We have been told that there is an open competition for the closer’s role with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The candidates at least as far as we can tell are J.J. Putz, Addison Reed, Brad Ziegler and David Hernandez. However, based on some comments yesterday, the field has been whittled down to three. According to Steve Gilbert at mlb.com, manager Kirk Gibson had this to say regarding the chances of the side-arming Ziegler:
“He moved to the closer’s role last year because we had a need,” Gibson said. “So if we don’t have that need this year he probably won’t be there.”
Ziegler, you will recall, assumed the role for most the second half of the 2013 season after a combination of injury and ineffectiveness doomed Putz, Hernandez and Heath Bell. He performed quite well in the role, recording 13 saves and finishing the year with a 2.22 ERA. I have always though that the competition to be the closer would come down to Putz and Reed and too much was made of the chances of Ziegler and Hernandez.
Personally, I am happy Zigs returns to a setup role. It is just as important, if not more so, to stop a rally before it gets rolling. The ability to come into a game with multiple runners on and less than two outs and get out of it without allowing a run is vital. There might not be a pitcher in the game than can do it better than Brad Ziegler.