San Diego Padres Add Bullpen Depth

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 02: Relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen
PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 02: Relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen /

According to Ken Rosenthal, the San Diego Padres have signed RHP Tom Wilhelmsen.  The two sides agreed to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

The San Diego Padres have agreed to a minor league deal with RHP Tom Wilhelmsen. Ken Rosenthal, of the Athletic, was the first to break the story this morning. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

Wilhelmsen, 34, is a seven-year veteran who played with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. He was released mid-way through the year, spending the remainder of the season in the Milwaukee Brewers’ farm system.

In 27 games for the Diamondbacks, Wilhelmsen posted a 1-1 record with a 4.44 earned run average. He recorded a near-career low 5.8 K/9 rate while walking 4.1/9 innings.

More from Friars on Base

Wilhelmsen struggled to miss bats in 2017. His final contact rate line of 85.6% was a career high (70% o-contact and 93.8% z-contact). He also produced a career-low 6.2% swinging strike rate.

His fastball velocity has remained steady over the years, but he used it a lot less in 2017 compared to previous seasons. If the Padres use him in short appearances, allowing him to go max-effort with his fastball, maybe he will find some success in 2018.

He has flashed an impressive curveball, which you can see below.

Nicknamed “The Bartender” after he left baseball, traveled, and worked at a tiki-bar, Wilhelmsen has had success at the major league level.

His best season came in 2012 with the Seattle Mariners. He appeared in 73 games, pitched to a 2.50 ERA, recorded 29 saves, and finished with an 87/29 K/BB ratio.

Standing at 6’6″, Wilhelmsen will join a large contingent of pitchers who will be in competition for a select few bullpen spots in 2018. Regardless, this is a low-risk signing for the Padres. At worst, he’s cut before the end of spring training. At best, he floats around AAA, making the occasional relief appearance at the big league level.

The bright spot in all of this…spring training starts in eight days.

Next: Ranking The Top 5 First Basemen In San Diego Padres' History