The Marlins are wasting little time tinkering with their current roster. This time, the oldest position player in the game has essentially swapped places with a former Marlins farmhand.
Chad Wallach is a soon-to-be 26 year old catcher whom you might remember was drafted by the Marlins back in 2013 (fifth round). I’m sure you recognize the surname as well; he is indeed the son of current Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach. The Marlins traded the younger Wallach, alongside Anthony Desclafani to the Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2015 season.
Once considered a possible heir-apparent to Devin Mesoraco, Tucker Barnhart’s emergence has helped make Wallach expendable. Wallach’s offensive numbers have dropped at every level he’s progressed to, but he continues to develop well at the catcher position, earning plus marks for blocking balls in the dirt and game calling but needing work at controlling the run game. Wallach did have a cup of coffee with the Reds last season, going 1-11 over the span of six games.
He could potentially battle Tomas Telis as the primary back-up to JT Realmuto or serve as much needed depth at the catcher position in the Marlins farm system.
Perhaps the bigger news on the Marlins front is the declining of Ichiro’s $2 million dollar club option. This is not necessarily surprising given what we’ve learned of Derek Jeter’s intentions in the weeks since the end of the regular season regarding payroll.
I wouldn’t close the book on Ichiro in a Marlins uniform just yet, though. Jeter is likely still negotiating with the veteran on a new, lower deal. Ichiro may use the opportunity to test the market, where he will undoubtedly find potential suitors, but the best deal may still be in Miami (where he has an opportunity in the looming rebuild, at least in this upcoming season, to garner substantial playing time).