07/31/11 8:15 PM ET
Ziegler trade marks A's lone shakeup
By Jane Lee / MLB.com
The move, which reeled in left-hander Jordan Norberto and first baseman Brandon Allen, marked the only shakeup of an A's team that for weeks was expected to make several trades. But by day's end, Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp and David DeJesus -- at the forefront of such talks -- remained in green and gold, a nod to GM Billy Beane's insistence on not purging his team just for the sake of trimming payroll.
Ziegler was an integral part of Oakland's bullpen since 2008, when he made his Major League debut and set a modern Major League record with a career-opening 39-inning scoreless streak. Since, he's compiled a 2.49 ERA, with 19 saves in 223 appearances for the A's, who avoided arbitration with him in the winter by way of a $1.25 million contract.
The 31-year-old sidearmer, who served as Oakland's player-union representative, was aware of the trade speculation that surrounded his name and was prepared for such a move. But he still appeared emotional as he addressed local media before saying his goodbyes to longtime A's fans and teammates.
Oakland initially signed Ziegler to a Minor league contract in 2004, after he was released by Philadelphia. A's pitching coach Ron Romanick is responsible for the hurler's successful conversion into a submariner.
"I'm excited, and also it is tough to leave here," Ziegler said. "I've been with the A's since 2004, so it's all I really know in pro ball, other than the short stint with the Phillies. I'm excited to jump into a pennant race, knowing that they gave up a couple guys that the A's are really high on, that the D-backs are really high on, too. I feel like I'm going into a situation where they appear to want me, where they appear to think I'm a piece to help them get over the top and, hopefully, make a playoff run in the last two months."
Arizona entered Sunday just 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants in the National League West. Oakland, meanwhile, stood 12 1/2 away from Texas in the American League West.
"Ziegler's been around here for awhile, and everybody knows him and likes him. And the one thing you feel good about is, he's going to a team that's in the race, right now," manager Bob Melvin said. "I'm sure all players appreciate the fact you get to be a part of the pennant race, and one that's a little closer than we're in right now. If there's any consolation in sending a guy off that you've grown close to as an organization, it's that."
Ziegler is set to join the D-backs on Monday across the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, so he planned to simply stay in his Bay Area apartment on Sunday night.
His former club is slated for a nine-game road trip spanning 11 days in Seattle, Tampa Bay and Toronto beginning on Monday. Norberto, who was 6-2 with one save and a 4.25 ERA in 41 appearances with Arizona's Triple-A club in Reno, will fill Ziegler's spot on the 25-man roster and join the A's for the Mariners series.
"I know, looking at the reports and numbers, Norberto is a guy with a high ceiling, throws real hard," Melvin said. "Command had been the issue in the past, and it looks like he's gotten under control. [He has] plus stuff and a power arm."
The 24-year-old Norberto, who is averaging 9.99 strikeouts per nine innings, transitioned to the bullpen in 2008, and is known to throw a mid-90s fastball while occasionally flashing a plus slider. His presence will give the A's four left-handed options in the bullpen. And with Ziegler out of the mix, Melvin said the club is considering a role promotion for right-hander Fautino De Los Santos, who has a 2.31 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 14 innings through nine appearances since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on July 1.
Allen, who was on Arizona's roster at the time of the trade, will land at Sacramento, Beane confirmed. He had just five hits in 29 at-bats for the D-backs, but three were home runs. He was hitting .306 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs in 83 games for Reno at the time of his promotion on July 15.
"Allen's a guy we've always liked," Beane said. "He's got power, walks and homers. He's pretty athletic for a guy his size. He's obviously a guy, at some point soon, we think is going to be a very good player for us. He's ready to take the next step. We'll let him sort of go through the growing pains of being a young player."
The A's also like the potential versatility he brings.
"One of the things we investigated was the possibility of him going to the outfield, and he is a good enough athlete [that], if we needed that, he could," Beane said. "But at some point, we're going to need a first baseman, a DH, some outfielders, so this is all part of that."
His arrival, which came a day after the A's were close to trading for Red Sox first-base prospect Lars Anderson, may prove that Oakland does not consider Daric Barton or Chris Carter a lock as the future at that position.
Slightly overwhelmed by the move, Allen still expressed a grateful attitude for the opportunity waiting in Oakland.
"That's the only way to go about it. Somebody wants you, somebody has been watching you and appreciates what you have to offer. And, hopefully, I can take something over there," Allen said.
To clear a spot on the 40-man roster in the wake of Sunday's moves, the A's transferred lefty Brett Anderson -- on the mend from Tommy John surgery -- to the 60-day disabled list.
Now that the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded to a team other than the club that claimed him. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, work out a trade or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.