D-backs, Clippard agree to two-year deal
The Diamondbacks fortified their bullpen Monday by signing two-time All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard to a two-year contract.
The right-handed Clippard, who turns 31 on Sunday, was one of baseball’s most durable relievers the past six seasons, during which he had a 2.67 ERA in 464 1/3 innings and struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal was first to report the agreement. Rosenthal reported the D-backs will play Clippard $4.1 million this season and $4.15 million in 2017, with a $4 million signing bonus.
Clippard, who earned $8.3 million last season, spent the bulk of his nine-year major-league career with the Nationals. But he split last season with the Oakland A’s and New York Mets. He was 1-3 with 17 saves and a 2.79 ERA in 37 appearances for Oakland, then was traded to the Mets for their postseason push and went 4-1 with two saves and a 3.06 ERA in 32 appearances.
He limited opponents to a .186 average and a .133 clip (8 for 60) with runners in scoring position.
"With everything else we’ve done this year to stabilize our club this year and moving forward," GM Dave Stewart said, "we felt that a pitcher that had been in those roles and has done the job and has a track record of doing the job should be the direction that we should go."
The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is the only pitcher to appear in at least 69 games in each of the last six seasons and leads all relievers with 34 wins, 440 games and 464.1 innings pitched during that span. Only three relievers — Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen — have more strikeouts since 2010 than Clippard’s total of 519.
Bolstering the bullpen was one of D-backs general manager Dave Stewart’s goals going into the off-season, but it was a lesser priority than shoring up the starting rotation, which was accomplished with the signing of Zack Greinke and the trade for Shelby Miller. Clippard joins a bullpen that includes closer Brad Ziegler, Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter, Randall Delgado and Andrew Chafin.
That likely leaves one bullpen spot to be filled. Enrique Burgos, Silvino Bracho, Evan Marshall and lefty Matt Reynolds are expected to be in the mix.
"We think we have a lot of guys in our bullpen that complement each other and will help each other to not have to be overused," Stewart said, "which will keep each and every last one of them effective."
To make room for Clippard on the 40-man roster, left-hander Will Locante was designated for assignment.