Earlier this offseason, the Marlins informed Derek Dietrich that they wouldn’t be tendering him a contract, according to a source familiar with the situation. And yet, Tuesday night’s news still stings: Dietrich has been designated for assignment.
In parts of six major league seasons (while playing a handful of defensive positions), he slashed .265/.330/.421. Every year since 2015, Dietrich’s weighted runs created plus has been better than league average. He’s far and away the franchise’s all-time leader with 93 hit by pitches.
That being said, it was time for an amicable split. The 29-year-old proved to be an atrocious left fielder when given an extended opportunity this past summer. After setting career highs in home runs (16) and plate appearances (551), Dietrich was due a substantial raise in arbitration (MLB Trade Rumors estimated a $4.8 million salary).
The most likely outcome of this DFA is an outright release. From there, Dietrich should be able to secure an incentive-laden major league deal with an American League club.
His enthusiasm will be missed.
Outside of that, the Marlins stuck pretty close to the script. They protected four top prospects from the upcoming Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40-man roster. Three other players who saw major league action in 2018—all much less prominent than Dietz—had to be DFA’d to clear space on the roster for additional pitchers.
Here are the series of additions and subtractions that brought the roster from 36 to 40.
- IF Isan Diaz
- RHP Jorge Guzman
- OF Monte Harrison
- RHP Jordan Holloway
- RHP Kyle Keller
- LHP Jose Quijada
- RHP Jordan Yamamoto
Many of these names should look familiar to those of you who read our roster crunch preview. The only mildly surprising promotion was Jordan Holloway, who had been limited to 7 2⁄3 innings this past regular season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Holloway impressed the Marlins this fall during instructional league, as VP of Player Development and Scouting Gary Denbo explains:
Third baseman Brian Schales, a Southern League postseason All-Star, was traded for Twins righty Nick Anderson. The former independent league signee impressed with Triple-A Rochester in 2018, striking out 36.2 percent of batters faced. The thing is, Anderson turned 28 in July—nothing left to project.
Now that the dust has settled, Miami’s 40-man consists of 24 pitchers and 16 position players.
Why so much activity right now? There was an 8 p.m. ET deadline to set rosters. Eligible players who were left unprotected—notables for the Marlins include infielder Christopher Torres and left-hander McKenzie Mills—can be targeted by other MLB teams in the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 13. For as much as this farm system has improved over the past year, I expect Torres and Mills to remain in the organization as teams plug their roster holes with more advanced prospects available elsewhere.
Lee (.176/.222/.176 in 18 PA), Meyer (10.42 ERA, 6.42 FIP in 19.0 IP) and Peters (7.16 ERA, 5.55 FIP in 27.2 IP) are likely to change organizations. Just like that, one of my favorite GIFs is no longer applicable.
Although the 40-man is full at the moment, you can bet that the Fish will trim down into the 30s again in time for the Rule 5. All-Star J.T. Realmuto could be traded by then, along with
Derek Dietrich and Dan Straily (just to name a few). For at least one more winter, they’re focused on accumulating young, controllable talent, even if that negatively impacts the major league win total.