Recent moves have necessitated making room on the Marlins 40-man roster.
Last week, the Miami Marlins acquired both outfielder Matt Joyce and relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler. Both deals are of the major league variety, but the necessary DFA’s have not followed. To wit, being on a major league contract guarantees a spot on the 40-man roster, but the roster is still stuffed to the gills.
Who are the obvious choices to be designated – and why hasn’t it happened yet? One possible reason is that the Marlins are trying to nail down trades for the players the Marlins are attempting to option. Why not try to get something in return rather than simply placing a player on waivers for nothing?
The Marlins may be trying to see what kind of return they can get for right-handed swing reliever/starter José Ureña. Although Ureña had a tough go of it out of the bullpen late last season, he’s a proven commodity at the major league level with over four years service time to his credit.
With two years of control remaining, Ureña could make an attractive target for a team looking for a number five starter or a long-relief arm. In the two seasons prior to last season’s debacle, he was 23-19 with a 3.90 ERA and a 100 ERA+ denoting an “average” major league pitcher.
If Miami fails to find a trade partner, it’s unlikely they drop Ureña off the 40-man roster. A player that gets DFA’d must pass through waivers before they can be placed on one of the minor league rosters, so it’s possible that the Marlins could lose a player they designate in this way.
Based purely on past performance, left-handed starter-turned-reliever Adam Conley seems to be the sensible choice for designation. Conley was good in 2016 before the wheels came off in 2017, rebounded nicely in 2018 and again failed to perform to expectations last season. 2019 in particular yielded a 2-11 record, a 6.53 ERA, a 1.731 WHIP, and an ERA+ of just 65.
Robert Dugger is a likely candidate as well, based on his major league debut late last season. He was 0-4 with a 5.77 ERA through his first seven starts, but Miami is likely loathe to part ways with the near-ready right-hander from Tuscon, AZ.
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Considering that Joyce is an outfielder, it’s likely Miami may designate one in return to make room for him. Lewis Brinson is no longer considered a prospect, and now has a large sample size from which the Marlins can draw assumptions about his future performance. In 205 major league games, Brinson has hit just .183/.238/.293, with 13 home runs. Even his much-vaunted power stroke evaporated completely last season with the Marlins, with zero in 75 games.
If Miami still feels enamored enough of Brinson to give him another chance, they may yet designate Magneuris Sierra. The speedster came through late last season for the Marlins with a .350 average over a 14-game look. It was a far cry from his 2018 performance, which saw him bat the Mendoza line in 54 games while providing below-average defense in centerfield.
Whatever the Marlins choose to do to make room for their two new major leaguers, we’ll be here to try and make sense of it. Thanks for reading.