Brad Boxberger led the American League with 41 saves for the Rays in 2015, but he missed 115 days due to groin surgery and later an oblique injury in 2016. A strained lat muscle then cost him about three months to start 2017. He returned to post his best ERA (3.38) since 2014. It came with rebounds in strikeouts, with his 12.3 K/9 up from 8.1 in 2016, and walks, to a 3.4 per nine, respectable for a K-happy reliever. The right-hander posted his best percentage of pitches in the strike zone (51.2 percent) since 2014, which shows he gained confidence working around the plate. Home runs still bug him -- he's allowed at least 1.11 per nine in the last five years -- and Chase Field may make matters worse in that regard. However, his arrival with the Diamondbacks rejuvenates hope for a return to closing duties. Archie Bradley and Jimmie Sherfy represent significant his biggest road blocks to the ninth inning.
Boxberger agreed to a one-year, $1.85 million deal with the Diamondbacks on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Robert Murray of FanRagSports.com reports. Boxberger, who was dealt to Arizona in November from Tampa Bay, receives a slight raise over the $1.6 million he made last year in his first arbitration season. The key for the 29-year-old righty is health, as he has missed a good chunk of time in each of the last two seasons. When healthy, he should act as a bridge to presumed closer Archie Bradley, and could even get into the ninth inning mix if Bradley struggles.
Boxberger was traded to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Curtis Taylor on Thursday. Boxberger will provide an immediate boost to Arizona's bullpen after accumulating a 3.38 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 29.1 innings with the Rays last season. The right-hander missed the first half of this past year with an back injury, but didn't seem to be bothered by the ailment once he returned to the mound in late June. Looking ahead, it remains to be seen how the Diamondbacks will utilize Boxberger, but he's expected to appear in high-leverage situations for the club in 2018.
Boxberger (4-4) picked up the win in Friday's 7-0 victory over the Orioles, firing a scoreless fifth inning in which he recorded a strikeout. The hard-throwing reliever now has six straight scoreless efforts and is closing out the season on a high note. Factoring in Friday's outing, Boxberger's ERA for the month is down to 1.08, as he's allowed just one earned run in 8.1 innings across eight September appearances.
Boxberger fired a scoreless fifth inning in Tuesday's 6-1 loss to the Yankees, allowing a hit and recording a strikeout. Boxberger has been perfect save for one outing in September, and he's now compiled five consecutive scoreless efforts. The 29-year-old right-hander has been reasonably effective after a late start to his season due to a back injury, although a trio of outings in which he's surrendered multiple earned runs has helped lead to a somewhat bloated 3.62 ERA. Boxberger's ability to miss bats remains intact, however, as he's compiled 37 whiffs over 27.1 innings.
Boxberger gave up two earned runs on a hit and a walk over two-thirds of an inning in Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the Royals. He also recorded a strikeout. The right-handed reliever was charged with two of the runs that crossed the plate on Eric Hosmer's three-run shot off Dan Jennings after Boxberger had exited. It marked the second consecutive outing in which Boxberger has surrendered two earned runs. The pair of stumbles have caused the 29-year-old's ERA to balloon from 2.84 to 4.50, but his 23 strikeouts over 20 innings are helping to keep him a viable fantasy asset.