Diamondbacks News

Diamondbacks looking for closer? Top ten remaining relievers

By Christopher Gaine
Nov 1, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: caption correction) Kansas City Royals pitcher Greg Holland (right) celebrates with manager Ned Yost (left) after defeating the New York Mets in game five of the World Series at Citi Field. The Royals won the World Series four games to one. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; (EDITORS NOTE: caption correction) Kansas City Royals pitcher Greg Holland (right) celebrates with manager Ned Yost (left) after defeating the New York Mets in game five of the World Series at Citi Field. The Royals won the World Series four games to one. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Diamondbacks have made several seismic splashes this offseason, and they may not be done just yet.

GM Dave Stewart is still open to acquiring a closer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The Diamondbacks had the National League’s median ERA last season at 3.56. Brad Ziegler did an admirable job closing for the first time in his career, with a 1.85 ERA in 66 games. This may, however, be difficult for the 36-year-old to repeat. Arizona would be well-suited in bringing in another capable reliever ahead of spring training. The only reliever they added this offseason was Wesley Wright, who signed a minor league deal and played in only 11 games last season. Since they have not done much improvement here this offseason, it is still possible that they go out and make a move.

All of the A-List Darren O’Day types may now be off of the market, but there are still plenty of solid second-tier options that are candidates for minor league deals. Most of these players are either coming off of injuries or a down season, so few– if any– of these players will require a commitment beyond 2016. Here are the ten best clearance rack bullpen pitchers still out there:

10) Vic Black: Black, a former first-round pick, had a 5.94 ERA in 41 minor league appearances last year. In the season prior, he had a 2.60 ERA in 41 games with the Mets. This is a guy who could come on a minor league deal with a sizeable upside.

9) Bobby Parnell: Parnell was the Mets pitcher who routinely threw in the high-90’s before it was cool. He had a 2.79 ERA in 224 appearances from 2010-2013. But he lost much of his velocity after Tommy John Surgery in 2014 and had an abysmal 2015– recording a 6.38 ERA in 30 games.

8) Joe Nathan: The once-great Nathan is now 41 and coming off of Tommy John Surgery he underwent in April. He had a 4.81 ERA in 2014 and faced just one batter last season, but had 43 saves and a 1.39 ERA as recently as 2013. The prospects for a Nathan comeback seem unlikely at this point. Nathan will need to take a minor league deal if he wants to pitch again– if he is even offered one.

7) Aaron Crow: The former 12th overall pick made the All-Star team as a rookie in 2011 with the Royals. He compiled a 3.54 ERA in 243 games from 2011-2014. Crow underwent Tommy John surgery (notice a theme?) in April, and could come back at some point midseason. He is just 29.

6) Blaine Boyer: After being out of baseball in 2012 and 2013, Boyer has had back-to-back solid years, compiling a 2.91 ERA in 100 appearances.

5) Casey Janssen: Janssen had a 2.94 ERA and 81 saves as the Blue Jays’ closer from 2012-2014. But a 4.95 ERA in 48 games with Washington last season leaves him without a team just weeks away from spring training. He will likely be a minor league contract candidate.

4) Craig Stammen: Stammen was non-tendered by the Nationals this offseason after missing all but five games in 2015 with a flexor tear. Prior to that, he had a 2.93 ERA in 163 appearances from 2012-2014. He could be in line for a bounce-back season on a discounted contract.

3) Tommy Hunter: Hunter has been a solid setup man over the last three seasons, compiling a 3.26 ERA in 126 games. He is said to be seeking a two-year deal, though that seems unlikely to occur at this stage.

2) Greg Holland: The two-time All-Star has a 2.24 ERA and 141 saves over the last four seasons. It looked like a multiyear contract could be in the works for Holland– until he underwent Tommy John surgery last September. He is unlikely to play this season, but could become a spectacular 2017 asset on a discounted deal.

  1. Tyler Clippard: Clippard is arguably the best free agent still available. He has been one of baseball’s most reliable setup men over the last seven seasons, and recorded a 2.92 ERA last year with the Athletics and Mets. Clippard has posted an ERA above 3.10 just once since 2009, indicating a track record of consistency.
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