BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Tyler Clippard really enjoys his job, and he genuinely loves his new Diamondback teammates.
In watching Clippard during his first week of workouts at Salt River Fields, you could tell he’s bringing something special to the table, just by how hard he hustled and the smile he had on his face every single day at work.
“I do man,” Clippard said of having fun during Spring Training. “It’s just fun. It’s fun getting out with the guys, (and) it’s fun to have fun. I think, a lot of times, especially with the younger guys in Spring Training, they’re out here, they’re trying to make the club, they’re running hard all around the field, but at the same time, I just want to lighten the mood up for everybody, and give it a fun feel sometimes. We can take ourselves too seriously at times, so trying to get out there and make everybody loose.”
Clippard was one of three pitchers the Diamondbacks brought in via free agency; the other two being Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. Like Greinke and Miller, Clippard’s résumé is pretty stacked. In his nine year Major League career, Clippard’s posted a .191 opponent average, 2.88 ERA, 53 saves, 158 holds and a 1.09 WHIP in 489 games.
In other words, you put Clippard in any type of relief situation, and he’ll get the job done.
“We’ve said it from the time we signed him (Clippard), the depth is what we needed,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “Not the if he does this, or if he does that; we know he’s done it, and we know he’s pitched in 69, 70, 71 games a year for a while, and he’s used to it, not only on the mound, but in the bullpen. He told us the first night we met him that he’s really excited about helping the bullpen, (and) helping mentor the young guys. Those are huge things.”
It was hard for Clippard to look past the Diamondbacks when he hit the free agent market. The team did a +15 in wins from the 2014 season, their front office department is one of the best in baseball, and the team managed to snag Greinke and Miller, who will be two of their top three starters this season.
Really, what more can a team do to entice someone like Clippard to jump on the locomotive?
“The amount of baseball knowledge that is in this clubhouse is second to none,” Clippard said. “I don’t know too many organizations that have what we have over here, so I feel like that’s pretty special. As far as Spring Training, and the things we’re doing, the game of baseball hasn’t changed, so the things we’re doing are very similar as far as what I’m used to. We’re just kind of getting our legs under us. Everybody’s really buying into everything that we’re preaching, and the direction that we’re headed, and it’s very exciting.”