Brad Ziegler Traded To Red Sox From D-Backs, Provides Needed Bullpen Help

by abournenesn

Jul 9, 2016

The Boston Red Sox addressed their sudden need for bullpen help late Friday night, acquiring sidewinding reliever Brad Ziegler from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league right-hander Jose Almonte and minor league infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe.

It’s Boston’s third trade in the last two days.

Ziegler gives the Red Sox experienced insurance in their bullpen should injuries to closer Craig Kimbrel (knee) and setup man Junichi Tazawa (shoulder) linger. Both relievers weren’t available in Friday’s win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Also, the Red Sox’s shaky starting pitching has stretched the bullpen too far at times this season.

Enter Ziegler, who’s 36, came into Friday with a 2-3 record, 2.82 ERA and 18 saves in 36 relief appearances for the Diamondbacks, and the right-hander has 27 strikeouts and only one home run allowed this season. He’s 32-24 with 81 saves and a 2.49 ERA in 571 career games, all in relief with the Oakland A’s (2008-11) and the Diamondbacks (2011-16).

Ziegler’s submarine pitching style leads to many ground balls. In fact, Ziegler leads all major leaguers in grounded-into-double-play percentage (20.8) since the start of 2008, and his ground ball rate of 67.4 percent is the highest among active relief pitchers (minimum of 750 batters faced).

The Red Sox transferred left fielder/catcher Blake Swihart, who’s out with a left ankle sprain, to the 60-day disabled list to make roster room for Ziegler. Swihart originally was placed on the 15-day DL on June 5.

Almonte, a 20-year-old Dominican native, was 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 10 starts for Single-A Greenville this year, his fourth season in the Red Sox organization (2013-16) since being signed as an international free agent in 2012.

Basabe, a 19-year-old Venezuelan also in his fourth season in the Red Sox organization, played 63 games with Greenville this season, hitting .311 with 39 runs, 16 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 24 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .414 on-base percentage, earning him mid-season South Atlantic League All-Star honors.

Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images

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