Grading the Miami Marlins Spring Roster Moves

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Pitcher Jarlin Garcia #66 of the Miami Marlins throws against the Cincinnati Reds during their game at Marlins Park on September 22, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Pitcher Jarlin Garcia #66 of the Miami Marlins throws against the Cincinnati Reds during their game at Marlins Park on September 22, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins engaged in a whirlwind of activity in the days and hours preceding and following the final Spring Training contest.

Several players have been optioned, and find themselves with the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes. Others have been granted their release, and are completely off the Miami Marlins reservation and looking for a job. What moves made the most sense?

I’ll be focusing on the moves in the month of March that really changed the face of the organization, rather than the smaller moves such as 2018 fourth-rounder Nick Fortes joining camp for a few weeks.

San Francisco Giants Claim Merandy Gonzalez off Waivers

I’m not sure what happened with Gonzalez. It came pretty much out of left field. Before I knew he was on waivers, he had already arrived in Giants camp. The Miami Marlins have nothing to show for it.

Miami Marlins
ATLANTA, GA – AUGUST 13: Merandy Gonzalez #77 of the Miami Marlins pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves during game two of a doubleheader at SunTrust Park on August 13, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

I can only assume the Marlins were hoping that Gonzalez passed through waivers unnoticed, but no such luck.

Grade: D-

Optioning Six to Assorted Miami Marlins Affiliates

On March 6th, Jordan Holloway was sent to the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League. Jorge Guzman was assigned to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the double-A Southern League. Magneuris Sierra, Jordan Yamamoto, Kyle Keller, and Elieser Hernandez were optioned to New Orleans.

Miami Marlins
JUPITER, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 20: Jordan Yamamoto #68 of the Miami Marlins poses for a photo during photo days at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

This series of moves made practical sense, and are building towards the future. Holloway is two or more years away, and has missed the majority of the past three seasons with injuries. Guzman can blow guys away with his 103 MPH heat, but the gentle art of the changeup needs some work. Sierra is still fast, and remember that he’s not quite 23-years-old yet. He could learn more patience with another season of practice. Yamamoto is a future number four in the rotation, Hernandez is a 4A arm who could use the work, and Keller is a possible future bullpen stalwart.

Grade: A-

Four More to Baby Cakes

On March 12th, the Miami Marlins optioned Jeff Brigham, Isan Diaz, Jose Quijada, and Monte Harrison to the Baby Cakes.

Miami Marlins
SURPRISE, AZ – NOVEMBER 03: AFL East All-Star, Monte Harrison #4 of the Miami Marlins bats during the Arizona Fall League All Star Game at Surprise Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Brigham made four major league starts with the Marlins late last season to underwhelming results. At 27-years-old, he’s unlikely to challenge for a top-line rotation spot, but provides needed depth for the Marlins on short notice. Quijada was a victim of the numbers game, and I expect the Marlins will be calling him back soon. I think there are others on the parent roster who aren’t as good as him, but I don’t work for the team. Harrison clearly needs to work on his strike zone, and triple-A is a great place for him to round out his game. Same goes for Diaz.

Grade: B+ for Brigham, Harrison, and Diaz, C- for Quijada

Garcia Optioned to Baby Cakes

Jarlin Garcia to New Orleans was sensible, as there are clearly eight better arms in the system able to contribute immediately. He’s very likely to rejoin the team when injury strikes.

Grade: A-

Miami Marlins
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 28: Austin Dean #44 of the Miami Marlins doubles in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 28, 2019 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Dean Optioned to Baby Cakes

I was a little surprised that Austin Dean got optioned when he did, on March 21st. I believe that he has a long major league career ahead of him, and have previously stated that he could challenge for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Grade: C-

Othman Released

Although I was initially nonplussed by the Miami Marlins apparent release of Sharif Othman on his 30th birthday, it’s come to my attention that he has remained with the club in a front office capacity. Keeping a quality guy like this in the house is a great move no matter how you look at it.

Grade: A+

O’Brien Optioned to Baby Cakes

It was a shame that Peter O’Brien had to go when he did, but he was clearly outplayed by Garrett Cooper through Spring Training. O’Brien is, of course, available when the Marlins call him.

Grade: B+

Miami Marlins
MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 12: Bryan Holaday #28 of the Miami Marlins hits a RBI single in the fourth inning against the New York Mets at Marlins Park on August 12, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

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Bryan Holaday Released

Holaday is an all around good guy, and a solid defensive catcher. He led the N.L. with a 44.7 kill-rate last season on runners trying to steal, and committed zero errors in 357 1/3 innings of work. When the Miami Marlins released him, he let them know that he didn’t want to play in the minors. I think that Holaday has more to offer the Marlins than other catchers, and am sad to see him go. The release, however was a gesture of good will, and allows Holaday to sign a free agent deal anywhere.

Grade: A-

Dan Straily Released

The Miami Marlins chose to release Straily when it became clear they wouldn’t get anything for him by way of trade. My main point of contention with this is that Straily is clearly better at this point in his career than Wei-Yin Chen, who remains on the Marlins roster. I also think he would have provided a solidifying veteran presence on a very young rotation (average age, 25.2).

Grade: D+

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