The Diamondbacks are aiming to improve their bullpen and have reached out to a pair of familiar free agent relievers, Brad Ziegler and Daniel Hudson, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Ziegler previously spent parts of six seasons with the Diamondbacks, who traded him to Boston in July. New D-backs executive vice president and general manager Mike Hazen was the Red Sox’s GM at the time, of course, so he’s familiar with Ziegler. Hudson, meanwhile, has been with Arizona since 2010. The 29-year-old has recorded a 4.50 ERA, 9.07 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 128 innings as a reliever over the past two seasons.
More from Arizona and a few other NL cities:
- Along with bolstering his bullpen, Hazen hopes to add left-handed hitters, he told Piecoro. “I think being a little more left-handed could certainly help us,” Hazen said. “Pigeonholing it into one specific focus, I think, would be too complicated to try to pull off. I think we can be opportunistic about that.” The Diamondbacks have four established or potential regulars who are either lefties or switch-hitters in third baseman Jake Lamb, outfielder David Peralta, catcher Chris Herrmann and infielder Ketel Marte, notes Piecoro. They could trade outfielder Yasmany Tomas in an attempt to become less right-handed, but there’s not much of a market for him, sources informed Piecoro. While Tomas belted 29 home runs in 2016, the 26-year-old’s .272/.313/.508 line wasn’t great overall; further, he doesn’t provide defensive or baserunning value and still has $48.5MM coming his way through the 2020 season.
- The Cubs made attempts over the past couple years to acquire right-hander Tyson Ross from the Padres and could pursue him in free agency, according to Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago. “The Padres were close to trading Ross to the Cubs for Starlin Castro,” a major league source who worked for one of the teams told Levine. “San Diego execs were mixed on asking for Castro or Javier Baez. The deal went down to the wire in late July of 2015 but never got to the point of exchanging medicals.” Ross was a front-of-the-rotation starter at that point, but he only threw 5 1/3 innings last season and is currently recovering from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. The Padres non-tendered him Friday.
- The rebuilding Reds are committed to giving regular playing time to young middle infielder Jose Peraza in 2017, general manager Dick Williams and manager Bryan Price told C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). That’s particularly notable with two up-the-middle veterans – second baseman Brandon Phillips and shortstop Zack Cozart – in place. Cincinnati attempted to deal Phillips last offseason, but he took advantage of his ability to block a trade. Phillips, who has one year and $14MM left on his contract, is reportedly more open to waiving his no-trade clause this offseason. Cozart also has one year of club control remaining, and he nearly went to the Mariners prior to last summer’s non-waiver trade deadline. Seattle has since acquired Jean Segura, taking it out of the running for Cozart, but he could still interest other shortstop-needy teams looking for a capable and affordable stopgap. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a $4.7MM arbitration award for Cozart.
- With Jeff Mathis headed to Arizona, the Marlins are in the market for a veteran backup catcher, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Free agents like Geovany Soto and Dioner Navarro are candidates to end up in Miami as the main reserve behind J.T. Realmuto, writes Frisaro.