MLB Trade Deadline: Diamondbacks bolster bullpen
Arizona stays busy by adding two relievers to a stacked bullpen.
The Arizona Diamondbacks wasted little time today by trading for relief pitchers Brad Ziegler and Jake Diekman. The team added reliever Matt Andriese from the Tampa Bay Rays and also acquired Minnesota Twins infielder Eduardo Escobar last week, making the Diamondbacks a legitimate threat in the NL West. Their 59-49 record isn’t stellar, but they’re only a half-game back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place and Arizona is taking the approach of bolstering the bullpen for the long run rather than go for a scary lineup.
The Diamondbacks are reuniting with Ziegler, who spent parts of six seasons with the club from 2011 to 2016. Ziegler holds the club record for save-situation appearances without a blown save with 62 and posted a 2.49 ERA during his tenure. Ziegler spent the last two seasons with the Miami Marlins and recently found his groove once again, posting a 0.64 ERA since June 1.
Jake Diekman, who dealt with injuries for most of 2017, has had a nice rebound season with the Texas Rangers, posting a 3.69 ERA in 47 games. His home ERA of 7.50 is alarming, but a 0.43 road ERA is something for the D-backs to be excited about, especially since he’ll be leaving Globe Life Park.
The D-backs sent pitcher Tommy Eveld to the Marlins for Ziegler. In 32 games with High-A Visalia, Eveld has a 1.24 ERA and was a ninth-round draft pick in 2016. In the Diekman deal, Arizona sent their No.22 prospect Wei-Chieh Huang, who has an ERA of 2.00 on the season with Double-A Jackson.
How it looks
Arizona did a fantastic job addressing their needs in the bullpen. Adding Ziegler makes the bullpen more dangerous in the front or back end wherever the club puts Ziegler. Ziegler also can close games, which could be an upgrade over Brad Boxberger and his 25 saves with a 3.49 ERA.
Diekman is a good fit as a setup man, but his recent injury history could limit how much the club uses him. The key for Diekman will be to overcome his struggles at home in a new ballpark. Chase Field is more hitter-friendly than Globe Life, which is something to keep an eye on with Diekman. If he can pitch on the road as well as he has, the club might balance any home struggles with his dominance on the road.
The Diamondbacks are in it to win, even with the inconsistency since May 1. They’re only a half-game back of the Dodgers for first place in the division and a strong bullpen could be the difference during the year, especially if the offense continues its inconsistency.
Adding Ziegler and Diekman are cheap options, but options that can work easily. Ziegler’s experience in Arizona plays out for him while Diekman is getting away from Globe Life Park while hopefully getting over his woes at home. If the bullpen holds up the Diamondbacks could steal the division from the Dodgers at the end of the season. Even if they don’t a wild-card berth isn’t the worst outcome either. The front office making these moves shows the D-backs are in it to win it and are taking a different approach to clinching their seventh postseason berth in franchise history.