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Diamondbacks, Rays interested in Tyler Clippard

Clippard is thought to be one of the better free agent relief options still available.

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays and Diamondbacks are among the clubs interested in signing free agent reliever Tyler Clippard late in the off-season, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale and Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times.

Since the market for relievers has developed significantly this point, it is notable Clippard is still available. However, Clippard's velocity has dropped a bit each season since 2013 and he had difficulty throwing strikes at times in 2015.

Some feel Clippard is still an option because he might not be completely healthy. Clippard was plagued by shoulder fatigue at the end of last season and has logged over 464 innings since 2010.

Although he was used consistently toward the end of the regular season, which likely caused the fatigue, Clippard has also proven to be one of the most durable relievers in baseball throughout the course of his career. He has never been on the disabled list and has not posted an ERA over four since 2008.

Clippard, 30, is known to be a fly ball pitcher and that trend continued last year, as his 60.6 percent fly ball rate was among the highest in the league.

The fact Clippard is still on the market could make some clubs hesitant when considering whether to add him. However, at this point in the off-season, interested teams might not have to pay as much for a top reliever like Clippard.

Tampa Bay's interest is significant because Clippard was born in Florida and would benefit from the fact the state does not have an income tax. The Rays could benefit from the addition of a late reliever, since the organization traded Kevin Jepsen to Minnesota and more recently Jake McGee to Colorado.

Heading into Spring Training, the Rays are set to have Brad Boxberger close games, with Alex Colome and Danny Farquhar serving as setup men. The addition of Clippard would add another top right-handed arm to the club's bullpen mix.

While the Rays could view signing Clippard as an opportunity to add depth, the Diamondbacks are known to be seeking a top reliever.

Diamondbacks General Manager Dave Stewart told The Arizona Republic the club is still open to exploring the free agent relief market. Stewart was asked about Clippard and said "that is a good name," and there are not many other late inning options for Arizona to consider.

By trading Aaron Hill to Milwaukee last weekend, the Diamondbacks saved about $4 million. The money saved could be used to sign Clippard in the coming days.

Multiple other clubs will likely discuss the possibility of adding Clippard. But if he truly is not completely healthy, he could remained unsigned through the start of Spring Training.