May 27, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Brad Ziegler (29) throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the ninth inning at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Despite blowing the save and taking the loss last night, Brad Ziegler has clearly been the best reliever for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season. In fact, he probably has been the best D’backs’ reliever since coming over from the Oakland A’s almost four years ago. That trade was done to solidify the bullpen on the way to capturing the 2011 NL West title. Today, the Snakes will not be contending for the division championship and Ziegler’s guaranteed contract runs out at season’s end. There is a team option of $5.5 million dollars next season or a $1 million dollar buyout. So the question today is will Ziegler be in Sedona Red past July 31st?
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Relievers tend to draw a ton of interest around the trade deadline. Should Arizona make him available, Ziggy would be one of the premier guys on the market. He is one of the best setup men in the game and has proven (last night not included) that he could close in a pinch. He has a 1.25 ERA in 22 games allowing 13 hits and eight walks with 14 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. Ziegler seems to be completely healed from the microfracture surgery he underwent last October. Manager Chip Hale has put him in the closer’s role while Addison Reed sorts out his issues and with Enrique Burgos on the disabled list.
My feeling on Ziegler being possibly traded is this. I wouldn’t do it unless management is completely bowled over in a proposal. For that to happen, another player would have to be involved (Mark Trumbo, perhaps?) in order for the D’backs to acquire players worth their while, like an upgrade at catcher or a Major League-ready reliever. I’m not trading an outstanding relief pitcher with a reasonable contract for next year for a fringe Double A or Triple A player. Right now, the Snakes are better I thought they would be. Contention for a playoff spot in 2016 is a real possibility. The road to get there would be easier with Brad Ziegler on the team.