It’s that wonderful time of year again where the weather is getting warmer and spring training baseball is inching closer to returning to Roger Dean Stadium. With it this year, the return of players to the field and fans to the bleachers will also bring an auspicious group of talented young men vying to either either make it back to the majors or to make their first MLB squad in 2017. Here is a look at some of the Marlins’ talent hoping to impress this spring training.
1 – Drew Steckenrider, RHP
Steckenrider owns a feel good story, one of determination and perserverence that makes him an extremely easy guy to root for. After a mediocre start to his career in which he threw primarily as a starter to the tune of a 4.01 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP between short season and low A, the Marlins’ eighth round pick in the 2012 Draft went down with an injury to his throwing elbow and missed the bulk of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season. After Tommy John surgery and 18 months on the shelf, Steckenrider returned in 2015. That year, between Greensboro and Jupiter, he traded off throwing both in starts and in relief. In 58.1 IP as a starter, he had a 3.56 ERA by way of a 1.48 WHIP. Looks good on the forefront but most of that success came with the Grasshoppers and competition much younger than the then 24-year-old. As a member of the Hammerheads, even though he was throwing in one of the biggest pitchers’ parks in the minors, Steckenrider got touched up for a 4.41 ERA by way of a nasty 1.71 WHIP and .284 BAA. As a Hammerheads’ reliever throwing in nearly the same amount of innings that he threw as a starter (24 in relief vs 32.2 in the rotation), Steckenrider stifled the most mature competition he’s ever faced, holding down a 1.50 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and a .239 BAA while striking out 14 and walking seven.
Based off those numbers and the fact that he was just a season removed from a potentially career ending injury, the Marlins provided Steckenrider with some stability, putting him the in the much less physically strenuous bullpen full-time in order to safeguard and prolong the life of his potentially very live arm. With his mind at ease regarding just what exactly his role on the team was, Steckenrider shined in throwing exclusively out of the pen in 2016. Following a near perfect ten inning start in Jupiter in which he didn’t allow a run and posted a 17/2 K/BB while allowing just two hits, Steckenrider was called up to AA. He spent most of the season there, tossing 30.1 innings and holding hitters to a .120 BA, a mark which led the Southern League (among pitchers with at least 30 IP) and a 0.73 WHIP which was second in the Southern League. He also successfully converted all six of his save opportunities.
After facing the prospect of figuring out life after baseball two seasons previous, Steckenrider ended 2016 pitching at the highest level of Minor League Baseball. For the AAA Zephyrs, he converted seven more saves in seven chances, running his season total to 14 in 15 chances.
Following the season in which he was named an organizational All-Star, Steckenrider took his talents to the Arizona Fall League where he continued to impress. In 10 games and 13 IP, Steckenrider posted a 15/4 K/BB and a 1.23 WHIP and collected three more saves while pitching against some of baseball’s top prospects. He was also one of three pitchers to contribute to the Mesa Solar Sox’s combined no hitter on November 1, just the third no-no in the 25-year history of the AFL.
As Steckenrider confided to Today’s Knuckleball, the sense of stability the Marlins gave him in 2015 when they moved him from the dreaded swing man role to a full-time relief role has made all the difference.
“I would start, and then I’d do my arm care stuff, but then I’d be out in the bullpen a few days later, which, I would never get the recovery, and I never got the rhythm and the bounce-back time,” Steckenrider admitted about his difficult role in 2015. “It was really hard to have success. But this year, I finally got into that consistent role in the back end of the bullpen, and I earned my spot back there early. It was nice because I stayed there all year, but I also got into a good routine with the trainers and strength coaches, and that kept me healthy and on the field.”
The lanky 6’5″, 215 Steckenrider shortens his distance to the plate with an overwhelming smooth delivery especially for a guy with limbs as long as his and heat as fiery. He maintains his looseness well through his quick stretch delivery right up until the point where his arm starts going forward from his full arm circle windup. All the way through his delivery, he remains straight up and down and manages not to fall off to either side of the plate. In short, although simple, it is a mechanically fantastic delivery for a guy his build. Steckenrider’s go-to pitch is a fastball that usually ranges from 95-98 but can touch triple digits and has great late run to the corners. Since becoming a full-time late inning reliever, he has simplified his approach and doesn’t feature his breaking stuff a lot in favor of attacking with the heat but he will attempt to get guys to chase and offset the fastball in equal or positive counts with an 82-83 MPH 10-6 slider. With good feel for the pitch, the late breaker is is a great compliment to his heat and generates an equal rate of swings and misses. Steckenrider can also throw a 83-86 MPH changeup but with little fade and an inconsistent arm slot release, it’s the least developed of his pitches.
Sticking to his bread and butter, the heater and slide piece combo, Steckenrider has revitalized a career that once was on life support. He heads into spring training this year with a shot at making the Marlins’ bullpen. While he will have to do battle with the likes of more proven talent such as Brian Ellington, Hunter Cervenka and Jake Esch, don’t count Steckenrider out for a spot on the Opening Day roster this season.
Anderson, a Marlins’ 2014 fourth round draft pick, heads into 2017 as Miami’s top positional prospect. He earns that title after a .265/.348/.389 2016 campaign. After getting off to a .302/.377/.440 start with the Hammerheads, Anderson made the difficult jump to AA. In 86 games, he slammed eight homers, bettered only by two other Jacksonville Suns. He also appeared, as evidenced by collective 1.67 K/BB (including a 59/36 K/BB with the Suns) to temper the strikeout woes that hampered him in 2015 when he K’d 109 times to just 40 walks (2.275 K/BB). Improved plate vision and patience allowed the power hitter to get under and square up the ball much more often as shown by a 0.76 GB/FB rate as opposed to the 1.03 mark he posted in ’15 and the fact that he collected 128 hits, most in the organization. At the end of the year, he was named the Marlins’ Minor League Player of the Year. Despite all of these positives and accolades all of which he showed while making the hardest jump there is to make in the minors, Anderson was critical of his .243/.330/.359 tenure with the Suns, equating it to nerves and the stress he put on himself to succeed right away and with that initial high-tension situation out of the way, promised bigger things in 2017.
“Any time you jump a level you want to instantly have an impact,” said Anderson. “That’s kind of what happened with me. I went up there and put a lot of pressure on myself to perform really well. You just have to take a step back and realize that it’s baseball, it’s a game, you’ve been playing it your whole life.”
Anderson gave a sneak-peak and what those bigger things will be in the Arizona Fall League. In 22 games and 77 ABs, Anderson lit the AFL ablaze by hitting a league-most five homers with a .273/.360/506 slash line numbers which ranked right up on the offensive leader boards with some of baseball’s top prospects such as the Indians’ Bradley Zimmer, BaseballAmerica’s #31, the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres, #41, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, #54. His .866 OPS was fifth in the AFL and his .234 ISO ranked third. Anderson ended his 2016 tenure with the Solar Sox by going 2-4 and smacking his sixth homer of the campaign to help Mesa to the league championship crown.
Anderson is a third baseman by trade and is extremely athletic making him good for the occasional spectacular play. However, his 6’3″, 185 pound frame along with his inaccurate throwing arm that was the primary culprit in him racking up 27 total errors last year and 18 in 2015 make him a much better fit at the other corner.
While Anderson will need to continue his positive development in the upper minors to start 2017, his successful 2016 campaign along with his showing in the AFL definitely has him in very good standing with the organization. With a good showing in spring training and continued success with the Shrimp, Anderson could put himself in the running for an MLB debut this year, especially if the Marlins follow through with not signing a lefty hitting platoon partner for Justin Bour in favor of carrying an extra reliever. Last year, Anderson hit lefties at a .303/.370/.500 clip.
Riddle, the Marlins’ 13th rounder from 2013 comes into 2017 as the club’s ninth best prospect. He earns that title after a .276/.326/.366 campaign in 389 ABs with the Suns followed by a .268/.281/.357 15 game tenure in AAA to end the year. The 25-year-old has had success in every level he has played at. His .274/.318/.369 career bat has helped negate the fact that he entered the majors as a 22-year-old following a three-year college career at the University of Kentucky in which he slashed .283/.358/.384. He has extremely quick bat speed within his snappy line drive approach, which allows him to limit Ks as he fights off tough pitches (he boasts a an above average 14% K rate for his career) but he does need to improve his patience and career walk rate of just 6% in order to become every day starting material.
What puts Riddle in the conversation to be an every day contributor to an MLB lineup someday soon despite owning a slightly above average career MiLB .274 BA and .687 OPS at age 25 is the fact that he is a wizard defensively. In regards to middle infield prospects, Riddle is perhaps one of the best in baseball. In 2020.1 MiLB innings at shortstop, Riddle has made just 34 errors and posted a 4.17 career range factor. He is equally as good at second base, the position he played most in college and in which he has been at fault for just one single error in 262.2 career minor league innings. Riddle boasts equally as impressive range at second via a 4.13 range factor. His arm which has been clocked as high as 93 MPH as well as his ability to make fantastic reads off the bat also give him eligibility at third base and all three outfield positions. Should Riddle improve his plate vision and learn to work counts a bit better, he lines up as an elite defender with average offensive skills and speed, exemplary of a bottom of the order catalyst advantageous to turning the lineup back over. At the very least, his glove already makes him a more than solid defensive replacement. Thanks to his flexibility and prowess at a range of defensive positions, with a good showing this spring and continued improvement in New Orleans, Riddle could make his major league debut later this year.
4 – Tayron Guerrero, RHP
Guerrero, the organization’s 26th best prospect, came to the Marlins as a secondary piece in the Andrew Cashner trade but may prove to be the only valuable piece the Marlins get out of it. That is if Guerrero can iron out one big issue: body control. Once a tall lanky arms and legs guy, Guerrero bulked up, going from 170 pounds to 210 pounds in a single offseason. While the extra poundage and muscle turned his once mediocre 86 MPH fastball ranking 45-50 on the 30-80 scale into a sizzling 95 MPH offering with the ability to reach triple digits, giving it a 65-70 rating, the same problems he’s had since the beginning of his career in keeping his long extremities under his control have persisted. This stems from a herky-jerky delivery that holds little to no fluidity and fluctuating unstable release points. Guerrero has showed flashes of a successful late inning reliever at times offsetting his straight and narrow fastball with a good late sweeping out pitch slider but his inability to stay consistent is what has kept him out of MLB bullpens and instead mired in the minors.
Albeit in a tiny sample of 14 IP, Guerrero has had a good start to his Marlins’ organizational career, tossing to the tune of a 1.93 ERA by way of a 1.00 WHIP and .212 BAA but aside from the fact that it was at the AA level, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Guerrero’s career has been a roller coaster that has seen him go from showing the make up of a good closer only to regress back to him barely being worthy of a spot in AAA. That trend reared its ugly head again this past year. After the aforementioned solid start with the Suns, he went to the Dominican Winter League and allowed eight runs in 3.2 IP.
The reason why Guerrero makes this list despite his struggles is that when he has been on, he has resembled Carter Capps, whom, along with slugger Josh Naylor, the Marlins gave up in the trade that brought Guerrero and Cashner to Miami. With a short distance to go to the plate, a downhill delivery, some of the hottest heat in the league and a great slider that he tilts and commands well to the corners when he’s going good, if Guerrero finds his consistency, he could become a mainstay at the back of the bullpen and could at least partially Band-Aid another woeful Marlins trade that saw one of their bullpen anchors as well as a budding young power hitter go away in favor of 11 rental starts worth of a 5.98 ERA, provided by Cashner before he himself left town for Texas this offseason.
Even if Guerrero has a lights out spring, he likely won’t make the club out of camp, but by making a positive impact and getting off to a steady start in AAA, Guerrero could be a candidate to join what is shaping up to be an eight man Marlins bullpen later this year. At 25, it is pretty much make it or break it time for Guerrero. Despite not being able to find his groove on the mound on a regular basis, Guerrero has always been a fierce competitor. So, struggles aside, I wouldn’t count him out to finally put it all together and break through this season.
5 – Jarlin Garcia, LHP
Garcia is a 24-year-old 6’3″, 215 pound lefty in his seventh year in the Marlins’ organization. He came to the Fish as an international signee out of the Dominican in 2011 and impressed early in his pro career, tossing 52.0 3.29 ERA innings in his native country then coming to the US and adjusting to stateside ball very quickly and easily, tossing a very similar 40.0 innings worth of 3.60 ERA ball. He continued to fly through the minors in 2013, posting a 3.10 ERA in 69.2 innings with Batavia, by way of a 1.09 WHIP. His 74 strikeouts that year were fifth most in the New York Penn League and his K/BB% of 19.7% was second best. Garcia took a step back in adjusting to full season ball but was still a fairly decent 4.38 ERA in by far the most extensive season of his baseball career and more than double the innings he pitched the year previous. However, by being the best control pitcher in the Sally proven by the fact that he struck out the league’s tenth most batters, 111, and walked its fewest hitters, 21 thereby posting its best overall K/BB of 5.29%, Garcia was able to erase a high .280 BAA by posting a 1.29 WHIP, 12th lowest in the Sally. Because of the amazing authority he had over his arsenal, Garcia’s heightened .332 BABIP and even more decent than his ERA, 3.77 FIP as well as being honored with a Futures’ Game selection that season tells us he once again pitching like a top prospect worthy of a call to the next level. Garcia got that call at the beginning of the year in 2015 and got off to a 3.06, 1.227 WHIP, 3.00 K/BB% start in 97 innings with the Hammerheads before receving yet another callup to AA. Making the tough jump and pitching against competition an average of three years older than him, Garcia struggled in seven Suns’ starts. However, stats aside, backed by the fact that the Marlins added him to the 40-man at the time of his Jacksonville call-up, Garcia had successfully put himself on the radar to make his MLB debut sometime in the very near future, perhaps as early as 2016.
However, that season, Garcia’s progression would take a very unfortunate step back. After getting a peak in spirng training and after 35.2 innings of 4.04 ERA ball with 25/9 K/BB, the Marlins called Garcia, a starter, up to the bigs in order for him to apparently help an injury-riddled bullpen only to leave him sitting on the bench for the next eight days. Upon his return to the minors, Garcia’s first start lasted two innings. The control-first pitcher only threw 29 of his 45 pitches for strikes. In his second start, he was removed in the third inning after allowing four runs. Five days later, it was revealed that Garcia had a triceps injury and he was placed on the DL retroactive to his first outing back with the Suns.
After missing nearly three full months, Garcia returned to the mound on a rehab stint in the Gulf Coast League preceding him ending his season with the Hammerheads. In those 10 innings against talent below his level, he allowed just one run and held down an 11/1 K/BB. Following the MiLB season’s end, Garcia continued his rehab first in the Arizona Fall League then in the Dominican League where he posted a combined 3.56 ERA in 20.2 IP with a 14/5 K/BB and a 1.18 WHIP. He enters spring training this season as a guy who is still on the Marlins’ radar by way of him being their number three prospect and one of the best control arms in the entire organization but at 24 on his way back from a serious arm injury, he may be destined for the bullpen which is a bit depressing considering Garcia’s ceiling when he came into the professional ranks.
Still, even if Garcia doesn’t start, he can provide great value to a bullpen by way of his four quality above-average pitches and the control he has over all of them. Throwing from a delivery incredibly smooth from a guy of his 6’3″, 215 pound build. Where he deceives hitters best is on his follow-through which he explodes into after the aforementioned slow methodical windup which itself comes after a slow methodical look-in to his catcher and pace of play as he owns the mound and gets inside the mind of his opposition. His snappy follow-through and size allow him to generate easy low-mid 90s velo which at times can go higher. Garcia’s best breaking pitch is his changeup which is shows a good velo drop off of at least 10 MPH from his heat. Usually sitting in the 80-82 MPH range and shows good fade and depth. Garcia’s third pitch curve is a more average pitch which he struggles with the release point of because of his aforementioned ramped up follow-through but which he has shown the ability to throw with good downward bite. The fourth pitch slider is Garcia’s least developed pitch. He doesn’t have a great feel for it but he does run it well away from hitters at times giving it good mix-in value.
While Garcia’s future as a rotation piece is in doubt due the fact that he needs to develop a lot more command in a short period of time, he is still a guy that, based on his control alone, could provide solid innings eating relief help out of the bullpen. It’s doubtful he makes the squad in any capacity out of camp, but he is a guy to watch this spring and in the minors thereafter as he tries to get back on track after being bitten by the injury bug last year. A fierce competitor as shown by the fact that he played as much as he could at two different levels basically all offseason long trying to put the missed time behind him, I wouldn’t put it past Garcia to return with a fire lit under him this year.
Just before the trade deadline, the Marlins went all in on their wild card hopes by making a trade which mortgaged two big pieces of their distant future and one piece of their present in an attempt to sure up their rotation as they look toward October.
Their trade partner was down-and-out San Diego who received former Marlins first round draft pick Josh Naylor and arguably the best arm in Miami’s minor league system, Luis Castillo, making an already thin organization very much thinner. In addition to giving up two of their best young commodities, Miami also parted with their best reliever at the MLB level from last year, Carter Capps who underwent Tommy John before the season began. Jarred Cosart, whom the Marlins previously traded another of their top prospects for in Colin Moran, also goes back to San Diego.
The return? Two starting pitchers who, combined, contributed dismal numbers this year as members of the Padres’ rotation, including a 4.89 ERA and a 2.31 WHIP. Those hurlers are 26-year-old Colin Rea who hasn’t been effective at any point in his career above AA (4.88 ERA over 27.2 AAA IP, 4.69 ERA over 134.1 MLB IP) and 29-year-old Andrew Cashner who was last effective as starter in 2014 and who has already been to the DL twice this season. A C-type prospect at best in Tayron Guerrero, a 25-year-old reliever who has a 5.30 ERA between AA and AAA this year comes back as a throw in. In other words, the Marlins picked from the bottom of the barrel while giving up the some of the best of their future talent. In even more words, they got fleeced by the Padres.
Josh Naylor came to the Marlins system in 2015 as their first round draft pick. Upon being selected and signing out of his Southern California high school, he was invited to take batting practice at Marlins Park (the version that still hadn’t brought the walls in to where they are currently). He accepted the invitation and responded to it by hitting baseballs nearly out of the stadium.
After that, Naylor took his talents to the Gulf Coast league where he spent the rest of 2015 racking up the third most RBIs and fifth most total bases on his team despite only appearing in 25 games. He placed second on the team (amongst those with at least 20 games played) with a .418 slugging percentage and second on the team in batting average at .327. This year, in his first year of full season ball, including a .326/.348/.442 July, Naylor has kept himself busy by punishing Sally League pitching to the tune of a .269/.317/.430 line and leading the team in homers (9), RBI (54) and doubles (24), totals which also rank ninth, tenth and and sixth in the league. His .430 SLG also leads all Grasshoppers players with over 40 games played. To this point in his career, he has been more of a doubles threat than a home run threat but at just 19, there is plenty of room for Naylor to grow physically into his frame. Strength and conditioning will be key for Naylor on his way up through the minors. If he can succeed in that area, there should be no reason why Naylor can’t turn in to a more fit and offensively affective Prince Fielder. Technically, Naylor is pretty sound with just a few hitches in his swing. He adjusts to pitch speed well and has the ability to attack pitches on both sides of the palte, though he favors the pull variety of hitting. He maintains looseness in his hands very well until he commits to a swing which he times with a small front foot trigger. He steps into the ball advantageously. His swing has been described as a thing of violent beauty. I am of the opinion that the swing is a bit too aggressive as he tends to fly open a bit on it and at times lose his balance. He also frequently releases the bat before his swing is through, often leading to weaker contact. However, all of those small hitches are things that should work themselves out with age and experience. When it comes to speed, there isnt much to speak of but he sure can jog the bases beautifully and, should his power potential play out, that’s all he will need to do. Defensively, Naylor leaves a bit to be desired at first base, having committed 11 errors this season and only holding a 9.37 range factor. But, after spending a lot of his high school career DHing, that is to be expected. Again, as is the case with his plate approach, with more experience and innings at the corner infield spot, Naylor, forever the athletic athlete, should improve. Should he age successfully before reaching the majors in what most forsee to be 2019, Naylor could wind up being a more athletic and possibly more powerful version of Price Fielder.
In addition to his strong on-field product, Naylor, still just 19, is already bringing an always positive vibe to the clubhouse, which is making his team rally around him, something that will be missed in the Grasshoppers’ clubhouse for the rest of this year and another aspect of Naylor’s game that the Marlins won’t be reaping the benefits of.
“He’s usually one that likes to have fun in the clubhouse especially with (Anfernee) Seymour and myself so it was a little more quiet today,” Grasshoppers’ infielder Giovanny Alfonzo said the day after the trade. “It’s a little weird not having him around.”
If you frequent this blog and my Twitter, you know how high I have been on Hammerheads’ starter Luis Castillo. And if you have had the pleasure of watching him pitch, you know why. Luis Miguel Castillo, a native of Bani, Dominican Republic, came to American pro ball in 2012 as an international signee by the Giants. Following two seasons in the Domincan summer league, including a spectacular 2013 campaign in which he held down a 0.64 ERA in 28 IP, converted 20/22 save ops which lead the league, and struck out 34 while walking just three as the DSL Giants’ closer, Castillo joined full season ball in 2014 for the Augusta Greenjackets. Out of their pen, he managed a 3.07 ERA in 52 IP. Again, the K/BB was fantastic as he K’d 66 to just 25 walks. His six holds tied him for his team’s lead and his 10 saves in 12 chances ranked second. Castillo came to the Marlins following that season as the lesser-known prospect in the trade that sent Casey McGehee to San Francisco for himself and center piece Kendry Flores. As things are turning out, Castillo looks to be the more valuable long-term piece. In addition to Flores who has already spent time in the majors, it is safe to say the Marlins absolutely fleeced the Giants in that trade only to get fleeced themselves in this one.
Following a disappointing initial start to his Marlins career which saw him clinging to a 4.40 ERA in his first 30.2 IP, the Marlins took Castillo out of the pen and made him a starter even though he had only tossed four complete innings once in his career and that being back in his first season in the DSL. He responded by going 4 innings in back to back starts allowing one total ER before going at least 5 in his next five starts in which he held opposing offenses to less than 1.99 runs per game. The Marlins knew then they had something special in Castillo and they rewarded him with a promotion to high A. He finished last year by tossing to the tune of a 3.50 ERA in 43.2 IP and nine starts for the Hammerheads that season. This year, back with the Sharks, all Castillo has managed to do is become quite possibly the best pitcher in the Florida State League, ranking amongst it’s leaders in every major stat category. His 0.97 WHIP ranks second, his 2.23 ERA ranks fourth, his 86 strikeouts rank 10th, and his 16 walks are tied for third least (amongst those with at least 80 IP).
You wouldn;t know it to look at the wiry 6’2″ 170 pounder but Castillo has the ability to reach triple digits with his heat which he has improved from last year to this. The formerly flat offering has shown some added downward plane movement. He also isn’t afraid to throw it to both sides of the black, making it both a great first pitch or piggyback pitch to the change. That offering, which he holds with a splitfinger grip, is Castillo’s best pitch. Sitting around 87-89, the late drop on this pitch is reminiscent of a roller coaster and is absolutely filthy. The pitch flashes fastball for 50 feet then drops off the table within the last ten, leaving hitters dumbfounded. He has great feel for the pitch and can run it both inside and outside with good fade. His third pitch slider is of the slurvy variety and usually hangs around the 82-84 MPH range though he has such control of his arm speed to drop it down even lower than that. The pitch tilts hard and has good late bite. He uses it as a change of pace pitch, sometimes mixing it in in between the fastball/changeup combo but usually uses it ahead in the count. He could use to develop a fourth pitch but with great control of all three of his present pitches, all of which flash plus and a head for when to throw them, he doesn’t really need to in order to succeed. Castillo could and probably should be pitching in AA right now and, if he continues to show what he has this year in the upper levels of the minors, could contribute to a big league club as earlhy as next season as a 3-5 starter with potential to become even more. For a Marlins club that has very few in house pitching options like him in the minors and which has struggled keeping the back end of their rotation from being a revolving door this year, this is a huge loss.
UPDATE: After Colin Rea left his first start with the Marlins after 4 IP with shoulder discomfort and went on the DL the next day, the Padres agreed to send Castillo back to the Marlins in a very rare trade back. Although he passed his physical, one has to question whether the Padres knew of Rea possibly having health issues before the trade and the trade back was simply to save face with the league if they were investigated which very well could happen. In any regard, it’s great to have Castillo back.
Although it is disheartening to me to lose both Naylor and Castillo, quite possibly the most maddening aspect of this trade is the inclusion of Carter Capps for nothing more than a fistful of dollars. Capps, the Marlins’ best reliever from last year, underwent Tommy John in the offseason and is out for the season. Even though that procedure now carries an 80% success rate, the Marlins, who again have struggled mightily in middle and late relief for years, thought parting with Capps, who has one of the most hard to hit deliveries, a back leg foot drag which shortens the distance to the plate by 10 feet, along with high 90s velo, as nothing more than an inclusion to a trade in order to bring some sort of semblence of cash back in order to pay the rest of Cashner’s $7.15 million salary was a good idea. As of right now, instead of setting up with the 26-year-old Capps next year and quite possibly for the long term, that job will fall to a 39-year-old Fernando Rodney, making the Marlins’ pen even more of a revolving door.
In short, with the return being very little of an upgrade over in house options such as Phelps and Urena, this trade screams that the Marlins made it just to make a move. It also came at the price of two pieces that could be mainstays on their roster within the next two years and in return get a near 30-year-old rental starter (he’s a free agent next year) who has been average at best. I disliked when the Marlins traded Moran to the Astros for Cosart; I dislike this move even more.