Marlins DFA veterans to make room for recent offseason moves

The Miami Marlins DFA Tayron Guerrero and JT Riddle to make room for their new roster additions.

The Miami Marlins began the process of weeding through its current 40-man roster to make changes for more additions for the upcoming season.

According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the team has announced that both shortstop J.T. Riddle and reliever Tayron Guerrero have been designated for assignment. Riddle, who has dealt with injuries this past season, is now a free agent because he was eligible for arbitration and was not tendered a contract offer.

It is one of the moves the Marlins had to make in order to strengthen its 26-man roster after it made the deal for Jonathan Villar from Baltimore and signed Jesus Aguilar off waivers from Tampa Bay.

The team also tendered contract offers to right-hander Jose Urena, who could once again compete to become the team’s closer in Spring Training and lefty reliever Adam Conley, who had his worst season for the Marlins in 2019.

As Frisaro also added, Aguilar and Villar also are in the arbitration process.

Riddle was in a battle in camp last season for the starting shortstop job, which ultimately was won by Miguel Rojas. He spent time in the minors, even playing in the outfield at the Triple-A level. He was not consistent enough at the plate, something he has had issues with since being called up to the Majors two seasons ago.

Pitching is still going to be the focus of this organization and the calling card for a young team still looking to score runs in 2020. Urena’s season was marred by a back injury that sidelined him most of the year. When he returned, there was no place for him in the rotation. He moved to the bullpen to fill the closer role left open when Miami traded Sergio Romo to Minnesota.

After the experiment failed, the team could still try and use him in the same capacity next season, but there will be other suitors for the spot as well. There is a belief he is still a potential trade piece this offseason.

“Entering his second year of arbitration eligibility, Urena made $3.2 million in 2019, an injury-plagued year in which he finished 4-10 with a 5.21 ERA in 24 games, with 13 starts. He is under club control through the 2022 season,” Frisaro explains.

“He returned as a reliever in September and was given chances to close, but that didn’t go well. In 10 innings of relief, he was 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA, compared to 4-7 with a 4.70 ERA in his 13 starts.”

Conley was 2-11 with a 6.53 ERA in 60 games in 2019. The left-hander made $1.125 million in 2019 and is eligible for arbitration. He becomes a free agent after the 2023 season.

“The Marlins had high hopes for Conley, but he never got on track. Early in the year, he was part of a late-inning rotation, and even had two saves,” Frisaro wrote. “But he faltered as the season progressed and was used more in earlier innings and assumed more of a long-relief role.

“In 60 2/3 innings, he had 53 strikeouts, 29 walks and a WHIP of 1.73.”

Next: Marlins internal options for a closer

The Marlins front office will look to add more arms in free agency to help the bullpen next season.