2018 Rating: 6.14
2017 Rating: N/A
2018 Performance: 29 G, 21.2 IP, 3.74 ERA/117 ERA+, 0.1fWAR
2018 Salary: 2.9 Million (prorated portion of 9 million salary)
2019 Status: Retired
Brad Zeigler and his distinctive underarm throwing motion came back to the Diamondbacks from the Miami Marlins via trade at the deadline. In exchange, the Marlins received MiLB outfielder Tommy Eveld. Of course, Ziggy was a very familiar face to all of us, Just prior to this season, we ranked him the #18 Diamondback of All-Time, stemming from his 2011-2016 stint with the team.
During that time, he was arguably one of the best relievers in baseball. In his 401 innings pitched, he put up a 2.41 ERA, good for a 168 ERA+. Of course, he was known for getting the ground ball. As Jim points out in the above All-Time article, during his 2011-16 seasons, he had the lowest fly ball% of any pitcher at 13.4%. That was better than second place Zach Britton by an astounding 6.4%. It made him specifically qualified as the definition of a fireman, being able to come in and get a ground ball double play, essentially on command.
That came to an end, at least for the Diamondbacks, in July 2016 when the One and Only David Keith Stewart traded Ziegler for basically a sack of baseballs, one week after Ziegler said the team approached him about a potential contract extension.
Fastforward two seasons, and he was once again with the team. He didn’t get off to the best of starts, throwing one inning in his debut and being charged with four earned runs on three hits and a walk. Needless to say, it was the cause of great consternation on this site, especially since the other two pitchers that we acquired around the same time also weren’t doing to great. However, Ziegler quickly turned it around, going another nine games before giving up another run. Overall, he did fairly well, if not nearly as well as he did his first time with Arizona, but he was serviceable, especially considering the struggles of the rest of the bullpen.
On October 10th, his 39th birthday, Ziegler posted a heartfelt letter to his Twitter feed. In it, he recounted some of his favorite, and some less favored, memories from his 11 year career and announced that he was hanging up his cleats. I’ve seen nothing to indicated it was intentional that he was traded back to the team that would no doubt be on his cap if he were inducted into the Hall of Very Good, but if it was a coincidence, a very fitting one it was.
Beyond continuing his work through his charity, Pastime for Patriots, and tweeting scathing indictments of how MLB handles instant replay, Mr. Ziegler hasn’t made any public announcements as to what comes next. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up either in a front office somewhere or even back in a bullpen or dugout, coaching the next generation of pitchers. Wherever life takes him next, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, he will always be a Diamondback.