rangers relievers Keone Kela and Jose Leclerc. Kela has a 1.88 ERA and .476 opp OPS since giving up season-high 4 ER on May 1. Leclerc, with a 0.971 WHIP this season, is one of the most underrated @MLB relievers. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 24, 2018
Keone Kela has served as the closer in Texas since the start of the season. While the team’s struggles have limited his save opportunities, the 25-year-old has performed well when called upon.
In 34 innings, Kela has struck out 41 batters and converted all 23 of his save opportunities. Furthermore, he has held batters to a .200 batting average and .572 OPS this season.
LeClerc has arguably been the team’s best reliever this season. In 35 innings, the 24-year-old has struck out 51 batters with a 2.06 ERA and .128 batting averaged allowed.
Both right-handed relievers are under contract control for multiple seasons. According to Spotrac, Kela won’t be a free agent until 2021, while Leclerc is eligible for free agency in 2023.
Either reliever would provide long-term upgrades to Arizona’s bullpen and solidify the back of its bullpen with Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger.