When in a flurry of moves the Washington Nationals signed Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester, and Hernan Perez, the jokes started flying about who the next Chicago Cubs player to migrate east was going to be. Well, the same can almost be said about former Nationals headed south and signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
First, the Diamondbacks claimed Taylor Guilbeau off waivers (from Washington via Seattle), before signing Asdrubal Cabrera. Now, they are in an agreement to bring Tyler Clippard back into the fold. Cippard spent most of the summer of 2016 in the desert with the D-Backs.
Former Nationals fan favorite, Tyler Clippard, has signed a contract to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Clippard’s time in Washington can be described as buy low-sell high, while having a whole lot of fun and reaping the rewards in between. He arrived with little fanfare and with little track record at the game’s highest level. In six games with the New York Yankees he had an ERA of 6.33. What he cost the Nationals was reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who had a much better 1.88 ERA in 14 games with the Nationals.
All told, Clip would spend seven years in a Nationals uniform. He would form a one-two late inning tandem with closer Matt Capps, known affectionately as Clip and Save. He was an All-Star in 2011, appearing in 72 games with an ERA south of 2.
Clippard became the closer part way through the 2012 season and did a decent job, converting 32 saves before ultimately resuming his set-up man routine to end the year and in the postseason. Growing frustrated with the team as he wanted to remain the team’s closer, even in years after, Clip continued to pitch very well.
A second All-Star appearance in 2014 made him highly sought after in the trade market and the Nats moved on when he was near the peak of his game. The return from the Oakland A’s was Yunel Escobar, who would hit .314 in his lone season in DC.
All told, Clip won 34 games, saved 34 games, and had an ERA of 2.88 in 414 career games with the Nationals. Since leaving, he has played for nine teams, ending one season and beginning another with the same team just once.
His time in Washington was filled with laughs and energy, Peaches and peering through goggles for the sign, a long lengthy frame and arms flailing with every pitch. Not often are fans excited about seeing a late inning reliever who isn’t the closer. They were for Tyler Clippard, however.