Report: Marlins, reliever Brad Ziegler agree to two-year deal

Saturday December 17th, 2016

MIAMI (AP) — The perennially thrifty Miami Marlins have become big spenders in the late innings.

Two people familiar with the deal said right-hander Brad Ziegler agreed Friday to a $16 million, two-year contract with the Marlins, who added their second former Red Sox reliever in as many days.

The people confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it won't be final until Ziegler passes a physical.

The agreement came shortly after right-hander Junichi Tazawa finalized his $12 million, two-year contract with the Marlins. That deal came with an endorsement from Ichiro Suzuki, the Marlins' outfielder and 3,000-hit club member.

What was Suzuki's scouting report on Tazawa, a fellow native of Japan?

''That he's a very good pitcher and can help us,'' president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. ''He signed off, and that was good to know.''

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Ziegler 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.

Tazawa had been with the Red Sox since his rookie year in 2009, and has a career ERA of 3.58.

Miami swung the deals for both pitchers after falling short in its pursuit of high-priced closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.

''We know there's competition for players,'' Hill said. ''You have a Plan A, but you have a Plan B, C and D to accomplish your goal.''

Ziegler is expected to compete with incumbent A.J. Ramos for the closer's job. Tazawa should help compensate for the loss of left-hander Mike Dunn to Colorado in free agency.

''The goal is always to try to put together the deepest bullpen we can, and a bullpen with different looks and different ways to get people out,'' Hill said. ''With Junichi you see someone who has pitched in the very competitive American League East and has a varied repertoire of weapons to get hitters out.''

Hill made his comments before the deal for Ziegler was confirmed.

The Marlins have also acquired starting pitchers Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke this offseason to help compensate for the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat crash in September. They added A.J. Ellis as their backup catcher.

Miami designated right-hander Nefi Ogando for assignment to clear a roster spot.

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