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Derek Dietrich says goodbye to Marlins in Instagram post

Dietrich has spent his entire major league career in Miami, but would’ve been an awkward fit on the 2019 roster. The time had come for a change.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

After being designated for assignment by the Marlins on Tuesday, Derek Dietrich’s tenure with the Marlins is now officially done. The franchise’s HBP king has cleared waivers and elected free agency.

Here’s what he posted to Instagram on Monday afternoon:

Thank You Miami! We’ve shared both happy and sad times. Thank You to the Marlins, my first MLB team, for the opportunity to play the game that I love in Paradise! Thank You to all my amazing teammates; it has been an honor to do battle beside you. Thank you to everyone at Marlins Park and in the city of Miami who have worked hard to take great care of me these past 6 years! Most of all, THANK YOU to the fans who have become my friends and family. Your endless LOVE and SUPPORT have meant the world to me!! It’s hard to say Goodbye. Instead, I’ll simply say, “LET IT FLY!” #Believeit #letitfly #DD32 #thebestisyettocome

During his age-28 season, Dietrich set new career highs in games, plate appearances, home runs, extra base hits, runs scored, times on base...you get the idea. His overall slash line was .265/.330/.421, significantly better than league average when adjusted for Marlins Park’s pitcher-friendly conditions. As long as his next employer doesn’t continue the left field experiment, he’s a safe bet for comfortably above-replacement-level production in 2019.

The Fish quietly acquired Dietrich in December 2012, a one-for-one trade that sent Yunel Escobar to the Rays. It proved to be a good value considering the versatility he provided at a team-controlled cost. Combining the raise he was due in arbitration with the various young position players who need MLB reps next season, it was in everybody’s best interest to finally split up.

Our contributor Zac Ference knows Dietrich far better than I ever will. Zac’s letter from last week demonstrates why fans loved the utility man: because he loved them back.