The Tampa Bay Rays are exploring an unprecedented way to rescue their franchise from a lack of fan interest, and one former MLB player has a great point about why the idea seems unlikely to work.
On Thursday, the Rays received permission from MLB to pursue an arrangement in which they would play half of their games in Tampa and the other half in Montreal. Brad Ziegler, a former relief pitcher who played 11 MLB seasons, quickly pointed out how much of an “absolute nightmare” that would be for Rays players.
Ziegler makes a good point. The majority of Rays players probably wouldn’t “live” in both cities, so they would essentially be playing 40 or so more away games than players on any other team. That is one of the reasons Bob Nightengale of USA Today says the plan will never come to fruition.
The Rays have been trying to get approval for a new stadium in Tampa, but the embarrassing attendance they have had at games this year illustrates why they can’t get the money. Part of the two-city proposal is that they would play the first half of their home games in Tampa and the second half in Montreal, and that would eliminate the need for a roof enclosure on a new Tampa stadium. Still, the chances of it ever happening seem very slim.
One of the most dependable relief pitchers in baseball will not be signing with a new team this winter, as Brad Ziegler announced on Wednesday that he has decided to retire.
Ziegler, 39, posted a lengthy message on Twitter thanking those who have supported him and sharing some of the best moments of his career.
Ziegler first came to the majors with the Oakland A’s and played for four different teams across 10 seasons. The right-hander finishes his career with an ERA of 2.75, and he was one of the more coveted relievers at the MLB trade deadline this year despite his age. There would certainly be a market for Ziegler’s services this offseason if he decided to keep pitching, but you can’t blame him for calling it a career.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are fighting for the lead in the NL West division, and they made a move on Tuesday that should help bolster their bullpen for the stretch run to the postseason.
According to multiple reports, the Miami Marlins have agreed to a deal with the D-Backs that will send veteran reliever Brad Ziegler to Arizona.
Ziegler has struggled some over the past two seasons with Miami, but he has been one of the most dependable relievers in baseball for many years. Prior to the time he spent with the Marlins, the right-hander had an ERA of 2.82 or less in six of seven seasons. He should help solidify the D-Backs’ bullpen as they try to get the best of the Los Angeles Dodgers over the next two months.
Brad Ziegler is expected to be traded prior to the non-waiver deadline on Tuesday, and the Chicago Cubs are said to be close to acquiring him.
MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports that the Cubs are close to a deal for the reliever.
Ziegler was an excellent reliever in the mid-to-early part of the decade, mostly with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But the 38-year-old had a 4.79 ERA last season for Miami and has a 3.98 ERA this year.
What must be attractive to the Cubs is that since some rocky outings early in the season, Ziegler has mostly been great. He has allowed just three runs in 29 innings since June.
The Cubs have been making additions to their entire pitching staff, adding Cole Hamels and Jesse Chavez in recent deals, and might not be done.
There has been another groundswell in support for extended netting in Major League Baseball stadiums, and it’s not just from concerned fans.
One player, Miami Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler, was quite critical of fans who oppose extended netting in light of the injuries suffered by a two-year-old girl as a result of a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. In a series of tweets, Ziegler told fans who were opposed to extended netting that they should just stay home if they hate it that much.
Many players have spoken of their desire to see the nets extended, and it seems much of the resistance has come from higher-paying fans who want unobstructed views. Three teams have already announced they will extend the protective netting down both lines for 2018 following the scary incident — though the Yankees are, so far, not one of them.
The Boston Red Sox recently swung a trade for Arizona closer Brad Ziegler, and it reportedly caught a lot of teams off guard.
According to Peter Gammons, while many teams knew Ziegler was available and were pursuing him, the Red Sox gave up much less than other teams were willing to.
Boston got Ziegler for two modestly rated prospects, which is no small feat in what is sure to be a sellers’ market. A lot of teams need relief help, and if they really were prepared to part with more than Boston gave up, you can understand their frustration, particularly since Boston pulled it off while still having such a transparent need in the bullpen.