Marrero, who is closing in on his 29th birthday, was brought up recently to fill out the Miami roster. He has seen action in parts of five MLB campaigns but has never shown the spark with the bat that was anticipated when he was chosen in the first round of the 2012 draft.
- Marlins CEO Derek Jeter plans to travel to meet recently acquired shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm in the near future, he told reporters this week (link via David Wilson of the Miami Herald). However, it won’t be the first time that Jeter gets to see Chisholm play in person. Jeter saw the 21-year-old play in last year’s Arizona Fall League and said that Chisholm immediately caught his eye. “…[I]t took about three innings when I said, ’Who is that?'” Jeter recalled. “He’s someone that stood out on the field and obviously he has all the tools to be successful.” The Marlins made the risky play of dealing a Major League starter who can be controlled all the way through 2025, Zac Gallen, in order to acquire Chisholm from the Diamondbacks. Jeter, though, explained that the Marlins felt they were dealing from positions of depth when trading away Gallen, Trevor Richards, Nick Anderson, Sergio Romo and prospect Chris Vallimont. Those deals netted Chisholm and prospects Jesus Sanchez (Anderson, Richards) and Lewin Diaz (Romo, Vallimont) — adding some power upside to the organization.
- Marlins CEO Derek Jeter was non-committal about the idea of moving in the fences at Marlins Park for 2020, telling MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and other reporters that the organization would “maybe” consider such an idea. As Frisaro notes, Marlins Park has allowed the second-fewest home runs of any stadium in baseball since the start of the 2012 season (when the Miami ballpark opened), and while the Marlins’ oft-disappointing lineups have undoubtedly played a role in this power outage, players on all teams have been constantly bedeviled by the ballpark’s big dimensions.
“I’d love to be back, especially if they want you back,” said Mattingly, whose contract will expire at season’s end.
Marlins owner Derek Jeter acknowledged that Mattingly’s future is “something that we need to talk about sooner rather than later. We have touched base, and we’ll continue to talk.” To this point, though, the Marlins haven’t taken time to decide on whether they’ll make a change in the dugout, according to Jeter.
Going solely by win-loss record, it’s been a rather poor Miami tenure for Mattingly, whose teams have assembled a 263-339 mark. But judging by record wouldn’t be fair to Mattingly, who has tried to weather especially tempestuous times as the Marlins’ skipper. The franchise looked to be making progress in his first year on the job, a 79-win campaign, but it lost ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident that September. The next season – an MVP-winning effort for outfielder Giancarlo Stanton – the Marlins hung in wild-contention late into the summer before falling apart and finishing 77-85.
Jeter and Bruce Sherman took over for the reviled Jeffrey Loria as the Marlins’ owners after the 2017 season, and they then launched the organization into a full rebuild. Since then, the Marlins have slashed a huge amount of payroll – not to mention big league talent – by trading the likes of Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto. In the process, the Marlins have rebuilt a once-dreadful farm system into an impressive group, but Mattingly hasn’t really been in position to benefit from that. The MLB club has gone 107-172 dating back to 2018.
If the Marlins do move on from Mattingly after the season, it’ll represent one former Yankees captain waving goodbye to another. Mattingly held the role with the Yankees until he retired in 1995. Jeter, who debuted in Mattingly’s final season, took over as New York’s captain in 2003. Should Jeter part with him, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mattingly draw managerial interest from elsewhere at the outset of the offseason. He’s a respected presence in the game who, before landing in Miami, enjoyed a decent run as the Dodgers’ manager from 2011-15.
When we previously checked in on injured Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider in mid-June, there was optimism he’d return in early August. Steckenrider’s flexor strain has continued to shelve him, though, and there’s no end in sight. The right-hander will miss the rest of the season, Glenn Sattell of MLB.com was recently among those to report. Steckenrider underwent a scope on his pitching elbow Friday, though the Marlins are optimistic he’ll be fine by spring training next year.
This was a season to forget for Steckenrider – not only thanks to the injury, but because he fell flat over the 14 1/3 innings he did pitch. Steckenrider coughed up 10 earned runs on nine hits, including six home runs, in that span. He did total 14 strikeouts against five walks, but that decent ratio couldn’t help the 28-year-old overcome his sudden gopher ball issues.
Steckenrider entered the season as a potential trade chip for the Marlins, with whom he notched much better production over the previous two years. As a rookie in 2017, Steckenrider fired 34 2/3 innings of 2.34 ERA/3.10 FIP pitching and posted a sky-high 14.02 strikeouts per nine (against 4.67 walks). Steckenrider wasn’t as crisp last year across a larger sample of 64 2/3 frames, yet he still put up a useful 3.90 ERA/3.62 FIP with 10.3 K/9 and 3.76 BB/9. Notably, Steckenrider surrendered just one HR for every nine innings during his initial two seasons. That number soared to 3.77 this year.
With his value way down, Steckenrider doesn’t figure to be an offseason trade candidate for rebuilding Miami. However, he could end up on the block next summer if he bounces back in the season’s first few months. Steckenrider’s not on track to become eligible for arbitration until after next year or hit free agency until the conclusion of the 2023 campaign.
- There are few sports-related injuries that are conceivably more painful than a herniated disc, but, after two months spent recovering from such an injury, Marlins starter Jose Urena is soldiering onward in his recovery, according to a report from Wells Dusenbury of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Urena, a veteran of five big league seasons, threw a bullpen session yesterday that manager Don Mattingly described as “really good”. According to the skipper, the team expects their homegrown hurler to return to the team in September, possibly in a bullpen capacity.
- The Marlins announced that infielder Yadiel Rivera cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A, after he was designated for assignment on Tuesday. Rivera has seen action in each of the last five MLB seasons, but doesn’t have much to show for it at the plate, including a .183/.258/.217 slash line in 66 PA for Miami in 2019.
The Marlins announced today that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Deven Marrero. He’ll take the roster spot of fellow infielder Miguel Rojas, who is heading to the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain.
Marrero, 29, is a former first-round pick who has yet to show he has the stick to hang in the big leagues. The shortstop owns a .197/.250/.283 slash line through 343 plate appearances at the game’s highest level.
There has been a notable change for Marrero this year at Triple-A, where he has cracked 14 long balls in 380 plate appearances after never previously finishing a season with even a double-digit tally. Of course, that’s the sort of thing we’ve seen from quite a few other players in the homer-friendly International League, so it’s hard to put too much stock in this particular development.
The Marlins have selected the contract of veteran right-hander Hector Noesi to start tonight’s game and designated infielder Yadiel Rivera for assignment in order to clear roster space, per a club announcement.
Noesi, 32, will return to the big leagues for the first time since 2015 when he takes the mound tonight. He spent the interim seasons pitching for the Kia Tigers of the Korea Baseball Organization and throwing rather well; in 582 1/3 KBO innings, Noesi notched a 3.79 ERA with 6.6 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9.
The well-traveled righty has enjoyed a strong season thus far in a deadly Triple-A environment for pitchers, working to a 3.82 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 39.4 percent ground-ball rate. That 3.82 ERA might not sound like much, but Noesi, somewhat remarkably, is one of just seven qualified starters in all of Triple-A with an ERA south of 4.00. The adoption of the homer-happy big league ball in Triple-A has transformed an already hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League into a nightmare for pitchers, and the International League has become extremely hitter-friendly as well.
Noesi’s success has come, in part, due to some good fortune. He’s averaged a whopping 1.94 homers per nine innings pitched, but the majority of the round-trippers he’s yielded have been of the solo variety. He’s likely a short-term option for the Marlins anyhow, although the trades of Zac Gallen and Trevor Richards have thinned out the Miami staff somewhat.
The 27-year-old Rivera appeared in 34 games with Miami but made just 66 plate appearances. He managed only a meager .183/.258/.217 batting line in that time — a similar output to the .173/.269/.216 slash he logged last season in 160 plate appearances as a Marlin.
The Marlins announced Monday that they’ve officially promoted top prospect Isan Diaz for his MLB debut (as had been previously reported), recalled Lewis Brinson from Triple-A New Orleans and selected the contract of right-hander Robert Dugger. Miami also placed infielder Neil Walker (sprained index finger) and outfielder Cesar Puello (left hip flexor strain) on the 10-day injured list, activated righty Ryne Stanek for his team debut and optioned right-hander Kyle Keller to New Orleans.
In Diaz, the Marlins will get their first look at one of the key pieces in the Christian Yelich blockbuster. Diaz currently ranks between 86th and 90th on the midseason top prospect rankings of MLB.com (86), Fangraphs (89) and Baseball America (90). He’s clobbered Triple-A pitching at a .305/.395/.578 clip, belting 26 homers, 21 doubles and two triples along the way. Originally drafted as a shortstop, he profiles better at second base from a defensive standpoint, and the Marlins hope he can be a long-term piece in the infield. Scouting reports generally suggest that his plus raw power and solid plate discipline give him a reasonable chance of being an offensive-minded everyday second baseman.
Brinson, of course, was the headliner in that Yelich swap but has yet to cement himself as a regular in the Miami outfield in parts of two seasons with the club. Since his most recent demotion to Triple-A, though, Brinson has turned in a .270/.361/.510 batting line with 16 home runs and 16 steals. That only translates to nine percent better than the league average in the ridiculous Pacific Coat League hitting environment (109 wRC+), but Brinson’s solid productivity has earned him another look. Strikeouts continue to be an issue (100 in 339 Triple-A plate appearances), but he’s demonstrated the speed and power that have long made him such an intriguing prospect.
Dugger, meanwhile, came to the Marlins in the trade that sent Dee Gordon to the Mariners. He began the season with 70 2/3 innings of 3.31 ERA ball with 9.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9 and a 45.6 percent ground-ball rate in Double-A. Like so many pitchers, Dugger has been blown up in Triple-A, with a 9.34 ERA and seven home runs allowed in 35 2/3 innings since a midseason promotion. (Generally speaking, onlookers should take Triple-A stats with more of a grain of salt than ever before, given the bloated offensive numbers throughout the league.) That’s not to say that Dugger is a premium prospect, however. He ranks near the back of Miami’s top 30 prospects (24 at MLB.com, 27 at Fangraphs) and is most optimistically viewed as a back-of-the-rotation starter, though scouting reports on him also point to a possible future in relief.
It’ll also be interesting to see how Miami ultimately opts to utilize Stanek, whom they acquired alongside prospect Jesus Sanchez in a trade sending righties Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards to the Rays last week. Stanek has been the Rays’ most prolific opener since the team adopted that tactic last season and generally enjoyed favorable results. In 122 innings from 2018-19, Stanek has recorded a 3.17 ERA with 10.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9.
Stanek has pitched in late-inning situations in addition to his work as an opener, and the general fluidity of the Miami bullpen situation could serve as an avenue for Stanek to receive some save opportunities. The Marlins traded closer Sergio Romo to the Twins, and Anderson (traded for Stanek) was the presumptive heir apparent in the ninth inning. Drew Steckenrider has experience in the role but has been injured much of the season. Stanek, meanwhile, boasts a fastball that averages better than 97 mph and can reach triple-digit velocity readings, so he certainly has prototypical closer’s stuff if Miami chooses to try him at the end of games rather than the beginning.