Even before we learned of Jeurys Familia’s domestic violence arrest, we suspected that the Mets would target bullpen help as part of their offseason reload. Now we know that one of the players they are curious about is former Diamondbacks closer Brad Zielger, who is a free agent this offseason.
Mike Puma of the New York Post is reporting that the Mets have checked in on Ziegler, who finished the 2016 campaign with Boston after Arizona traded him away on July 9.
The 37-year-old Ziegler is not your run-of-the-mill relief pitcher. Not only does he sport an extreme sidearmed delivery, but his strikeout rate has been below average for his entire career. Last year he struck out 7.68 batters per nine innings, and that was a career high. In 2015, Ziegler struck out just 4.76 batters per nine.
However, thanks to that funky delivery that produces ground ball rates consistently above 60 percent, Ziegler’s ERA figures have been below 3.50 for his entire nine-year career. That’s not bad for a guy who was once seen as a right-handed specialist. In reality, lefties are more effective against Zielger, but not by a prohibitive margin. They have a .757 career OPS against him, compared to .559 for right-handed batters.
If the Mets miss out on Ziegler, they could turn to the trade market for bullpen help. Puma has learned that non-elite prospects such as Brandon Nimmo and Gavin Cecchini could be used to acquire a relief pitcher.