PHOENIX -- The D-backs added to their bullpen Thursday by acquiring right-hander Brad Boxberger from the Rays in exchange for Minor League right-hander Curtis Taylor."Going into the offseason, we knew we needed to focus on supplementing the bullpen, adding to the back end of the bullpen specifically," D-backs general manager
PHOENIX -- The D-backs added to their bullpen Thursday by acquiring right-hander Brad Boxberger from the Rays in exchange for Minor League right-hander Curtis Taylor.
"Going into the offseason, we knew we needed to focus on supplementing the bullpen, adding to the back end of the bullpen specifically," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said. "And we feel like he fits all that stuff for us. He has the ability to close, he has the ability to pitch in late/leverage roles and we still maintain our flexibility in terms of who else we may add to the bullpen. We think he's an important piece."
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D-backs relievers comibined for a 3.78 ERA in 2017, which was the fifth best in the Majors. Closer Fernando Rodney is a free agent, and while the club is still keeping in touch with him, they are taking a flexible approach to building the bullpen, much like they did last offseason.
In Boxberger and Archie Bradley, Arizona has a pair of arms to pitch in high-leverage situations, but neither player precludes them from re-signing Rodney if the contract terms are right, or picking up another potential closer.
Boxberger, 29, posted his best season in 2015, when he led the American League with 41 saves.
Injuries limited Boxberger to 27 games in 2016 and 30 in '17, but he finished last season strong in compiling a 0.96 ERA over his final nine appearances.
"He finished the season healthy, and we obviously went through a full medical check and we feel good about it," Hazen said.
Boxberger is eligible for salary arbitration, and according to projections by MLBTradeRumors.com, he could earn $1.9 million, which was one of the reasons the Rays dealt him.
The D-backs have control of Boxberger through the 2019 season.
Taylor, 22, was Arizona's fourth-round Draft pick in 2016 and was ranked as the club's No. 14 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com.
Taylor's 2017 season with Class A Kane County was cut short when he sustained a right shoulder impingement in mid-July. At the time of the injury, Taylor was 3-4 with a 3.32 ERA.
"He's got a great arm and he was obviously a high pick, but we know that in a trade like this, to get a controllable reliever like Brad, that we were going to have to give up something pretty good," Hazen said. "We have Brad for two years so we feel good about the control there."
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Although the D-backs have dominant righty Bradley (1.73 ERA in 2017) in the bullpen and could also choose to bring back Rodney, Boxberger is among the favorites to handle closing duties for the club based on his past experience. The righty has not picked up a save in the past two seasons, but he led the AL with 41 saves in '15. If he receives the opportunity to lock down the ninth inning in '18, Boxberger would carry relevance in all fantasy leagues.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.