Arizona Diamondbacks Add Bullpen Depth With Tyler Clippard

The moves keep on coming for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team signed long-time closer Tyler Clippard to a two-year deal Monday afternoon.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been busy this offseason, adding some big names in order to compete in the National League West. The team added two starting pitchers and just added another piece to their bullpen. The team reportedly signed veteran reliever Tyler Clippard. He had a good 2015 season and the Diamondbacks he can be a solid piece in the bullpen in 2016.

Clippard spent his rookie season as a starter for the New York Yankees. He was then traded to the Washington Nationals and was there for seven seasons. He was mostly used in a set-up role before becoming the closer in 2012. He had a 2.68 ERA, 1.047 WHIP, 34 saves (32 in 2012) and 530 strikeouts in his time in Washington. 

He was traded to the Oakland Athletics in the 2014 offseason. He was the team’s closer as Sean Doolittle began the season on the disabled list. In 37 games, he had 17 saves with a 2.79 ERA, 1.190 WHIP and 38 strikeouts. He was then traded to the New York Mets. In 32 games, he had two saves with a 3.06 ERA, 1.052 WHIP and 26 strikeouts as the set-up man.

Tyler Clippard has been a consistent relief pitcher for many years. Between 2010 and 2015, he pitched in 464.1 innings (440 games). He pitched in at least 70 innings and struck out at least 64 batters in that span. Adding another reliever with closer experience is a smart move for Arizona.

While it’s great for a pitcher to last this long, it does take a toll on the body. Clippard’s K/9 and BB/9 have gone in opposite directions over the last five years. He had a 10.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 2011 and 8.1 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 last season. He had a 1.01 HR/9 last season and in the home run-friendly Chase Field, owners hope that he can improve.

Diamondbacks beat reporter Jack Magruder tweeted out what Tyler Clippard’s role will be with his new team.

This clears up the bullpen picture a little bit, but nothing is set in stone. It makes sense to go this route because of how well Brad Ziegler pitched last season. He had a 2.17 ERA, 1.007 WHIP and 30 saves from May 21 (the date of his first save) to the end of the season. The team began the season with Addison Reed as the closer. He had a 4.20 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in 38 games with the Diamondbacks last season before he was shipped to the Mets.

I still think that Tyler Clippard will at least compete for the closing job during Spring Training. The recent experience with the A’s and consistency throughout his career definitely helps his case. However, management can mess with us all and go with a committee approach, deeming both men unownable in standard leagues.

Tyler Clippard would have been better off going to a team that needed a closer, but the market for him didn’t seem to be there. He now goes to a team with a closer, but nothing is set in stone. Clippard could rack up some saves if Ziegler needs a rest day. If you play in a holds league, Clippard’s value goes up. He does rack up strikeouts and limits his walks and hits and is worth a late-round flyer.

Projections: 3-3 record, 3.30 ERA, 1.107 WHIP, 66 strikeouts, five saves

Draft: Round 24