The addition of submarine reliever Brad Ziegler bolsters an already formidable Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen.
Brad Ziegler is heading back to the desert.
The Miami Marlins have reached a deal to send the 38-year-old right-handed reliever to the Arizona Diamondbacks ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman. The trade is not official until after Ziegler passes a physical.
Ziegler, best known for his unorthodox submarine delivery, is joining a club that he is already familiar with. He pitched for the Diamondbacks from 2011 to 2016, saving 62 games with a 2.49 ERA. He set the franchise record by saving 43 consecutive games between the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, are adding another piece to a bullpen that is already one of the best in the league. Former All-Star Brad Boxberger has 25 saves, while Archie Bradley, Yoshihisa Hirano, Andrew Chafin and T.J. McFarland are solid setup men. They have a 3.07 bullpen ERA for the season, second in the league to the New York Yankees.
Arizona is currently a half game back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead, while having a half game lead on Atlanta and Colorado for the second Wild Card spot.
Ziegler leads the league with 53 appearances for the Marlins this season. He got off to a terrible start, losing his job as Miami’s closer with a 7.88 ERA at the beginning of June. Since then, however, he has given up just one run in his last 20 games while lowering his ERA to 3.98.
He made his Major League debut with Oakland in 2008, and immediately made an impact. He started his career with 39 consecutive scoreless innings, breaking a league record that had stood since 1907. The Athletics traded him to Arizona at the trade deadline in 2011. He has also pitched for the Boston Red Sox, and signed a two-year deal with Miami before the 2017 season. For his career he has a 2.72 ERA with 105 saves in 710 games.
Ziegler first developed his unique submarine delivery as an Athletics minor leaguer in 2007. His Twitter bio lists his occupation as pitcher, but jokes “but I throw underhand so it doesn’t really count.” He says switching to the new delivery took some adjustment.
“One of the hardest parts for me is I had done something for basically 20 years,” he told Fox Sports’ Kelly Saco on Friday, “and I had to re-learn how to throw all over again. It’s a little harder on my body, especially the older I’ve gotten.”
It may not look pretty, but it has carried him through more than 700 games in the big leagues. Arizona hopes it carries them to a deep playoff run.