Since the announcement of Kim Ng as the new Miami Marlins General Manager, the offseason has been relatively quiet. There were a lot of questions as to what she would do first, and it looks like we finally have our answer. Rather than shooting for big names, she has decided to buy low. The two biggest signings of her tenure happened recently, and although they aren’t stars, they have the capability to make this Marlins team better at a cheap price.
LHP Ross Detwiler and C Sandy Leon were the initial targets of choice for Ng. Both players serve a role for the “Bottom Feeders” in the upcoming 2021 season. They add depth in two areas that the Marlins were previously lacking in.
The 34-year-old southpaw was signed to a 1 year $850,000 deal. The Marlins bullpen, outside of a few, struggled immensely in 2020. Richard Bleier was the only veteran lefty in the bullpen, and this lack of experience showed up in big moments through the likes of Stephen Tarpley, Trevor Rogers, and Daniel Castano.
Coming off of a strong 2020 campaign, Detwiler provides more stability to a young bullpen. He effectively becomes a 2nd Richard Bleier. Statistically, the two pitchers are very similar and bring a lot of the same stuff to the table: low MPH fastballs which force them to rely on movement and control to get outs. Bleier was extremely effective last year, and if Detwiler fills the same role, they can split outings, allowing the Marlins to have access to a solid lefty arm every night of a long 162 game year.
Detwiler is not what Miami was directly hoping for but still could play a vital role in stabilizing a young and variable team.
Sandy Leon was another name that Miami fans did not expect to see. He signed to a minor league deal that may be worth $1.25 million if he makes the majors. In the 2020 season, the bullpen was a problem, but our catching situation was an absolute disaster. Francisco Cervelli was phenomenal in the few games he played before his injury forced his retirement, but after that, the woes of Chad Wallach and Jorge Alfaro plagued Miami. Wallach cannot hit and Alfaro cannot play defense. Wallach batted .227 (.071 in the playoffs) and Jorge Alfaro had -7 Defensive Runs Saved (-39 over a full season).
Sandy Leon could be a guy like Cervelli in the right situation. Statistically, he has never been great offensively, but he was Chris Sale’s primary catcher in Boston. He is a good defender, saving runs that we would lose through Wallach and Alfaro. He may never live up to the season he hit .310 in Boston, but he could be exactly what the Marlins needed in the NLDS and need to save runs defensively.
Overall Takeaway for the Marlins
Nothing too groundbreaking going on in the Marlins front office right now. These signings prove that they are willing to go out and find solutions, but also may point to their understanding that this team is not ready to compete just yet. It seems that Kim Ng has taken a slower approach to success in Miami, and we will just have to wait to see if it pans out.
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