The Marlins have struck a two-year, $16MM deal with reliever Brad Ziegler, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). Ziegler can also earn $2MM through incentives, per SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter).
The agreement won’t be finalized until the veteran takes a physical, but he’s slated to earn $7MM for 2017 and $9MM in the following year, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Ziegler’s total guarantee lands exactly where MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted in rating Ziegler 27th in earning power among free agents.
[RELATED: Updated Marlins’ Depth Chart]
Ziegler, 37, will join the just-signed Junichi Tazawa in a revamped Marlins’ bullpen. That unit had lost Carter Capps to injury (and then trade) before watching Mike Dunn depart via free agency. While the hoped-for addition of Kenley Jansen did not come to pass, Tazawa and Ziegler will plug two quality arms into the late-inning mix on a much less onerous overall commitment. Just who’ll take what role remains unclear, but there are plenty of options (albeit, perhaps, still also an ongoing need for an additional left-hander).
Though he didn’t reach the big leagues until he was 28 years of age, has long worked in the mid-eighties with his fastball, and has always posted pedestrian strikeout and walk numbers, Ziegler has still yet to end a single season having allowed over 3.5 earned runs per nine. In nearly 600 major league frames, he owns a stellar 2.44 ERA.
The reason? Ziegler’s submarine delivery has enabled him to draw groundballs on just under two out of every three balls put in play against him. He’s also exceedingly difficult to take out of the yard, having allowed just 0.35 HR/9 over his career. And despite his lack of velocity, Ziegler is basically impossible to run off of (17 stolen bases allowed lifetime) — which helps enhance the value of his groundball-inducing sinker, by keeping the double play in order when a runner does reach base. It’s an utterly unique profile, but one that has had undeniable success.
Whether Ziegler can continue his magic act is anyone’s guess, but he has shown no signs of slowing down and Miami won’t take on too big a risk in the contract. And there are some encouraging signs even beyond the still-dominant groundball and earned-run figures. Ziegler’s 11.7% swinging-strike rate in 2016 was a personal high, as he successfully baited hitters to offer and whiff at pitches out of the zone more than ever before.
Beyond age, and the lack of strikeouts, the biggest limitation in Ziegler’s package lies in the platoon department. He has dominated opposing righties while showing some vulnerability to lefties over his career. Hitters stepping in with the platoon advantage have hit .271/.365/.392 against Ziegler, drawing 121 walks against just 115 strikeouts.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Lolwat? Was no other team offering something similar?
Love this deal for the fish, on this market it’s a great price. Set up guy that gives you another look and we only had to go 2 years.
Interesting…. guess he’s chasing the coin this late in his career? Good on him I guess
Does this mean the Fish will trade an arm to address other areas?
I remember not too long ago when teams could get SPs for 6 million for a season. Not too long ago.
@tim815 in my day we used to pay starting pitchers in bushels of corn, contracts were written on a rock and we rode to the games on the back of camels. I’d keep this conversation going but my program is on.
Still can. They probably won’t be very good, though.
Marlins, Really? Enjoy losing close to 100 games every year for the remainder of your contract.
Dude, at least try … The Marlins were in the playoff hunt all year last year and figure to be pretty solid again. 500 team at worst.
Yes, this was a smart trade for the Marlins, they are trying to shorten the game by adding quality relief. They have addressed most of their issues by adding some pitching.
elscorcho the marlin
Thank you seamaholic
Solid .500 team at worst? At worst they only win 60 games, it sounds to me like your predicting them to win 100 games.
Only reason Marlins are anything is because they’re in worst Division in baseball
It’s the AL Central and it’s not even close.
Who’s bad in the Al Central?
White sox and twins are both rebuilding, royals were kind of bad last year tigers are trying to slash payroll so who knows who they are going to trade, and then the Indians are good. That’s like 1 1/2 good teams.
Yes the AL Central is straight garbage followed closely by the NL East
As a Marlins fan, Yes!!! Yes! YES!!! Would have liked Koji or Feliz instead of Tazawa, but still, got what we needed! Now go get Nova/Hammel and Napoli or fallback option, like Reynolds, and that’s a great offseason. Add the news about Loria potentially being willing to actually sell…great day
That’s sad when those names equal a great off season.
Especially since the team hopes to contend.
elscorcho the marlin
The marlins did contend last year
What other FA SPs are there that could be useful? The Marlins need another SP that can pitch somewhere in the 3-5 spots in the rotation, although we would obviously prefer someone closer to the front end of that need. I was hoping they would get Nova at the trade deadline before theyade that terrible decision to not only trade for Andrew Cashner, but give up way too much. Now they don’t have Fernandez, but if Nova can pitch somewhere between as his numbers suggested he could in the first half, and how he actually pitched in the 2nd half, that would be really helpful. You’d have to expect at least a little turn around for Chen, you know what they’ll get from Koehler, and Conley might be on a 170-180 innings limit, but if he could be a mid-near top of rotation arm in those innings, that would have the makings of a good enough rotation, considering the bullpen depth they finally have now. If they could get someone like Napoli to share time with Bour, Dietrich, and Rojas at 1b, that would obviously be really helpful, but if not, Reynolds can play against lefties, or maybe they can find some other option there
Still, health is obviously important b/c there isn’t much depth.
That’s kind of a reach on Napoli. It seems he probably could get a full time job as a DH. RH also usually are the wrong side of a platoon just by the sheer numbers of RH pitchers unless you play in the NL Wet.
He can’t hit RHP
Tyson Ross? Chances he pitches well are probably not great, but he probably has the best ceiling of what’s left
Obviously, but the Marlins just wasted 3 million on Locke and still need a legitimate SP. They can’t really afford to give an injured pithcer coming off shoulder injury and Thoracic Outlet syndrome 9 million after incentives, though I would do that, obviously. That’s just more of a rangers/dodgers type of move than a Marlins move
That’s my whole point how many LHs do you thinks he’s going to see a week. He’ll probably be promised more ABs for a team like Clev and he another chance at a WS run.
they were gonna pay jansen 17ish a year for 5, are they really too poor to afford to gamble on ross?
You have to understand how Loria works. He’ll go part way, or even half way, but he doesn’t go for everything. Then when it doesn’t work, he can complain, and move everyone. He was going to pay Jansen, and likely do nothing else. If they could compete with those other teams for Ross, like I said, that would be cool. I just don’t expect that at all
Obviously, there are going to be better situations that someone can offer. I’m just saying. He can’t hit RHPs, so a Bour/Napoli situation would be really good, if it were to happen. I don’t see it happening, so I’m looking at a fallback option like Reynolds
Actually, they’re in a drought. So it isn’t the NL wet.
There are Marlins FANS?!
Yep we’re here. We mean to get on, but then we get distracted drinking mojitos with hot booty’ed Cuban women and then forget to.
Seems like pretty smart deal for team and player. With the short 2 year deal why not sign the highest offered deal even if the team might be a fringe contender. If they are out of it by the deadline, chances are pretty good youll get flipped to a playoff team anyway and you still get the higher salary.
Excellent point! Marlins seem to spend and then trade the players away just as you described. I was wondering why he’d sign with them but I think you answered my question.
Plus it’s a pretty big ballpark right? Not a bad spot to be if you’re a pitcher?
Good, now they have to trade Yelich or Ozuna for an a #1 starter bc of the loss or Fernandez
What about Matz and Wheeler for Yelich or Ozuna and low level prospect…..
Then trade Granderson or Bruce for a Ubaldo Jiminez/Ricky Nolasco type…..to even out the $$$ and get an experienced 5th starter type in case Gsellman or Lugo were just flashes in the pan
Yelich is worth a heckuva lot more than Ozuna.
A trade like that within the division would not happen the mets have outfielders they don’t need more. Marlins would not trade yelich
Yes please…… Trade Bruce for Ubaldo!
Which #1 is available via trade?
Archer and Gray even though they both had down seasons they’re both ace potential pitchers and have shown it at the major leagues
Yeah about that that…..they cost more than the what the Marlins have available.
I get that the Mets need to shed a little bit of payroll….but the decent bullpen arms are starting to come off the board…..flip Granderson or Bruce (preferably Bruce) for either a solid 8th inning arm or prospects for salary relief ( sad to say “salary relief” in the New York market)
Depending on the return…..if they get the 8th inning arm….upgrade catcher (Weiters)…if its prospects…sign a Neftali Feliz or Boone Logan….
The health of the starting pitching will determine the season…..bullpen upgrades are a must…..Reed and Familia cant pitch every game
i agree with most of this but to say weiters is a clear upgrade is just false. yes TD sucked last year but Weiters is never healthy, and basically when he is hes mediocre. theres no need to shell out cash for, at best, a modest upgrade.
Yeah….i agree with that logic….upgrade was the wrong term…..lets say a more proven track record instead…..TdA has the chops…just no consistancy or track record…..while Weiters isnt quite an upgrade…..you KNOW there will be production…even of its only
.240-.250. 15-20 hrs. 50-60 rbis
Aside from his Tommy John surgery Weiters has been pretty durable.
Bastardo for Bruce.
Let’s keep this circle going.
That the mets need to shed payroll is aggravating even to non Mets fans. Sell the team already. Ridiculous in that market to have to operate like that on the heels of a WS appearance and decent follow up.
I think it’s pretty funny that the Marlins are focusing on the bullpen with Mattingly as the manager. If a team is going to focus on the bullpen with so many other weaknesses, it should hire a manager who can actually manage it.
Lol true. As a Marlins fan, that is something I worry about
So, neither NY team would match that?
Yanks have one of the best bullpens right now, Fangraphs has them at 5,5WAR. I think both teams are looking for a lefty.
and the jays couldn’t afford that… I’m seriously started to get pissed off now we got outbid for, Cecil, Dunn, Reddick, fowler, I’m assuming Benoit, and many many others I’m just getting super frustrated here this is ridiculous
Shapiro’s mandate is to win a World Series on a limited budget. His personal goal is to win on half the budget he was given.
you like AA better when he was running your team? serious question
I liked the team better when AA was running it myself. At least it was exciting. Other than that Napoli trade and the Dickey trade (which, lets be honest, he paid highly for that Cy Young attachment), I actually liked what he did with the team. Found Bautista and EE, made some good draft picks, the Tulo, Donaldson, Travis, Estrada trades… He was willing to do what it took to put a winner on the field. This new regime talks about winning… but also I see is them looking at the bottom line at the expense of winning a WS.
Meh, they’re different types. One is really risk averse and tries to win in the margins, the other can lift a franchise with a trade (Donaldson), or have an absolute catastrophe of mismanaged assets (Syndergaard/Dyson/Jeffress/Norris/Marisnick/Hechavarria/DeSclafani/Gomes/Valbuena) leaving the organization. Just comes down to whether you like the gunslinging Brett Favre type QB or the accurate, cerebral Peyton-type QB. Your tolerance for risk, in other words.
Free agency is not really a place you want to be fixing your roster from. Super expensive and almost always wildly inefficient. There’s still a few months to go here, plenty of time to make roster changes/improvements. Have patience.
sports101, I wasn’t aware they were even interested in all of those names. It’s kind of harsh to say they were outbid on players they weren’t bidding on.
Every one of those guys were seriously overpaid though. There’s a difference between get outbidded and being smart
1B) J. Bour
2B) D. Gordon
SS) A. Hechavarria
3B) M. Prado
C) J.T. Realmuto
LF) M. Ozuna
CF) C. Yelich
RF) G. Stanton
SP) E. Volquez – Conley – Chen – Koehler – Locke – Nicolino – Urena
RP) A.J. Ramos – Barraclough – Ziegler – Phelps – Tawaza – Wittgren – McGowan – Ellington – Cervenka
Strong Pen – 9 legit to fight for 7 spots
Keep Gordon, Bour and Stanton healthy and they could contend for a WC.
No they can’t. That’s barely an 81 win club.
Hopefully the marlins sign someone else, and Locke doesn’t make the roster. He shouldn’t have got a big league deal. NRI to ST on a minor league deal was the best I thought he should get. I wouldn’t mind him as depth at AAA, since the Marlins don’t have that.
Ellington doesn’t make the roster out of ST. He can’t throw strikes to save his life. Marmol (Barraclough) isn’t great at that either, but he misses a lot of bats. I assume Lazo, Steckenrider, and Ellington will be at AAA to start the year, as will Austin Brice and Jake Esch, in terms of bullpen arms, and then they have Castillo, Peters, and Jarlin Garcia as possible options to see time, which isn’t great, but looks better if there are more names in front of that, with another SP in free agency
Must be nice to play in National League
That’s some sub-average starting pitching.
After Stanton and maybe Yelich they got a very weak team. If Stanton is smart he’ll opt out of his mega contract after the 6th year. Which I believe is 2019. Shame its not in 2018 with that class of free agents Harper and machado. Among others. If the cubs outfield wasn’t so crowded I’d love to see machado at 3rd and Bryant can play left. But they have schwarber for left. They won’t trade him for less than a Kershaw type pitcher or Stanton position hitter.
Jason Hammel still out there… Fister, Nova, Lewis, Anderson, De La Rosa, Peavy…..
Definitely interested in De la Rosa if he can avoid that TJ surgery, although it seems like that isn’t going to happen. also, wondering about Anderson’s health situation, as I’m not aware of that right now
Sometimes I get the feeling none of you watch the games. You just look at numbers and say rediculous things without adding any original thought or input of your own.
The most relevant post on this topic..
Have generally 2 games on at a time, then as night goes by and next day will watch more MLB and miLB games. Think it’s a lost art jleve.. Actually watching a baseball game, or going to local Minor league field, or to Ft myers to see hands on another minor league team.
think too many have lost patience with the art of fan scouting
I’ve gone to between 50-72 games every year since 1995, with the exception of the last couple of years, where it was hard to afford, and b/c of medical reasons. Usually watch 3 or 4 games at once, and then try to catch others same as you, though I admit it’s harder for me to catch too many minor league games b/c I have obviously some other stuff to do, and I probably dedicate way too much time to sports already lol.
So weird to presume that fans that would spend the time to go looking through some mundane MLB comment board in the middle of December would also not watch baseball passionately. Anybody reading your comment loves baseball obviously.
I really like Ziegler. This is a good move for the Marlins. If they can figure out how to keep Tazawa “fresh” beyond August 1, they have a serious pen.
Do the Marlins really not trust AJ Ramos with the 9th? Last year, they brought in Rodney to take his role and this year it looks like Zeigler will be closing. Am I missing something?
Ramos will probably be the closer, but he has command issues, which are an issue in the 9th inning. He dominates lefties. He’d be a good high leverage reliever to use in different spots, but since there isn’t someone else to use, he is the closer
Marlins need to trade Ozuna and a prospect for the best SP they can get, and go sign a LF that can hit for power. Rasmus would be a good fit. This team has contact hitters already, I feel like if they can get a legit #2 for Ozuna and can go get a guy to hit behind Bour or Stanton. This team could compete for sure with this pen.
Ozuna’s trade value is likely down. He was terrible in the 2nd half, although I’m not sure how that coincided with Stanton and Bour being out…the Marlins have no farm system or organizational depth to use in a trade. They should sign Nova