Former Sox relievers sign with Miami

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Junichi Tazawa drops the ball into his hand during the ninth inning of their 8-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals in a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

MIAMI (AP) — The perennially thrifty Miami Marlins have become big spenders in the late innings.

Two people familiar with the deal said right-hander Brad Ziegler agreed Friday to a $16 million, two-year contract with the Marlins, who added their second former Red Sox reliever in as many days.

The people confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it won’t be final until Ziegler passes a physical. The agreement came shortly after right-hander Junichi Tazawa finalized his $12 million, two-year contract with the Marlins.

Miami is hoping a deep bullpen will give manager Don Mattingly lots of options to help compensate for a rotation weakened by the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, killed in a boating accident in September.

“I’m very excited with how our bullpen looks,” said president of baseball operations Michael Hill, speaking before the Ziegler deal was confirmed. “We wanted to create as much depth and talent and versatility as we could, and give Donnie as many options as possible to potentially shorten the game.”

Tazawa’s acquisition came with an endorsement from Ichiro Suzuki, the Marlins’ outfielder and 3,000-hit club member. What was Suzuki’s scouting report on Tazawa, a fellow native of Japan?

“That he’s a very good pitcher and can help us,” Hill said. “He signed off, and that was good to know.”

Ziegler is a nine-year veteran with a career ERA of 2.44 and 85 saves. He has pitched for three teams, including Arizona and Boston last year.

Tazawa had been with the Red Sox since his rookie year in 2009, and has a career ERA of 3.58. Miami swung the deals for both pitchers after falling short in its pursuit of high-priced closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen.

“We know there’s competition for players,” Hill said. “You have a Plan A, but you have a Plan B, C and D to accomplish your goal.”

Ziegler is expected to compete with incumbent A.J. Ramos for the closer’s job. Tazawa should help compensate for the loss of left-hander Mike Dunn to Colorado in free agency.

“The goal is always to try to put together the deepest bullpen we can, and a bullpen with different looks and different ways to get people out,” Hill said. “With Junichi you see someone who has pitched in the very competitive American League East and has a varied repertoire of weapons to get hitters out.”

The Marlins have also acquired starting pitchers Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke this offseason, and they added A.J. Ellis as their backup catcher.

Miami designated right-hander Nefi Ogando for assignment to clear a roster spot.

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