The end of an era. Veteran right-hander Jose Ureña, the longest-tenured player in the Marlins organization and their two-time Opening Day starter, has been designated for assignment. Filling his spot on the 40-man roster, right-hander Adam Cimber is coming over from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations ($100,000, according to the Associated Press).
There’s an extreme contrast in styles between these two.
Cimber has averaged about 86 miles per hour on his fastball during parts of three seasons with the Padres and Indians—Ureña regularly exceeds that velocity with his offspeed pitches. But the newcomer has been able to find moderate MLB success (3.89 ERA, 3.86 FIP in 136.1 IP) thanks to great control and a unique arm slot.
In his career, Cimber has made three appearances against the Marlins (one of those at Marlins Park), retiring all 11 batters faced.
Cimber’s previous teams have used him exclusively out of the bullpen and there is every reason to believe that will continue with the Marlins. He could even find himself in a high-leverage role for them in 2021 if they don’t re-sign former closer Brandon Kintzler or find a comparable vet in free agency.
On the other hand, there is a real possibility that Cimber has already passed his peak. Consider his dramatic platoon splits in the majors: .650 OPS vs. righties, .954 OPS vs. lefties. Assuming that MLB’s three-batter rule is here to stay, it will be difficult to “hide” him from the latter in the same way managers could do pre-2020.
Cimber is actually one year older than Ureña despite having significantly less major league experience. He’ll very likely be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter, compiling enough service time to attain “Super Two” status. Regardless, the 30-year-old will remain under club control through at least the 2024 season (though this front office hasn’t cared much for reliever continuity in recent years, so let’s not look too far ahead).
As I wrote this morning, Ureña was a dead man walking in advance of Wednesday night’s MLB non-tender deadline. He was due a slight pay raise during his third and final pass through the arb process. Given the Marlins’ presumed payroll constraints, his struggles in 2020 and all of the organization’s young starting pitching depth, it was a straightforward decision to cut bait now rather than commit to a salary in the $4 million range.
Whereas Cimber had enough market value for the Indians to recoup cash considerations in this trade, Ureña is expected to go unclaimed and subsequently released without bringing any compensation in return. He can remain in DFA limbo for a maximum of seven days.
Ureña will conclude his Marlins tenure ranking highly on the franchise’s all-time leaderboards in numerous counting stats—he is among the top 15 in career innings pitched, starts, wins, strikeouts and hits allowed. Dontrelle Willis is the only Marlin in history with more hit batsmen (52) than Ureña had (39).
More updates to come...