Brad Ziegler finished the 2013 season as the Arizona Diamondbacks’ closer, but odds are he will not begin the 2014 campaign in the same role.
“I know from our team’s perspective, if everybody in the bullpen is pitching lights out, I’m not our closer,” he told the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. “I don’t have the power stuff you look for.
“If Addison Reed or J.J. Putz or David Hernandez is pitching well, one of them is going to have that job. I kind of got it last year by default.”
Ziegler went 8-1 last season while also locking down 13 saves. He threw 73.0 innings over the course of 78 appearances, allowing just 61 hits and 22 walks while striking out 44. He finished the season with a 2.22 ERA, and while he may have earned the job due to other pitchers struggling, he kept it because of his own effectiveness.
And it’s not as if Ziegler had never been a closer, as he saved 11 games for the A’s as a rookie and had 20 in his career prior to last season.
But with Putz healthy, Hernandez having a clear head and the team acquiring the former White Sox closer Reed, the goal would very much seem to be to avoid needing Ziegler in that role again. As someone who excels at inducing ground balls, having the submariner available to get out of a tight jam in the late innings could be just as valuable as having him reserved for the ninth.
He gets it, and he’s fine with it.
“I think everybody realizes if everybody in our bullpen is pitching well, then I’m not our closer,” he said. “And if I’m closing, then there’s a lot of things that have gone wrong at that point and that’s not a good thing.”