"Koji's our closer," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And days when he's not going to be available, we've got Brad to turn to. But again, we've added a quality late-inning reliever. We'll have a chance to outline this more specifically to Brad when we meet face-to-face. But in a conversation early this morning after a game on the West Coast, that was briefly talked about. I think it's important to maintain some consistency late in the game, and that's why Koji is going to serve as our closer."
President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said the Red Sox were after Ziegler for a while. Thanks to a slew of factors falling into place at the right time, the deal for the righty was confirmed hours after Kimbrel's injury.
Dombrowski said the addition of Ziegler means the bullpen is set as the righty adds a facet of strength in the wake of Kimbrel's injury.
"Well, Ziegler's an established big league pitcher, at the back-end of the 'pen," Dombrowski said. "He's a different-looking guy for us. He's a guy that doesn't throw hard, but is a ground-ball machine. He's one of those guys that gets a lot of ground balls, a lot of double plays. Great makeup. You know that he won't bend under any circumstances."
The 36-year-old was acquired from the D-backs in exchange for two Minor League players -- right-hander Jose Almonte and infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe. Ziegler has 81 career saves, including 18 this season.
Farrell said he spoke to Ziegler and his shifting role in Boston's bullpen given Kimbrel's injury and setup man Junichi Tazawa's mild shoulder discomfort.
"A proven late-inning reliever," Farrell said of Ziegler. "We really like his arm slot, his contrast of styles as a sidearmer that has been very difficult on right-handed hitters. When you look at our division as we go forward, there's some predominantly right-handed-hitting lineups. Not only are we getting a proven late-inning reliever, but just the contrast of style and really the fit to the remaining guys in our bullpen is a very good one."
Ziegler went 2-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 36 appearances for Arizona this season. The righty struck out 27 batters and allowed only one home run over 38 1/3 innings. His career began in Oakland, where he pitched for parts of four seasons before being traded to the D-backs on July 31, 2011.
Farrell gave all the credit to Dombrowski's swift move of being able to cover spots the Red Sox are in need of in a timely matter.
"I think that's the one thing Dave has proven over the course of his career," Farrell said. "The proactiveness or recognizing what our current needs are and what we anticipate we'll need as we go forward is actions being taken.
"The one thing that is really uncanny with the three guys we acquired with Ziegler, [Aaron Hill] and now [Michael Martinez] is what's transpired on the field. We're adding a guy or three in this case, and unfortunately, we've been hit with the injury bug here quickly. Fortunately, we've got quality Major Leaguers to step in and fill those roles."
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.