The Miami Marlins have signed veteran reliever Brad Boxberger to a minor league deal.
Boxberger, a six-foot-two, 205. lb. right-hander, was initially a first round choice of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2009 MLB Amateur Entry Draft, with the 43rd overall selection.
Now an eight-season MLB veteran, the 31-year-old Boxberger has appeared at baseball’s top level with the San Diego Padres (2012-2013), the Tampa Bay Rays (2014-2017), the Arizona Diamondbacks (2018) and the Kansas City Royals (2019).
A strikeout specialist and former closer, Boxberger saved 41 games for the Rays in 2015 to lead the American League. He made his only All Star appearance for his efforts during that campaign. In total, he has closed the door a total of 77 times through his major league career, also filling the role with Arizona in his time there, with 32 saves.
In 311 career innings, Boxberger has struck out 395 batters, an elite-leaning 11.43 whiffs per nine innings. Control is sometimes an issue, with a career BB/9 line of 4.69, although his WHIP is only slightly greater than league average over that same span, at 1.31.
In 29 games last season for the Royals, Boxberger was 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA and one save, along with 27 K’s in 26 2/3 innings and a less flattering 1.57 WHIP. He was released by Kansas City on July 1st, and later appeared in the minor leagues in the systems of the Washington Nationals and the Reds.
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Boxberger’s addition to the roll call makes a total of 65 players in camp for the Marlins. There’s now 21 pitchers on the 40-man roster, and 11 NRI pitchers as well.
Boxberger introduces a new wrinkle to possibilities for the 2020 campaign, although Brandon Kintzler is currently earmarked for the possible closer role.
The Miami Marlins are hoping for a bounce-back season from Boxberger, and I’m sure he’s willing to attempt it. Still, the odds are long that he makes the final cut out of Spring Training. He’ll have to show the staff that he’s got what it takes to stick. It’s more likely he commences 2020 with the Triple-A Wichita Wind Surge in the Pacific Coast League, where he’s a phone call and a flight away from joining the big boys in a pinch.