The Marlins made some smaller moves here in January – a far cry from last offseason, but positive moves nonetheless. All three players, Mike Wuertz, Nick Green, and Austin Kearns, signed minor league deals with the Fish.
Kearns made the team out of Spring Training last season and expects to compete for backup OF and a bat off the bench. He hit .245 with 4 home runs in 147 ABs last season with 44 Ks (about 30%) in 87 games last season. If he sticks with the team, look for a similar role for the upcoming season.
Nick Green was promoted from AAA last season, but was only able to appear in 7 games last season due to a thumb injury that shelved him from mid-August through the end of the season. The veteran journey-man is expected to compete as a utility player as only Adeiny Hechavarria and Donovan Solano can play both SS and 2B currently. Green could fill that role if he makes the team out of Spring Training as well as having the ability to play 3B, too.
Of the 3 players, Mike Wuertz offers the most interesting ceiling. Wuertz has a very live slider that was the league’s most unhittable pitch back in 2009. Hitters hit just .188 that season and he amassed 102 Ks in 78 IP. In fact he has a K+ per inning career rating and has a .229 average against hitters. In 2011, he had a bumpy time of it where hitters’ average climbed to .280 against him and his ERA shot up to 6.68. Wuertz also missed the entire 2012 season at the big league level – he signed a minor league deal with the Reds last season but was released on July 5th, 2012. So, if he can find a way to revert back to his pre-2011 days, the Marlins may have added a pretty good arm to the bullpen. If not, they risk little except a hand shake as Wuertz would most likely get the same treatment from the Marlins that he received from the Reds last season.