Just a few days ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded for White Sox closer Addison Reed in an effort to sure up their bullpen, and on Friday, they locked up another important relief pitching option for the next two seasons.
Confirmed that #Dbacks Brad Ziegler will earn $4.5 million in 2014 and $5 million in ’15. Club option for 2016 is $5.5 mil w/ $1 mil buyout
— Steve Gilbert (@SteveGilbertMLB) December 20, 2013
The D-Backs are arbitration-eligible setup-man Brad Ziegler agreed to a 2-year contract extension on Friday, and it could turn into a 3-year deal if the club picks up an available 2016 option. $9.5 million over 2 seasons for a non-closer relief pitcher seems a bit exorbitant, but Ziegler has been one of the best relievers in the game for the past three seasons.
For evidence of his dominance, we turn to the stat sheet, where the 34-year-old right-hander has posted three consecutive seasons with a sub-2.50 ERA, including 73 innings of a 2.22 ERA in 2013. Ziegler isn’t the prototypical “power” bullpen arm, given his career strikeout rate of 5.83 K’s per 9 innings, but he has very good control (sub-3.00 BB/9 in three straight years) and his home run rate is exceptional.
In fact, Ziegler has only allowed 0.31 home runs per 9 innings since 2010 (four total seasons) and that is the best rate in all of baseball for pitchers who have thrown at least 250 innings in that timeframe. That unique skill should help Ziegler to age well (at least in bullpen years), and make this a more than reasonable extension for one of the game’s best set-up men.