Clippard embraces setup role

Newest D-back eager to pitch in 'on any level' team needs

February 9th, 2016

PHOENIX -- It may have taken longer than he wanted, but in the end, Tyler Clippard said, he wound up where he wanted to be -- with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The D-backs signed Clippard to a two-year, $12.25 million deal, which includes a $4 million signing bonus, a $4.1 million salary this year and a $4.15 million salary in 2017.

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"Free agency definitely didn't go like I thought it would," Clippard said after the deal was announced on Monday. "If you would have told me on Nov. 1 that I wouldn't sign until Feb. [8] or whatever it was, I would have been very surprised about that. It was a very slow-moving market this year."

Clippard, who turns 31 on Sunday, pitched for the A's and Mets last season, going a combined 5-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 69 appearances.

"Just timing-wise, I felt like I would have gotten more offers," he said. "Definitely wouldn't have done anything differently. I felt like at the end of the day it worked out great. I'm super-excited to sign the deal I signed and be where I'm at. It couldn't have worked out better."

Clippard said the D-backs were one of the teams he was hoping would express interest in him after he declared for free agency.

Last season Arizona improved by 15 wins to finish 79-83.

"They've proven this offseason that they're taking the steps in the direction of becoming a championship organization, which was something that was very high on my radar as far as the teams I wanted to be with," Clippard said. "I wanted to be with a team that was going to contend -- not just a team that was possibly going to contend, but being able to be pretty sure on my end that I was going to be with a really good team, and Arizona is definitely that."

Clippard has filled a variety of roles in his career. As a closer he has 53 saves, 19 of which came last season.

The D-backs, however, are committed to going with Brad Ziegler in the closer's role, and that seems to be fine with Clippard, who believes that a good bullpen is not just about the closer or the setup men, but the group as a whole.

"There's going to be days when a guy who's not necessarily used to pitching the eighth or the ninth is going to have to do it," Clippard said.

"Everyone is going to have to have the mindset that they're capable of closing, that they are capable of pitching in high-leverage situations. That's my mindset. I don't really have expectations of when I'm going to be used, but I'm OK with that, because I know what it takes to win a championship, and to have a good bullpen, everyone needs to have that mindset. I want to contribute on any level that the team needs me to contribute."