Why did the Miami Marlins trade Dan Jennings?

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The Miami Marlins are reportedly still looking to add a left-handed pitcher to the bullpen mix, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

"If the Marlins make another bullpen move, the preference would be to add a left-hander. They remain interested in former Tigers lefty Phil Coke, but only if he’s willing to be a non-roster invitee to camp."

We’ve known of their interest in the former Tiger and Yankee, but the question remains whether Coke would represent an upgrade over the Marlins internal options. Coke had a 3.88 ERA and 3.98 FIP last year with Detroit with a paltry 6.4 K/9 in 58 innings. The 32 year-old is said to be seeking a guaranteed contract in lieu of a minor league deal with Spring Training invite, which the Marlins would prefer.

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What’s puzzling is that the Marlins just traded a solid left-handed reliever in Dan Jennings. What they got in return from the White Sox is Andre Rienzo, a right-hander with a career 5.89 ERA and a dreadful 6.82 ERA in 29 games (11 starts) in 2014. Jennings on the other hand pitched to a 1.34 ERA and 3.48 FIP and a 8.4 K/9 last season. Essentially, the Marlins got a guy who is one year younger than Jennings but doesn’t have the tools to stick around in a critical role in a major league bullpen, or rotation. Jennings owns a 2.43 ERA in three years with Miami and isn’t arbitration eligible until next season. This trade is still a head-scratcher to me.

The Marlins already have their long-term first lefty out of the pen in Mike Dunn, who they signed to a two-year extension last week. Brad Hand is another southpaw expected to make the team as he is out of options and can pitch in long relief or start if needed. The Marlins are already short on major league-ready left-handers, so chancing losing Hand to waivers would be counterproductive. Veteran Chris Narveson is a non-roster invitee who will get a look this Spring and could be a sleeper left-handed arm in the Marlins bullpen somewhere down the line. He last pitched with the Brewers in 2013.

Jennings would’ve been a solid number two lefty behind Dunn and likely would be the last missing piece in the Marlins bullpen. As it stands, it looks like one or two ‘pen spots will be decided between a group of fringe pitchers in Spring Training. I just don’t see how the Marlins benefited by dealing Jennings, who had finally come into his own after piddling around the minor leagues for years, for a marginal right-hander who should spend the season in Triple-A.

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