Marlins finalize $16M, 2-year deal with pitcher Brad Ziegler

MIAMI (AP) The Marlins sealed a deal Friday with right-hander Brad Ziegler, their latest move in an attempt to emulate recent playoff teams by building a strong bullpen.

Ziegler reached an agreement last week on the $16 million, two-year contract, which became final after he passed a physical. Miami also gave right-hander Junichi Tazawa a $12 million, two-year contract.

Incumbent closer A.J. Ramos will remain in that job, with Ziegler assuming a setup role, president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.

''We've been able to add two good pieces to an already strong bullpen,'' Hill said.

Miami is hoping a deep relief corps will give manager Don Mattingly lots of options to help compensate for a rotation weakened by the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, killed in a boating accident in September.

''We've seen over the past few years, with Kansas City and the playoffs this year, that if you do have a dominant bullpen, the manager and his staff feel comfortable going to the bullpen at any point to shorten the game,'' Hill said. ''You saw in the playoffs it was as early as the fourth or fifth inning. We wanted to give Donnie as many weapons as possible to potentially shorten the game.''

Ziegler, who gets $7 million next season and $9 million in 2009, is a nine-year veteran with a career ERA of 2.44 and 85 saves. He has pitched for three teams, including Arizona and Boston last year.

In addition to his salary, he can make $1 million annually in performance bonuses based on games finished: $50,000 for 30; $100,000 for 35; $150,000 for 40; $200,000 for 45; and $250,000 each for 50 and 55.

Left-hander Elvis Araujo was designated for assignment and plans to play in Japan for the Chunichi Dragons.

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