After acquiring Carter Capps in exchange for first baseman Logan Morrison at the Winter Meetings, the Miami Marlins announced that they wanted to sign a veteran reliever to add depth to the bullpen.
Capps and Steve Cishek will see time out of the back of the 'pen, and A.J. Ramos, Dan Jennings, and Mike Dunn are among those who are likely relieve Miami's starters in 2014. On Thursday, the Marlins signed reliever Henry Rodriguez to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
MLB Daily Dish was among the first to report the transaction:
#Marlins announce signing of RHP Henry Rodriguez to a minor league deal with ST invite.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 16, 2014
Rodriguez was signed as an amateur free agent by the Oakland Athletics in 2003, and since, the right handed pitcher has established himself as an inconsistent relief option. In time with both Washington and Chicago (Cubs) last season, Rodriguez posted an inflated walks per nine innings pitched total and struggled with his command.
Rodriguez threw 22 innings last year for the Nationals and Cubs, ultimately posting a seemingly serviceable 4.09 ERA. But a look behind the results show why the Nats finally cut ties with the talented hurler: Rodriguez maintained an abysmal K:BB ratio, with 4.9 K/9 against a troubling 8.2 BB/9.
Should Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez be able to get Rodriguez throwing strikes, he would be a nice asset out of Miami's bullpen. Rodriguez has an explosive fastball, and a changeup which former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman compared to that of Steven Strasburg.
Rodriguez's best major league season came in 2011 with Washington. In 65 2/3 innings pitched, he ended the season with a 3.56 ERA and 45 walks to complement 70 strikeouts. The Nationals organization thought he had the arm to be a closer, but after the 2011 campaign, he was demoted, the Sun-Sentinel pointed out.
Command was an issue that season as he walked 45, and it was the main reason Rodriguez did not stay in the closer role the following season.
In 2012, Rodriguez had a brutal May, logging a 7.36 ERA and ultimately was demoted to the minors. The Nationals traded him to the Cubs last June and after the season Rodriguez was designated him for assignment.
Rodriguez over his last 51 1/3 innings, he’s struck out 53 but walked 42. He’s turns 27 next month.
Miami typically brings several arms into Spring Training to compete for a bullpen spot. Chad Qualls and Kevin Slowey stuck out last season, and Brian Sanches and Clay Hensley had nice springs in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
The Marlins 64 players who were invited to Spring Training. Pitcher and catcher workouts begin on February 16.
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