The Red Sox improved their overworked bullpen early Saturday morning, making a trade for Arizona Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler.
Two Single A prospects, righthander Jose Almonte and infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe were sent to Arizona in the deal. The Sox are responsible for the approximately $2.51 million remaining on Ziegler’s contract through the end of this season. He will then be a free agent.
The deal came about three hours after Red Sox manager John Farrell said the team did not have righthanded relievers Craig Kimbrel and Junichi Tazawa available to pitch on Friday night.
Kimbrel injured his left knee running before the game and Tazawa has not pitched since Sunday because of a sore shoulder. Their status is uncertain.
Arizona played in San Francisco on Friday. Ziegler told reporters after the game that he expected to join the Red Sox on Saturday in time for their 4:05 p.m. game against Tampa Bay.
Ziegler, 36, has had career-long success since making his major league debut in 2008 with Oakland. He has a 2.49 earned run average and 1.23 WHIP with only 22 home runs allowed in 567 innings.
A sidearm delivery has made Ziegler a difficult matchup for righthanded hitters. He has held righthanders to a .224 batting average and miniscule .556 OPS. Ziegler also has playoff experience, albeit only two games for the Diamondbacks in 2011.
Ziegler is 2-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 36 appearances this season. He was leading the National League in double-play groundballs (10) and groundball to fly ball ratio (4.88) at the time of the trade. Ziegler has converted 18 saves in 20 chances.
Almonte, 20, was 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 10 starts for Low-A Greenville. He has a career 2.06 strikeout to walk ratio.
Basabe, 20, was hitting .311 for Greenville with 24 extra-base hits, 24 RBIs and 14 steals. He earned midseason All-Star honors in the South Atlantic League.
A switch-hitter who primarily plays second base, he is the twin brother of Greenville outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe.
Luis Alexander is considered a better prospect, but Luis Alejandro has so far had a better season.
To make room for Ziegler on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox transferred catcher/outfielder Blake Swihart to the 60-day disabled list. Swihart has been out since June 5 with a badly sprained left ankle.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and general manager Mike Hazen made three trades in approximately 32 hours.
They obtained infielder Aaron Hill from Milwaukee on Thursday evening before getting utility player Michael Martinez from Cleveland for cash considerations on Friday.
Now comes Ziegler. The top need — a trustworthy starting pitcher — remains unfulfilled. The non-waiver trade deadline is Aug. 1.