The Miami Marlins aren’t hiding the fact they need hard-throwing strikeout artists in their bullpen for 2020.
The Miami Marlins have made no secret of their desire to add more relievers to their pitching staff this offseason. This coming week at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego should allow the front office an opportunity to see which arms may be available through trade and also to determine the interest in the free agents still on the market.
It should be a much busier time this winter over last season. Now that the Marlins have addressed needs with the additions of Jonathan Villar and Jesus Aguilar, they can still seek more hitters for their lineup, but can also concentrate on the bullpen, which is a major off-season need.
The Marlins designated Tayron Guerrero this week for assignment, which further exposed the team’s need to add lively and dominant arms out of the bullpen. Guerrero’s lack of control was one of the reasons for his departure, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill explained in his conference call with members of the media on Tuesday.
More from Marlins News
- Miami Marlins news: Another target gone
- Why didn’t the Miami Marlins sign JDM?
- Miami Marlins rejected Boston‘s trade offer
- Miami Marlins are pursuing Michael Conforto
- Miami Marlins need to spend to win
"“Obviously, this past season, [Guerrero] had troubles with commanding the strike zone and resorted back to an incredibly high walk rate,” Hill said. “For a number of our young relievers, they need to get better. They need to throw more strikes, because you can’t defend a walk.”"
Injuries hit the Marlins pitching staff hard this past season, which forced the team to use players on the minor league level in a “trial-by-fire” experiment at times that had mixed results.
"“We saw over the course of the 2019 season our bullpen issues and our staff in general,” Hill said. “We issued entirely too many walks.”"
For the season, Miami’s bullpen produced a 4.37 BB/9 rate in 2019. That tied with the Pirates for the second-most in the Majors. Only the Red Sox (4.38 BB/9) were worse. The team tendered contracts to both Jose Urena and Adam Conley this week – two pitchers who are former starters and could challenge for Miami’s open closer role.
The front office has made it clear they want to find dominant arms that can consistently find the strike zone.
"“One potential candidate is free-agent right-hander Dellin Betances, a four-time All-Star with the Yankees. Many Marlins executives have ties to the Yanks, which gives them plenty of history with Betances, who could be a reclamation project in Miami,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote.“But Betances appeared in just one regular-season game in 2019, as he dealt with a right shoulder impingement and then a partial left Achilles tendon tear.”"
To make that kind of investment, the team must be sure Betances is completely healthy and can offer some assistance when called up.
"As Frisaro added, “Betances had success in 2018, posting a 2.70 ERA in 66 appearances, with a K/9 rate of 15.53 and a BB/9 rate of 3.51. And like Guerrero, Betances is listed at 6-foot-8. For tall pitchers, repeating their delivery can be a challenge.”"