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Marlins sign five players to minor league deals

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The Marlins have added three lefties, an outfielder, and a catcher to the organization.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Detroit Tigers Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the Marlins have signed five players to minor league contracts, four of whom have seen significant time in the major leagues.

The biggest name on the list is left-handed reliever Kyle Lobstein, who spent 2016 with the Pirates after spending his first two seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers. Lobstein made 14 appearances with Pittsburgh last season, pitching to a 3.96 ERA and 1.480 WHIP with 15 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched, before being dealt to the Orioles in August and never appearing in a game for Baltimore.

Lobstein did pitch 63 23 innings in 2015 with Detroit, but his numbers were inflated, posting a 5.94 ERA and 1.586 WHIP. Lobstein is not a power pitcher, with his fastball sitting around 87 to 89 miles per hour, but he has great movement on the pitch, which has allowed him to produce almost 50 percent ground balls over his career. The 27-year-old also has been very tough on lefties in his career, allowing them to hit only .210 with a wOBA of .263 over three seasons. His success against lefties makes Lobstein a solid candidate to make the Marlins Opening Day roster.

The second left-handed reliever signed by Miami is Caleb Thielbar, who last appeared in the majors in 2015 with the Twins. His last full season was in 2014 with Minnesota, in which Thielbar posted a 3.40 ERA and 6.6 strikeouts per nine over 47 23 innings. His best season, however, was his rookie year in 2014 when he pitched to a 1.76 ERA and 0.826 WHIP in 46 innings.

Thielbar has more life on his fastball than Lobstein, topping out at 93, and he is also tough on both lefties and righties. During Thielbar’s career, lefties have hit .217 and righties have hit only .220. The 29-year-old could see time in the majors this season if the Marlins are still seeking left-handed relief help.

The third southpaw signed by the Marlins is Frank Garces, who last pitched in the big leagues with the Padres in 2015, where he posted a 5.21 ERA and 1.658 WHIP with 30 strikeouts and 22 walks in 38 innings. Garces spent all of 2016 in triple-a, where he struggled just as he did in the majors the year before.

Garces is the least likely of the three relievers to appear with the Marlins in 2017 because of his struggles the last few seasons and his lack of big league experience.

The outfielder re-signed by the Marlins is Moises Sierra, who last appeared at the major league level in 2014 with the White Sox and Blue Jays. The 28-year-old hit .230 in 2014 with two home runs and an OPS of .606. Sierra spent the 2016 season in the Marlins system with newly-named Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, where he hit .336 with a wRC+ of 171 in 82 games.

Sierra could compete for an outfield bench spot for Miami, but he will have multiple players to surpass as the Marlins will be looking for bench depth this offseason, so he looks like a season-long minor-leaguer.

The final player signed by the Marlins is catcher Carlos Paulino, who spent last season with the double-a and triple-a teams in the Twins system, batting .229 with a .312 OBP. Paulino, who started his career in the Marlins organization, has never appeared in the major leagues, so he should be just a signing for catching depth in the minors.