The Arizona Diamondbacks avoided arbitration with reliever Brad Ziegler on Wednesday, according to sources. Terms have the deal have not yet been disclosed, but the agreement between the two sides will be a one-year contract.
Ziegler came over during the July 31 trade from Oakland that sent slugger Brandon Allen and left-handed flamethrower Jordan Norberto back to the Athletics.
In his time in a Diamondbacks uniform, the submarine right-hander pitched really well during the final months of the season. In 23 games, the 32-year-old Kansas native had a 1.74 ERA and struck out 15 hitters in 20.2 innings pitched.
Ziegler's numbers in Arizona late in the regular season were right on par with the stats that he put up throughout his career. In four seasons with Oakland, Ziegler had a 2.49 ERA and was a very valuable part of the Athletics bullpen.
His great regular season numbers didn't translate into him pitching well in his first postseason action, however. During Game 2 of the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers, Ziegler came in to relieve starter Daniel Hudson. He faced seven batters and allowed four hits, four earned runs, two walks, an error and a balk that put the game out of reach and Arizona in a big 2-0 hole heading back home for Game 3.
With Ziegler back for at least one more season, he will have a key role for the D'Backs bullpen in 2012. David Hernandez and JJ Putz will man the eighth- and ninth-inning roles, but the spots after that are wide open.
Ziegler will likely be competing against newcomer and veteran Japanese pitcher Takashi Saito to pitch the seventh inning. Ziegler might have the upper hand because the Arizona staff knows what they have in him and Saito is coming off of an injury-plagued season.
Only time will tell what Ziegler's role will be, but he will be a big part of a bullpen that is expected to be one of the best units in all of baseball.
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