Free-agent reliever Brad Ziegler is hoping to decide today where he will be pitching next season according to a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. As part of the second tier of relievers that are being hotly pursued with the big three now signed, Ziegler has been rumored to have over a dozen teams interested in his service.
Ziegler is expected to sign either a two or three-year deal with an AAV (average annual value) of eight to nine million dollars per year. If the Rockies are indeed involved, they may have to be on the higher end of those numbers to help convince a pitcher to come to Coors Field.
The Colorado Rockies were one of those teams, though it is unclear if they are still pursuing his services after signing Mike Dunn, a left-handed reliever, yesterday. However, Jon Heyman is reporting that there is a mystery team involved in the current teams pursuing Ziegler and based upon this offseason, that could very well be the Rockies.
A right-handed reliever, Ziegler has thrived despite having a mid-80s fastball. His unique delivery is the biggest reason why. His pitch mix is also a big plus, as his ability to throw a changeup out of the submarine delivery is extremely unique and was at one point considered the rarest pitch in baseball.
Despite being 37 years old, Ziegler has a great track record of limiting runs as a reliever with a career ERA of 2.44, despite peripherals that would suggest otherwise. His career FIP and xFIP are 3.38 and 3.53 which are still solid, though not as spectacular. His unusual delivery has helped him prevent hard-hit balls, as he’s allowed a ridiculously low home run rate, despite pitching in Arizona for the past five years. He was traded to the Red Sox in the middle of this past season and posted a 9.4 K/9 rate for them which was not expected and may only be explained by either small sample size or possibly having an advantage over hitters who were not used to facing him.
At this point, no one, outside of the Rockies themselves, seems to have an idea of what the entire offseason plan for the Rockies looks like. Ziegler might no longer fit in those plans because of the Dunn signing, or there may still be space for him. As always though, Purple Row will keep you updated as new information comes out.