Veteran reliever Brad Ziegler—and the entirety of his remaining contract (approx. $3 million)—was traded to the Diamondbacks on Tuesday in exchange for minor league right-hander Tommy Eveld. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported that the Dbacks were working on a deal for Ziegler.
An exemplary person on and off the field. Wishing you the best, Brad. pic.twitter.com/ADFpUpyXwu— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 31, 2018
Ziegler owns a 3.98 ERA/4.59 FIP/3.53 xFIP this season for the Marlins in a National League-leading 53 appearances. His 74.0 percent ground ball rate is easily the highest among qualified relievers, and that has been on the rise lately. He pitched for Arizona from 2011-2016, accounting for nearly half of his career workload.
Left-hander Jarlin García has been notified that he will replace Ziegler on the active roster for the upcoming game in Atlanta. He’s had mixed results with Triple-A New Orleans over the past two months.
Jarlin has been with Triple-A NOLA for nearly two months (all appearances as a starter)— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 31, 2018
46.2 IP, 5 HR, 13 BB, 33 K, 5.01 ERA/4.71 FIP/5.05 xFIP https://t.co/u1tAuCyDvP
In total, the initial two-year, $16 million investment in Ziegler got the Marlins 99 innings of 4.36 ERA/4.18 FIP/3.95 xFIP performance. His 106 appearances during that period were second on the club only to Kyle Barraclough.
Throughout July, Ziegler was connected to most contending teams. Joe Frisaro identified the Cubs, Indians, Dodgers, Red Sox and Astros among those who sent scouts to evaluate him prior to the deadline. So that makes the Dbacks a slightly surprising landing spot.
Eveld, 24, is somewhat of a raw prospect, considering he had been focused on playing football prior to college. He pivoted to baseball after a serious knee injury and entered the Dbacks organization as a ninth-round draft pick in 2016.
Eveld reflected on that transition in an interview with Merisa Jensen on MiLB.com:
“It’s more of a blessing. Nobody in a million years thought this would ever happen. Everything’s sort of been lining up, starting with the football coach being cool with me going to the baseball tryout to the baseball coach for giving me the opportunity to pitch for his team and, obviously, the Diamondbacks for taking a chance on me in the Draft.”
The 6-foot-5 reliever has thrived this season between High-A and Double-A: 40.2 IP, 1.11 ERA, 47 K, 0.93 WHIP. You might see Eveld in the majors at some point in 2019. Born and raised in Florida, he should be easy to root for.
Here’s a more detailed evaluation of Eveld from a game with High-A Visalia last May, courtesy of Baseball Census.
Much more than just an old player clinging to his career, Ziegler was a leader in the clubhouse and the community. This season, he is one of the 11 MLB players nominated for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award. His Pastime for Patriots foundation provides for the armed forces and their families in a variety of ways. Ziegler was also quick to defend Marlins teammates a few weeks ago when their new tradition drew criticism on social media.
Though this trade is in everyone’s best interest, the Marlins will still miss him.