Boston Red Sox

Report: Brad Ziegler gets $16 million, 2-year deal with Marlins

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Report: Brad Ziegler gets $16 million, 2-year deal with Marlins

MIAMI - The perennially thrifty Miami Marlins have become big spenders in the late innings.

Two people familiar with the deal said right-hander Brad Ziegler agreed Friday to a $16 million, two-year contract with the Marlins, who added their second former Red Sox reliever in as many days.

The people confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it won't be final until Ziegler passes a physical. The agreement came shortly after right-hander Junichi Tazawa finalized his $12 million, two-year contract with the Marlins.

Miami is hoping a deep bullpen will give manager Don Mattingly lots of options to help compensate for a rotation weakened by the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, killed in a boating accident in September.

"I'm very excited with how our bullpen looks," said president of baseball operations Michael Hill, speaking before the Ziegler deal was confirmed. "We wanted to create as much depth and talent and versatility as we could, and give Donnie as many options as possible to potentially shorten the game."

Tazawa's acquisition came with an endorsement from Ichiro Suzuki, the Marlins' outfielder and 3,000-hit club member. What was Suzuki's scouting report on Tazawa, a fellow native of Japan?

"That he's a very good pitcher and can help us," Hill said. "He signed off, and that was good to know."

Ziegler is a nine-year veteran with a career ERA of 2.44 and 85 saves. He has pitched for three teams, including Arizona and Boston last year.

Tazawa had been with the Red Sox since his rookie year in 2009, and has a career ERA of 3.58. Miami swung the deals for both pitchers after falling short in its pursuit of high-priced closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.

"We know there's competition for players," Hill said. "You have a Plan A, but you have a Plan B, C and D to accomplish your goal."

Ziegler is expected to compete with incumbent A.J. Ramos for the closer's job. Tazawa should help compensate for the loss of left-hander Mike Dunn to Colorado in free agency.

"The goal is always to try to put together the deepest bullpen we can, and a bullpen with different looks and different ways to get people out," Hill said. "With Junichi you see someone who has pitched in the very competitive American League East and has a varied repertoire of weapons to get hitters out."

The Marlins have also acquired starting pitchers Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke this offseason, and they added A.J. Ellis as their backup catcher.

Miami designated right-hander Nefi Ogando for assignment to clear a roster spot.

Drellich: John Farrell fighting himself when it comes to bullpen roles

Drellich: John Farrell fighting himself when it comes to bullpen roles

CLEVELAND — John Farrell is fighting himself. More than he might realize, he’s willing to mix up his bullpen usage in a way that’s smart. But in some of the most crucial innings, Farrell will stubbornly and perhaps reflexively revert to tradition and a false sense of role — one that actually runs counter to the logic the manager employs at other times.

Look at the big cat, Craig Kimbrel, who was again left in the bullpen Monday night as the eighth and ninth innings deteriorated in a 5-4 Red Sox loss to the Indians. 

It’s all about the inning with Kimbrel, you see — or in Monday’s case, it's a matter of when Farrell would have been forced to use him.

“On a night where if I use Kimbrel tonight, he's got the need for one, if not two days off,” Farrell said. “That's why you need the contributions from everyone.”

But the indication was Kimbrel was available for a save, or perhaps the 10th inning when the lineup turned over again. If he needs rest, rest him. Farrell did not say that Kimbrel was down entirely.

But the eighth inning? No, that’d be lunacy.

“I know that there’s this overriding thought that you can just drop Craig Kimbrel in anywhere from the sixth inning to the ninth inning,” Farrell said Friday. “And with all due respect, there’s a lot more that goes into it than just that. We’ve used Craig for four outs or more this year. And there’s a willingness to do that. 

“But when we’re completely rested down there, there are roles that guys have performed very well to. And there’s a reason why our bullpen has excelled to the point they have. There are roles that are established and they pitch to them.”

Seriously, what roles? The roles change as often as Farrell’s logic defending them, aside from Kimbrel’s overwhelming need to be in save situations.

The Sox were not “completely rested” on Monday, for one. Addison Reed was unavailable entirely.

But step back for a moment, and look at the overall usage of the reliever who initially got the Red Sox into trouble Monday in the eighth, Matt Barnes. 

The righty this year has pitched in the sixth inning three times. He’s been used in the seventh inning 18 times and the eighth inning 29 times, including Monday. 

Another nine times, Barnes has pitched in the ninth or later. Fourteen times, he’s made multi-inning appearances.

Does that sound like a rigid role to you?

When Farrell spoke recently of his plan for using Reed and Barnes, it sounded pretty darn progressive.

"Addision, we’ve initially said it’s the eighth inning," Farrell said. "We’ve used him accordingly based on where we are in the lineup and based on the potential of running threats. … As we map out the seventh and eighth inning, it’s going to be Barnes and Addison and we’ll see where the right matchups provide themselves.”

So what matters more, lineup position and running threats, or what inning it is?

Depends which reliever Farrell is talking about on which night, or maybe which way the wind is blowing.

For Monday night, Barnes all of a sudden was a reliever with a role.

“On a night when not everyone's available, [Barnes is] the one that has had the most experience in the eighth inning against both lefties and righties,” Farrell said.

Experience in a particular inning, now that’s the primary factor for Barnes? What about the fact Barnes has been terrible on the road lately?

What about the fact that Brandon Workman has a 1.40 ERA, or that Farrell said before the game Workman is now in the high-leverage mix?

Workman gave up a leadoff double on Monday in the ninth inning. He might have blown the eighth inning anyway. Farrell also prefers a clean inning for Workman, and wanted to avoid using the righty Monday for workload reasons as well.

But Workman was, indeed, available. So why let extra innings or a tie game in the ninth force you to use him, as opposed to pitching him at a time he perhaps could have protected the lead?

Workman in the eighth could have thrown in place of either Barnes or Heath Hembree. The latter’s done worse than anyone on the Sox with inherited runners and came on to try to clean up Barnes’ mess. Workman has six inherited runners this year and none have scored.

But Workman has a role. Except he doesn’t. Or if he does, it’s as loosely defined as everybody else’s, save for the guy who can only get saves.

Guyer scores winner on Holt's error in 9th, Indians top Red Sox, 5-4

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Guyer scores winner on Holt's error in 9th, Indians top Red Sox, 5-4

CLEVELAND - Brandon Guyer scored when first baseman Brock Holt threw away Roberto Perez's bunt in the ninth inning, lifting the Cleveland Indians over the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Monday night in a matchup of first-place teams.

After Guyer's leadoff double against Brandon Workman (0-1), Holt fielded the bunted ball and tried to throw out Guyer at third. Guyer slid into the bag as the throw skipped past third baseman Rafael Devers, then got to his feet and raced across home plate. Teammates ran onto the field and doused Perez with water and white powder.

Perez also had a three-run homer in the second inning.

Cody Allen (1-6) allowed Christian Vazquez's leadoff single in the ninth, but retired the next three hitters. The inning ended when shortstop Francisco Lindor ran down Mookie Betts' popup in center field with his back to home plate.

Cleveland relief ace Andrew Miller left in the seventh inning after aggravating the patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Miller recently returned after over two weeks on the disabled list with the knee injury.