The Rays' ability to evaluate players and find ways to extract the most value out of them is unparalleled and Jake Diekman is no exception. Diekman was coming off a brutal start to the 2023 with the White Sox where he posted a 7.94 ERA before getting released in May. The Rays saw something left in Diekman, though, and picked him up a few days after he was released.
Diekman rewarded Tampa's faith in him with 50 appearances and a 2.18 ERA during his time with the Rays in 2023. While the walks were a little spooky at times, he missed bats and proved to be one of the highlights of the Rays' bullpen this season.
All of that sounds like good reasons to keep a guy around, right? Well, unfortunately, Diekman is hitting free agency and has probably priced himself out of Tampa's comfort zone. The Rays have shown some slight willingness to lock up their younger guys for real money, but paying a 36 year old walk-prone reliever coming off a career year has never been how they do things. He will be missed and his service is appreciated, but Diekman seems as good as gone.