The Miami Marlins completed a minor trade with the San Francisco Giants on their off day. The team acquired 25-year-old utility player Luke Williams in exchange for Double-A second baseman Hayden Cantrelle.
This comes as the Marlins travel to Atlanta ahead of a pivotal three-game set with the Braves. Miami finds itself mired in an extended rough patch and remains in danger of falling too far behind in the Wild Card race if these struggles continue.
Marlins Make Minor Trade
The Marlins completed a minor trade deal on Thursday, picking up another super-utility player for the roster. The 25-year-old Williams comes to Miami with a .245/.308/.318 slash line over 120 career plate appearances with the Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. Williams hit .250, with a .583 OPS, over eight games with San Francisco before being designated-for-assignment to create room on their 40-man roster.
Williams becomes just the next in a long line of recent acquisitions and call-ups with positional versatility. With the Phillies in 2021, Williams played seven different positions (everything but pitcher and catcher). The Giants had him man third base and left field this season.
Williams seems cut from a similar cloth as Jon Berti, a light-hitting super-utility player known for his speed. He has just six career extra-base hits, but sports solid plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills. Williams holds a 20.2 percent strikeout rate for his minor league career, and a 22.5 percent rate at the MLB level.
Perhaps most interestingly, Williams comes to the Marlins with all three minor league options intact. The Giants DFA’d him without using an option, which added to his trade value.
The Marlins sent 23-year-old minor league second baseman Hayden Cantrelle to San Francisco to complete this trade. Cantrelle came to the Marlins via trade two months ago, as part of the Alex Jackson deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Although he started well for Double-A Pensacola, hitting three homers in his first six games, Cantrelle logged just a .185 batting average with the Blue Wahoos this season and a 36.4 percent strikeout rate.
This move reads like an organizational depth play, especially considering the recent spate of injuries in the middle infield. Williams will start with Triple-A Jacksonville and could be called up the next time there’s an MLB fill-in need.
Marlins Recent Struggles
The Marlins absorbed a two-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, dropping yet another one-run game. Their rally fell short, 5-4, saddling the Fish with their league-high 14th one-run loss. Miami’s played in more one-run contests (20) than any other team in MLB.
Over their last 20 games, the Marlins sport a 6-14 record, tied for the worst mark in the league. Miami’s dropped five of their last six series and seem rudderless at the plate of late.
The Marlins have really struggled in Late and Close situations (defined as a game in the seventh inning or later, and the batting team is either leading by one run, tied, or has the potential tying run on base, at bat, or on deck). In that situation, Miami’s hitting a league-worst .182 and has posted a league-worst .491 OPS.
Their metrics with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP) rank only slightly higher. For the season, the Marlins rank 25th hitting with RISP (.223). Their .659 OPS in that spot ranks 24th. With RISP and two outs, Miami’s hitting .205 (22nd). The team strands 3.6 runners in scoring position per game, the third-highest mark in MLB and highest in the NL.
The Marlins averaged just three runs per game over their last six, where they went 1-5 (with four one-run losses).
Marlins Roster Shuffle Following Minor Trade
Following the Marlins minor trade for Luke Williams, the team’s 40-man roster page got something of a refresh. 42 players occupy the page, but two of those, Joe Dunand and Erik Gonzalez, likely received their call-up via MLB’s COVID roster exemption. To create space for Williams on the 40-man, the Marlins transferred RHP Paul Campbell from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list.
Miami activated both Richard Bleier and Joey Wendle from the 10-day IL today and optioned Dunand, Gonzalez, and catcher Payton Henry to Triple-A. The Marlins selected the contract of Willians Astudillo from Jacksonville when Anthony Bender landed on the IL this week. Astudillo is another player with positional versatility and MLB experience. He also has experience at catcher.
The Marlins enter a stretch of 10 games in 10 days, which each contest coming against teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race.