The Marlins signed veteran right-hander Brad Ziegler to a two-year, $16 million deal today.
Source: Brad Ziegler in agreement with #Marlins, two years, $16M plus incentives, pending physical.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2016
Just like the deal for Junichi Tazawa, Ziegler’s deal is a very good one for both sides. Ziegler gets a two-year deal near the end of his career and the Marlins get a very reliable reliever who fills out the bullpen.
The veteran righty will most likely take on a middle relief role with the Marlins, but could easily become the set-up man or even the closer if either Kyle Barraclough or A.J. Ramos struggles in 2017. With Ziegler becoming another solid relief pitcher for Miami, the Marlins should be done going after bullpen pieces.
Even though the front office missed out on big-time closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, who each would have cost around $17 million per year, Michael Hill may have come out with an even better deal, getting two very good bullpen pieces for only about $14 million per year.
Ziegler has spent 9 seasons in the major leagues with the Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Red Sox, and has posted a career 2.44 ERA and 1.228 WHIP with a 1.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ziegler has career experience in multiple bullpen roles, including three seasons as the closer in Arizona. Besides his great numbers, Ziegler has become well-known over his career for his funky sidewinding delivery that constantly fools hitters.
The 37-year-old started the 2016 season as the closer for the Diamondbacks, where he recorded 18 saves before being traded to the Red Sox in July. In Boston, Ziegler settled into a middle relief role in which he pitched to a 1.52 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 31 strikeouts in 29 2⁄3 innings.
If Ziegler can continue to produce like he did in 2016, he could turn out to be the most important addition for the Marlins this offseason. His 7.68 strikeouts per nine last season were the best of his career, and they helped him come into games in the middle of an inning and work his team out of a jam in an important situation. The Marlins struggled to limit the damage out of the bullpen in 2016, and Ziegler is a guy who come in and fix that problem next season.