Not a bad consolation prize, considering the sidearm throwing righty has had only one season with an ERA above 3.00 since 2010, and just two for his entire career. Ziegler closed the 2016 season with the Red Sox after spending most of the past five years with Arizona. In fact, he was with the Diamondbacks as late as June 11th, when he managed to shut the door on the Marlins for one of his 22 saves.
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Not bitter at all about that, considering I drove nearly 800 miles to watch the game.
But for the 2017 Marlins, Ziegler promises to be much more helpful. Essentially, the 37-year old veteran will now be playing the part of Fernando Rodney, with the hope that the 1.25 run difference in their respective ERAs doesn’t fall off a cliff this season.
Fortunately, the advanced stats all seem to suggest that Ziegler might actually be improving, and is at the very least relying far less on smoke and mirrors than 2016 Fernando did. Before coming to the Marlins and enthralling fans with that 5.89 ERA anyway; hard to even make the smoke and mirrors argument for the Archer from August onward.
Ziegler looks to find himself setting up A.J. Ramos, who not for lack of trying will return as the team’s closer. Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps will reprise their roles as interchangeable 7th inning arms. The Marlins bullpen should be better, but not as much as hoped for when Chapman and Jansen were being pursued.
Where the real value will lie is if in addition to the much more modest upgrade of Ziegler, the Fish avail themselves of the opportunity to spend a little bit more of that Chapman/Jansen money on another starting pitcher. Doug Fister, Ivan Nova…anyone else with the talent level to possibly put up fourth starter production from the fifth starter spot.
Ziegler is a solid addition as is. But if another starter is added as well, the move becomes an exceptional one. Either way, nicely done Marlins.