The 36th chapter of our countdown features several recent Marlins players.
Throughout the 2020-21 offseason, Fish Stripes is going over all 630 players to have appeared in a regular season game for the Marlins through their first 28 seasons. Today’s group of six all totaled between 75 and 249 PA/BF for the Marlins, and all finished below replacement level.
405. Fernando Rodney
Fernando Rodney is a crooked hat wearing right-handed reliever from Santo Domingo. In 1997, he signed his first professional contract with the Detroit Tigers at the age of 19.
Rodney has had a long and storied career, but personally, I’ll always associate him with one of the worst trades in Marlins history. On June 30, 2016, with Miami contending halfway through the season, they traded up-and-coming prospect Chris Paddack to the San Diego Padres for Rodney’s services. It wasn’t worth it.
Paddack has since started 38 major league games for the Padres, going 13-12 with a 3.74 ERA. He’s struck out 211 in 199 2⁄3 innings and racked up a near-elite 1.052 WHIP.
Rodney appeared in 39 games for the Marlins in relief through the second half of that 2016 season, and saved eight games. He also ran up a 5.89 ERA and a 1.800 WHIP through 36 2⁄3 innings. He still rang up over a batter per inning, with 41, but his service to the team resulted with a brWAR well below replacement value.
In addition to serving with the Marlins, the Padres, and the Tigers, Rodney has also played for the Tampa Bay Rays, the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Angels, the Seattle Mariners, the Minnesota Twins, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Washington Nationals, and the Chicago Cubs. He last appeared with the Nats in 2019. He signed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros in July of this year, but didn’t make an appearance and was released in September.
404. Isan Díaz
Isan Díaz is a second baseman from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He was part of the haul that the Marlins got in return from the Milwaukee Brewers for Christian Yelich. He was originally a second round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2014 draft.
Díaz was traded to the Brewers prior to 2016 spring training, and was subsequently ranked as their 11th overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline. Before 2017, he was upgraded to the number 65 prospect in all of baseball by the same outfit.
In 2019, Díaz exploded for the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes, clubbing 26 homers in 102 games while slashing .305/.395/.578. Later in the season, the Marlins called him up for his first look at the major league level. In 49 games, he hit five homers, including the unforgettable one in the video below, but only slashed out a .173/.259/.307 line.
The 2020 season would see Díaz go two-for-nine in two games, then decide to opt out for the season with concerns about COVID-19. Later, he changed his mind and came back for five games in the second week of September, adding another two hits in 13 plate appearances.
In the field, Díaz made nine errors in 186 chances over 418 1⁄3 innings at second base through the 2019 campaign, then made 11 putouts and 18 assists without a flub in 2020. On September 15, he went back on the injured list with a left-groin strain. He remains on the Marlins 4-man roster.
403. Aaron Small
Aaron Small is a six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from Oxnard, California. In 1989, he was a 22nd round choice of the Toronto Blue Jays out of high school. Small worked his way up through their minor league system until making his major league debut in 1994, allowing two runs in two innings.
After starting the 1995 season with the Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, Toronto traded Small to the Marlins on April 26 for a player to be named later, eventually Ernie Delgado.
After the trade, Small played most of the 1995 season with the Charlotte Knights, going 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 33 appearances. After the minor league season ended, and the major league rosters expanded, the Marlins called Small up.
Small pitched in seven games for Florida, games in which the Marlins posted a 2-5 record. On September 3, he earned a victory despite allowing an unearned run in an inning of work in an 8-7 win against the Houston Astros. Prior to 1996 Spring Training, the Seattle Mariners claimed Small off waivers.
Small had a 1-0 record for the Marlins overall, with a 6.35 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP. He went 0-for-2 from the plate, and made four fielding plays without an error.
402. Tyler Cloyd
Papillion, Nebraska native Tyler Cloyd is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher. In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies spent an 18th round choice on him out of the University of Nebraska.
Cloyd debuted with the Phils in 2012, and started in 17 of his 19 appearances for them over the next two seasons. In 93 1⁄3 innings, he put up a 5.98 ERA and a 1.586 WHIP. Granted free agency after the 2013 season, he played minor league ball for the Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees, and the Seattle Mariners, getting back to the big leagues for one inning with the M’s.
Cloyd started 2018 unemployed, but signed with the Marlins a month before pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. Thrice called up from their Triple-A outfit in New Orleans, Cloyd got into seven games in relief for the Marlins, mostly in mop up duty.
Cloyd allowed 17 earned runs in 17 2⁄3 innings for Miami. He struck out 13 and gave up 25 hits and 10 walks. He put 63 percent of his 336 pitches over the plate, and went 0-for-3 from the plate with a pair of strikeouts. Granted free agency after the season, Cloyd joined the Tampa Bay Rays and later the Seattle Mariners, but hasn’t got back to the major leagues.
401. Robert Andino
Robert Andino is a five-foot-11 infielder from Miami. A right-handed hitting and thrower, Andino was a second round pick of the Marlins in 2002 out of Miami Southridge HS. Three seasons later, he got to the majors with Florida.
Andino played in 79 games over parts of four years for the Marlins from 2005 through 2008. Although he spent most of his time at Triple-A during that time, between the Carolina Mudcats and the Albuquerque Isotopes, he did hit .201 for the Marlins.
Andino went 29-for-144 with eight doubles and two home runs with 12 RBI. He scored 11 runs and drew 10 walks versus 39 strikeouts, and stole two bases without getting caught. Prior to the 2009 campaign, the Marlins traded Andino to the Baltimore Orioles for Hayden Penn.
After four seasons in Baltimore, Andino joined the Seattle Mariners in 2013, then spent a few years in minor league ball. Prior to the 2016 season, he signed back with the Marlins once more.
Andino’s second time through with Miami would see him go 7-for-24 in 13 contests. He made his final major league appearance to date on September 10.
400. Rafael Ortega
El Tigre, Venezuela native Rafael Ortega is a lefty-batting, righty-throwing outfielder. He signed his first professional deal with the Colorado Rockies in 2008 at the age of 16. He made his major league debut for them in 2012, and went two-for-four in a pair of contests.
Ortega then joined the Texas Rangers, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim without a return trip to the big leagues until April, 2016. In 66 games that season for the Angels, Ortega hit .232 with eight stolen bases in 11 attempts. He played 2017 with the San Diego Padres in their minor leagues before joining the Marlins after the season.
Ortega spent most of 2018 with the New Orleans Baby Cakes at their Triple-A level. He joined the Marlins for 41 games starting in mid-August. He collected multiple hits in nine of them, including on August 14, when he went three-for-four with a double and an RBI in a 10-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Ortega went 31-for-133 with three doubles and a triple with seven RBI. He drew 10 walks and struck out 23 times, scoring 10 runs and stealing five bases in seven attempts. In 260 1⁄3 defensive innings in the outfield, he made three assists and three errors to land at a .961 fielding percentage. The Marlins granted free agency to Ortega after the season.
In 2019, Ortega joined the Atlanta Braves and appeared in 34 contests for them. He didn’t play in the major leagues in 2020.