After making a splash earlier in the offseason when he signed free agent starter Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart made another splash Monday, this time solidifying the back end of his bullpen.
Early on Monday, sources close to the club announced that they had the parameters for a deal with 31-year-old former Nationals set-up man Tyler Clippard.
By the early afternoon, the Diamondbacks announced they had signed him to a two year deal, worth $12.25 million.
Not a year removed from his first appearance in the World Series, Clippard elected to go to a club that is brimming with postseason motivation, rather than staying with the team that brought him to the World Series.
Throughout the league, owners and general managers thought that Arizona was finished with offseason moves after signing Zack Greinke, trading second baseman Aaron Hill among others for shortstop Jean Segura and right-hander Tyler Wagner. Earlier in the offseason they also wound up moving number one draft pick shortstop Dansby Swanson and outfielder Ender Inciarte for right-hander Shelby Miller.
Earlier in the week , GM Dave Stewart told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert that they “[didn’t] have much going on”. Up to this point, however, the Diamondbacks didn’t have much of a bullpen. Their most consistent pitchers there were starter turned relievers Josh Collmenter and Daniel Hudson and closer, and submarine pitching specialist, Brad Ziegler.
Clippard solidifies the back end of this bullpen and hopes to take Arizona to the postseason and possibly beyond.
Last season, Clippard started the year with the Oakland Athletics and was one of the more consistent pitchers out there, but was used the most out of all relievers during his time in Oakland.
At the trade deadline, however, he was traded to the New York Mets for minor league pitcher Casey Meisner.
As the season progressed Clippard’s production dropped off, as he posted a 6.14 ERA in September and allowed five runs in 6-2/3 innings in the postseason.
“We’ve done our research,” Stewart said, “and we do know that he was used often in the first part of the season, which can wear a guy down at the end of the year.”
Throughout the season as a whole, however, Clippard posted a 5-4 record, with a 2.92 ERA all the while holding batters to a .186 average and runners in scoring position to a .133 scoring percentage according to Baseball Reference.
These numbers will help him out when he joins the NL West and play the Los Angeles Dodgers multiple times and will help the Diamondbacks bullpen to hold them to little to no runs. GM Dave Stewart has confidence Clippard will hold to his own and pitch well, despite his drop off last season.
“With everything else we’ve done this year,” Stewart said, “we felt that a pitcher that had been in those roles, has done the job, has a track record of doing the job, was the direction to go.”