Brad Ziegler knows his time with the Marlins could be short-lived.
But the veteran relief pitcher made it clear that he plans to stay with the Marlins until he is told otherwise.
Ziegler, a sidearm-throwing righty and the likely front-runner to open the 2018 season as the Marlins’ closer, said Wednesday morning on Sirius XM Fantasy Baseball that neither he nor his agent has requested that he be traded from the organization.
“No, I have not,” Ziegler said. “I understand the frustration. I made sure my agent would not do that. I don’t think he would do that anyways. He knows. I’m happy where I’m at. Whatever team wants to have me the most, that’s the team I want to play for, because I want to be wanted wherever I’m at.”
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Ziegler signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Marlins last offseason after spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Oakland Athletics (2008-2011), Arizona Diamondbacks (2011-2016) and Boston Red Sox (2016). He is due $9 million this season.
“I signed a two-year deal to play in Miami. I’m fully expecting to play those two years in Miami,” Ziegler said. “If they end up trading me at some point, it’s not going to be because I asked them to. It’s going to be because they felt like it was the best move for the team going forward.”
Ziegler emerged as the Marlins’ closer last season after the team traded A.J. Ramos to the New York Mets on July 27. Ziegler recorded 10 saves in 16 opportunities to go along with a 4.79 ERA in 47 innings over a span of 53 games. In the final two months of the season, during which time he primarily pitched the ninth inning, Ziegler gave up just four earned runs over 18 innings — good for a 2.00 ERA.
Ziegler also dealt with his share of injuries throughout the season, going on the disabled list twice due to a right back strain.
“I feel really good,” Ziegler said. “I’ve been playing catch every morning about 7 a.m. It gets my body woken up for the early Spring Training work. I’m feeling good right now.”
Ziegler’s announcement comes a day after outfielder Christian Yelich’s agent Joe Longo told ESPN that Yelich wants to be traded and that “the relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured.” Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto have previously expressed disdain for how Derek Jeter and Co. are handling the roster. Infielder Starlin Castro, who joined the roster about a month ago as part of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, expressed similar feelings last week.
Ziegler acknowledged that there is an uphill battle ahead for the Marlins, who have gone through eight consecutive losing seasons and haven’t made the playoffs since they won the World Series in 2003.
But he said he isn’t going to let that deter him.
“When we were not a playoff team with the best player in the National League, and another All-Star, and a former batting champ and stolen-base champ that have been traded away this winter, it kind of feels like it’s going to be a challenge for us to compete this year,” Ziegler said. “It doesn’t mean we’re not going to go out and give it everything we’ve got.”