The Marlins seem to have some luck in making below-the-radar moves with their bullpen needs – and they may have another in the making.
The Marlins signed Henry Rodriguez to a minor league deal and are looking to see if the reliever with a live fastball can harness some accuracy to become a serviceable bullpen option again. For his career, Rodriguez has 150 Ks in 148IP – and 102 BBs.
He’s only soon-to-be 27 and could help add some firepower in the pen. With the non-tendering to Ryan Webb, a success story last season, the Marlins are in need of bullpen depth. Yet, the Fish have never philosophically believed in overpaying for relief (which is why the Heath Bell deal still continues to plague them to this very day). Most criticize the Webb non-tendering but anyone who knows Marlins history knows they have always sought value in their search for bullpen relief. See Todd Jones and Kevin Gregg. Webb was originally part of that trade that sent Cameron Maybin over to the Padres, completing the Miguel Cabrera fiasco.
The Fish have to bottom-feed. They are always looking to find value that has fallen through from other teams. Juan C. Rodriguez outlines Marlins history in regards to successful signings of pitchers with minor league contracts who have gone on to contribute. They do so with relative success and even though losing Webb due to non-tendering him a deal hurts the bullpen, the Marlins have a lot of capable arms in the pen that will be getting looks and a shot at replacing Webb. Bernie Pleskoff over at MLB.com raves about Nick Wittgren as a potential closer for the Marlins down the line. Steve Cishek has been re-signed and is under team control for another three years. Adding Rodriguez and shedding Webb’s potential contract is the kind of move the Marlins have made again and again. The idea is to allocate funds in other areas of need and try to find cheaper replacements. In shopping around, the Marlins prove that front line free agents are not necessarily a guaranteed recipe for success when it comes to bullpen relief.