Throughout the 2020-21 offseason, Fish Stripes is profiling every player to take the field in a Marlins regular season game.
Through the Florida and Miami Marlins first 28 seasons of play, 630 have taken the field for at least one plate appearance or batter faced. We’ve already taken a look at 260 of them. The five profiled today had between 75 and 249 PA/BF, and finished their time with the Marlins slightly below replacement level.
370. Merandy González
Merandy González is a right-handed pitcher from Cotui, Dominican Republic. At the age of 17, he signed his first professional deal with the New York Mets in 2013. By 2017, he was ranked the number 15 prospect in their system by Baseball America. At the trade deadline that year, the Mets traded him and Ricardo Cespedes to the Marlins for A.J. Ramos.
After joining the Marlins system, González split the rest of the 2017 season with the Jupiter Hammerheads. He went 1-0 with a 1.11 ERA in five games, including three starts. He struck out 14 in 24 1⁄3 innings, and posted a 0.95 WHIP.
González made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2018, on April 19. He went 2-1 with a 5.73 ERA, walking eight and striking out 19 in 22 frames. He got 62 percent of his 437 pitches over the plate. His best appearance was in his second win on April 30, when he pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing only a walk.
Just into 2019 Spring Training, the San Francisco Giants claimed González off waivers from the Marlins. He’s since spent time in the systems of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals. González is currently a free agent.
369. Chad Tracy
Chad Tracy is a six-foot-one left-handed batting and right-handed throwing corner infielder from Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2001, the Arizona Diamondbacks made him a seventh round pick out of East Carolina University. His final season with the Pirates would yield a slash line of .355/.395/.481 with 13 jacks, 61 RBI, and 27 stolen bases.
Tracy graduated to the majors with the Diamondbacks in 2004, and played six seasons with them in the desert. In 704 contests, he slashed out a line of .280/.339/.453 with 78 round trippers and 318 RBI. He signed with the Chicago Cubs through free agency going into 2010 Spring Training. After collecting 11 hits in 49 plate appearances, the Cubs granted his free agency. He signed on with the New York Yankees, but was again granted free agency before a month was in the books without a major league plate appearance.
On August 5, 2010, Tracy signed with the Marlins, and remained with the team through the end of the season. In 41 games for Florida, he went 25-for-102 from the plate with six doubles, one homer, and 10 RBI. He drew six walks, scored five runs, and struck out 21 times. Defensively, he made three errors in 181 innings of work at the hot corner for a .948 fielding percentage. In 36 innings at first base, he handled 49 chances without an error.
Tracy’s best performance in the Marlins portion of his baseball journey, judging by WPA, was on August 31. In the bottom of the 10th inning, he drove in the game-winner with a single to score Hanley Ramirez in a 1-0 victory against the Nationals.
Again granted free agency following the season, Tracy eventually returned to the majors with those same Nationals, and played two seasons for them.
368. Ben Howard
Ben Howard is a right-handed pitcher from Danville, Illinois. In 1997, the San Diego Padres chose him in the second round out of high school. Entering 2002, he was the number six prospect in their system and made his major league debut.
Howard played parts of two seasons with the Padres at the major league level, pitching a total of 45 1⁄3 innings. He was 1-4 with a 4.96 ERA in nine contests, including eight starts. He pitched to a 1.610 WHIP and struck out 34 batters. At the very start of the 2004 season, San Diego traded him to the Marlins for Blaine Neal.
Although he had performed mainly as a starter to this point in his career, the Marlins employed Howard exclusively as a reliever. He played in 31 games for Florida, totaling 37 2⁄3 innings of work and posting a 1-1 record with a 5.50 ERA. He collected 33 K’s while walking 21 and surrendering 23 runs on 37 hits for a 1.540 WHIP. At the plate, he went 0-for-3 and he made six plays in the field without an error.
On September 24, Howard put in his best effort with the Marlins, pitching three hitless innings and striking out four in an 8-7 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Florida kept Howard for the 2005 season, but he spent the entire campaign at their Triple-A level with the Albuquerque Isotopes. Although he never got back to the majors, he played another three seasons in the minors, between the systems of the Cleveland Indians, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago Cubs, and the Milwaukee Brewers.
367. Steve Decker
Rock Island, Illinois native Steve Decker was a six-foot-three catcher when taken in the 21st round of the draft in 1988 by the San Francisco Giants. Two seasons later, he got to the majors with the club, and played for the parent level for a total of three years. He hit .219/.282/.308 in 166 games for them, with nine homers and 45 RBI. In the 1992 expansion draft following the season, Florida took them with the 35th selection.
Decker only played in eight games for the inaugural version of the Florida Marlins, and went 0-for-15 from the plate with one RBI, three walks and three strikeouts. Sent down to the Triple-A Edmonton Trappers through the entire 1994 season, Decker put up a ridiculous .390/.447/.606 slashline with 11 homers, 48 RBI, and more walks (27) than strikeouts (24).
Decker’s otherworldly slashline didn’t translate to the majors in 1995 with the Marlins. He put down a .226/.318/.323 with three jacks and 13 RBI in 51 games. He hit two doubles and a triple with a stolen base and 19 walks with 22 whiffs. In 346 innings behind the plate, he made five errors in 325 chances and threw out 12 baserunners in 38 attempts to steal. On July 25, he came a double short of the cycle in a 9-3 win against the Giants, collecting three RBI in the process.
Following the season, the Marlins granted Decker free agency. He went on to make additional major league appearances with San Francisco, the Colorado Rockies, and the Anaheim Angels.
366. Mike Morse
Fort Lauderdale native Mike Morse is a six-foot-five first baseman. In 2000, the Chicago White Sox took him in the third round of the draft out of Nova HS. In the middle of 2004, Chicago traded him with Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed to the Seattle Mariners for Ben Davis and Freddy Garcia.
Morse made his major league debut with the M’s in 2005, and played in parts of four seasons for Seattle. He later also played for the Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Giants. He made history in game five of the NLCS for the Giants in 2014 with a game-tying pinch-home run.
After helping the Giants to a World Series title, they granted Morse’s free agency just one day later. He opened the 2015 season with Miami.
Morse appeared in 53 games for the Marlins through the first part of the 2015 campaign. He put up a .211/.276/.313 slashline for Miami, with four homers and 12 RBI. He drew 12 walks, scored eight runs, and struck out 55 times. Defensively, he made 330 plays at first base without an error in 303 1⁄3 frames. The Marlins traded Morse as part of a three-team deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline.
Morse was immediately flipped to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and later also reappeared at the major league level with the Giants.