D-backs GM: Clippard should help bullpen, but Ziegler will close
The Arizona Diamondbacks hope to have upgraded their bullpen with the signing of Tyler Clippard.
The 30-year-old right-hander comes to Arizona with an impressive resume that includes 42 wins, 53 saves, 158 holds, 612 strikeouts and a 2.88 ERA in 562 innings, and though he struggled toward the tail end of last season and in the playoffs with the New York Mets, they believe he’ll help them late in games.
“I just know that he complements what we already have down there,” D-backs general manager Dave Stewart told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday. “We’ve got Brad Ziegler, we’ve got [Daniel Hudson] down there, we’ve got [Andrew] Chafin, [Randall] Delgado.
“Ideally we just wanted to add to the mix and give ourselves a little more depth in the late innings, and hopefully we get something positive out of all of our guys. But he’s definitely, he’s a guy that’s been tested and he’s proven that he’s capable of fitting multiple roles down there. He can pitch the seventh, he can pitch the eighth, and if need be he can close games out.”
Last season, Diamondbacks relief pitchers combined to post a 28-27 record with a 3.56 ERA, leaving them in the middle of the pack as far as production. However, their 579.1 innings of work were the most of any team in all of baseball, so it’s understandable why the team spent as much time revamping the pitching staff as it has this offseason.
First, they added starters Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, which in theory will help alleviate some of the stress on the ‘pen. Now they added a proven reliever, and while he is capable of closing games, that is not the role they have in mind for Clippard.
“Our closer is Brad Ziegler — he’s done nothing to lose that position,” Stewart said. “So our plan is for Ziggy to close games for us.”
Ziegler began the 2015 season as a setup man, but after Addison Reed struggled locking down games he assumed the closer’s role with great success. In all, he posted a 0-3 record with 30 saves and an ERA of 1.85.