Can Marlins reliever Adam Conley find the rhythm he had in 2018 or will the 2019 version of his performance continue over into this season?
Reading between the lines, which is something all of us Marlins fans are doing these days with the moves the team has made this offseason, is it safe to say the front office will still add more depth to the bullpen before the start of the season?
If you look at what the team has accomplished so far in free agency and the Rule 5 Draft, it’s no wonder writers like myself keep waiting for the front office to make another move to further strengthen the pitching staff, especially on the back end.
So, now that we have entered 2020 when will said move happen?
"“Besides upgrading the offense, strengthening the bullpen is the Marlins’ highest offseason priority. As the organization has repeatedly stated, the bullpen simply wasn’t good enough in 2019,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com wrote.“Miami’s bullpen ERA was 4.97, which ranked 25th overall, and Marlins relievers were 28th with 4.37 walks per nine innings. On the last day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego, Miami took a step in the direction of addressing the bullpen need by coming to terms with right-hander Yimi García, who was non-tendered by the Dodgers on Dec. 2.”"
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Personally, I like the fact the Marlins identified a need and filled it with a player who has ties to manager Don Mattingly. But I also expected the front office to make more of a splash, adding new arms and veterans who could play a part in multiple areas of the bullpen.
There is still time to make more of a move, but I don’t see Derek Jeter or Michael Hill jumping overboard to bring someone in, even to fill a vacated closer role. Garcia might be the biggest name added to the staff for this year until potentially the middle of the season. Or if by some miracle of chance and the Marlins become playoff contenders, you may see the team make a huge move for the end of the season.
One thing the Marlins did do that surprised me was they have kept Adam Conley on the roster, tendering him an offer, while releasing Tayron Guerrero. It’s something Frisaro talked about as well. Conley had a monstrosity of a season in 2019, but he is a lefty, which is something the Marlins need in their pen, and he could still turn things around after having a solid 2018 campaign before the wheels came off next season.
"“Conley certainly had his struggles in 2019, posting a 6.53 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP in 60 2/3 innings. Still, he’s a left-hander with a mid-90s fastball and is affordable in arbitration,” Frisaro points out. “Conley has struggled putting things together to enjoy sustainable success. The fact that he is left-handed is certainly a reason the Marlins are giving him so many chances.”"
Conley could become a long reliever in the pen or a setup man. There is no telling who comes out of camp as the team’s closer, something Conley and Drew Steckenrider were battling over last Spring before the team signed Sergio Romo. There is no word yet if Conley would be considered for that role again.