D-backs add Clippard on 1-year deal

February 26th, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs made their signing of veteran reliever -- a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2022 -- official Friday.

The 36-year-old will receive a guaranteed $2.25 million in 2021, while the option is for $3.5 million.

Clippard gives the D-backs another experienced arm in the bullpen, joining Joakim Soria, who was signed recently as well. The rest of Arizona's bullpen is relatively inexperienced in comparison.

"I think the dependability, the durability," D-backs assistant assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye said of what the team liked about Clippard. "I think just layering and another veteran in our bullpen, especially in the back end. Great makeup guy, I think he's going to be good for the young guys. I think you've seen how we've tried, how we're trying to build our bullpen and I think, you know, just layering in some good veterans with some of the younger players. I think Tyler fits for we're looking for."

Clippard has pitched 14 years in the big leagues, including a short stint with the D-backs in 2016, and has shown an ability to stay healthy and log plenty of appearances.

Last year, he made 26 appearances and had a 2.77 ERA with the Twins.

"There’s a lot of things that go into it," Clippard said. "I think a little bit of luck, but also I’m a creature of habit. I have [a] routine that I’ve stuck with my whole career. I mean, dating back to even when I was a Minor Leaguer when it comes to starting my offseason workouts, what those workouts entail, building up to get my body ready for Spring Training. I think also I’ve been blessed with being a hypermobile guy, being very flexible. That helps so I can just focus on more the strength aspect. I think a lot of guys struggle with flexibility in professional sports and are always tight. I’ve never had that problem. I’ve always been very flexible and I just focus on the strength side of things."

Clippard said he had other offers, but that it was a phone call with manager Torey Lovullo a couple of days before he agreed to terms that sold him on the D-backs.

Soria figures to be the closer, although the team has said he will need to compete with Stefan Crichton for that role. As for Clippard, he is not concerned about when he pitches.

"[Being the closer] doesn’t mean too much, not at this point in my career," Clippard said. "I understand the value in being a bridge guy and covering maybe multiple innings and coming in with guys on base in the sixth inning and being able to face some lefties and I can do a lot of different things. I understand the value in that."

Roster moves
In addition to putting Clippard on the 40-man roster, the D-backs reinstated right-hander Luis Frías from the injured list.

In order to clear spots for the pair, the D-backs designated lefty Travis Bergen and righty Keury Mella for assignment.

Four-legged friend
The D-backs had a guest in camp Friday as vice president of research and development, Mike Fitzgerald, brought his dog, Kobe, to the ballpark.

Kobe got to run around in the outfield during batting practice and also made himself at home inside the facility.

"He's like a little team mascot," Lovullo said. "He's Fitzy's dog and he brings him around every once in a while, and he's become a team favorite. There's a lot of room and he can roam around here in this incredible facility and he brought him out to watch a little BP today. He's good dog and everybody appreciates their time with him."

Gallen to start (spring) opener
Zac Gallen will get the starting nod when the D-backs open Cactus League play against the Rockies on Sunday at Salt River Fields.

Spring Training games through March 13 can be five innings, seven innings or nine innings upon mutual agreement of both managers, but the D-backs and Rockies plan to play eight innings Sunday.