Fish Claim Pitcher from Dodgers

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

In an effort to deepen the 40-man roster, the Miami Marlins have made a claim from the Dodgers.

Joe Gunkel has been claimed off of waivers by the Miami Marlins as a depth option for the big league roster. Upon being claimed the Marlins have optioned Gunkel to Double-A Jacksonville.

Gunkel was drafted in 18th round of the 2003 draft by the Boston Red Sox. In 2015 Gunkel was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles in a trade for, former Marlin, Alejandro De Aza and cash.

Topping out as the O’s number 20 ranked prospect the Dodgers then traded for Gunkel earlier this month for a player to be named later. In an effort to make room on their 40-man roster the Dodgers DFA’d Gunkel. Enter the Fish with their waiver claim.

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With Jeff Locke still on the DL there is currently room on the 40-man roster. However, upon Locke’s return, someone will have to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for the lefty.

This waiver claim makes sense in many aspects for the Marlins. The Fish are constantly on the hunt for depth and especially young pitching. Both of these are aspects that the Marlins need help in regardless.

Gunkel also brings with him the fact that he has all three options still available making it easier to understand why this claim was made. Given the struggles in pitching that the Marlins have had this year and the possibility of injuries down the road, it will be beneficial to have a pitcher that can be moved up and down without risk of losing the player to waivers.

A Closer Look

Gunkel has displayed impressive numbers in both Single-A and Double-A with both Boston and Baltimore’s respective minor league affiliates. However, the jump to Triple-A Norfolk with the Orioles last year was a bit of a rocky transition for Gunkel. Posting an 8-11 record with a 4.08 ERA was the worst Gunkel has fared in his journey to “the show.”

Opening the minor league season with the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, did not prove to be any better. Gunkel opened with a 0-0 record in nine innings pitched and a 4.00 ERA.

The surface numbers may not be promising, but, the deeper numbers tell a different story for Gunkel. Posting a 5:1 K/BB ratio last season shows that the control is there. That is pivotal given how Marlins pitching this year has struggled with walking batters.

Next: What the Future May Hold for the Fish

While Gunkel is unlikely to be a number one starter, this acquisition could prove itself to be useful over the course of the season. Clearly, due to his minor league success, there is a belief this may be a good move for the Fish. Spot starters are likely to be needed and organizational depth is something the Fish are starving for.