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DFA’d Tayron Guerrero claimed off waivers by White Sox

The towering Colombian right-hander couldn’t find consistent success out of the Marlins bullpen despite premium fastball velocity.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After being designated for assignment by the Marlins earlier in the week, right-hander Tayron Guerrero was claimed off waivers Friday afternoon by the White Sox. Both teams have announced the transaction.

Signed by the Padres as an amateur free agent in 2010, Guerrero debuted in the majors on May 17, 2016. But a couple months later, he was shipped to Miami as a minor piece of the complicated Andrew Cashner/Josh Naylor/Colin Rea/Luis Castillo trade.

Guerrero was inconsistent out of the Marlins bullpen the past two seasons, posting a 5.80 ERA, 5.09 FIP and 1.65 WHIP in 104.0 IP. His 17 wild pitches during that period easily led the team; the only full-time MLB relievers with more were Matt Barnes and Miguel Castro.

Compensating for the innings he missed while on the injured list during the 2019 campaign, Guerrero received permission from the Marlins to participate in the Dominican Winter League with Tigres del Licey. He made eight appearances for them in a setup role (4.05 ERA).

In creating space for newly acquired Jesús Aguilar and Jonathan Villar, the Fish determined that Guerrero and JT Riddle (non-tendered on Monday) were the most expendable members of their 40-man roster. The White Sox, on the other hand, had several unoccupied 40-man spots, so they claimed Guerrero without a corresponding move.

Why is a sub-replacement-level arm entering his age-29 season so notable? Guerrero’s fastball velocity (98.9 mph average) and height (6-foot-8) make him an intimidating presence on the mound. He has shown glimpses of greatness, but it’s simply tough to stick in any meaningful major league role with a 13.6% career walk rate.

Guerrero, Jorge Alfaro and Harold Ramirez were Marlins teammates for much of last season. Never before in MLB history had there been such a strong Colombian presence on an MLB active roster.

Perhaps the Marlins were holding out hope that Guerrero would go unclaimed on waivers, allowing them to outright him to the minors and try one more time to “harness his potential” in spring training. But this development adds even more urgency for them to address the bullpen at the upcoming Winter Meetings in San Diego.