Brad Boxberger named the Arizona Diamondbacks’ closer
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo named Brad Boxberger the team’s closer on Tuesday, ending the three-man competition for the job that included Archie Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano.
#Dbacks Lovullo noted Boxberger's past experience as a closer and acknowledged his recent health concerns, "We felt like he was on the up elevator in terms of health"
— Craig Grialou (@CraigAZSports) March 27, 2018
Boxberger is two years removed from last closing. As a setup man, he made 57 appearances for the Tampa Bay Rays over the past two seasons due to various injuries but in 2015 was an All-Star as a closer, making 41 saves in 69 games.
The Diamondbacks acquired the 29-year-old Boxberger in a November 2017 trade that shipped minor league pitcher Curtis Taylor to Tampa Bay. They later added Hirano, a free agent signing who will make his MLB debut at the age of 34 years old.
The team went through spring in search of a new closer after veteran Fernando Rodney left the team in free agency. Rodney recorded 39 saves and six blown saves for Arizona before signing with the Minnesota Twins this offseason.
The announcement on Tuesday means Bradley, who recorded a 1.73 ERA in 2017 in his first season as a relief pitcher, will remain in a setup role for the D-backs. Lovullo said Monday he went back-and-forth about whether to keep Bradley in a role he excelled at or move him into the closer role.
“There’s two thoughts that I’m having. He was exceptional last year in the role that he was in. The other thought is he’s ready to take the next step,” Lovullo said before the announcement.