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.

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."