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All-Time Marlins Countdown: Chapter 48

Today’s Marlins countdown story features Jason Grilli and Joe Klink.

Florida Marlins v Cleveland Indians - Spring Training

The Marlins have had exactly 630 players take the field through their first 28 seasons of regular season play, comprising 4,364 contests.

Today’s group of five features players who all finished exactly at replacement level, according to Baseball Reference. Each of them finished between 75 and 249 plate appearances/batters faced for the team, and each of them have a first name that begins with the letter “J.” No, this is not in any way in alphabetical order—sometimes, things just sorta...happen.

340. Jeremy Hernandez

Jeremy Hernandez was a six-foot-five, right-handed reliever from Burbank, California. In 1987, the St. Louis Cardinals chose him in the second round of the draft, out of California State University, where he posted a 5.62 ERA in 131 13 innings of Division 2 play.

In 1989, prior to making his major league debut, the Cardinals traded Hernandez to the San Diego Padres for Randy Byers. It was with the Friars for whom Hernandez first got to the majors.He also played for the Cleveland Indians prior to the Marlins leg of his career. In 105 games, he struck out 104 in 162 23 innings, with a 1.31 WHIP and a 3.43 ERA. He was 7-11 with 11 saves. Just before the start of the 1994 season, the Tribe traded Hernandez to the Marlins for Matt Turner.

Hernandez appeared 21 times out of the bullpen for the Marlins in 1994, striking out 13 in 23 13 innings. He only gave up 16 hits, including zero home runs, but also walked 14. He was 3-3 with nine saves, a 2.70 ERA, and a 1.29 WHIP, and threw strikes on 57 percent of his 368 pitches. On May 14, he struck out a batter in 1 23 perfect innings, earning his seventh save of the season in a 6-4 win against the Chicago Cubs.

Hernandez came back to the Marlins at the parent club in 1995, but only appeared in seven games, allowing 12 earned runs. In 1996, he played for the Visalia Oaks in the High-A California League.

339. Jason Grilli

Jason Grilli is a six-foot-five, right-handed pitcher from Royal Oak, Michigan. The New York Yankees were the first team to draft him, in the 24th round in 1994 out of high school. He didn’t sign, instead playing Division 1 ball for Seton Hall. In his final season for the Pirates, he struck out 125 in 81 13 innings, while racking up a 1.17 WHIP.

Marlins Media Day X

After that, the San Francisco Giants took Grilli in the first round in 1997, fourth overall. Before getting to the majors, the Giants traded him to the Marlins for Liván Hernández. Prior to the 2000 season, he was ranked as the Marlins number eight prospect by Baseball America.

Although he later found success as a reliever, Grilli started in six of his seven appearances for the Marlins. He was 3-2 with a 5.94 ERA and 20 whiffs in 33 13 innings, along with a 1.62 WHIP. On April 20, 2001, Grilli put down his best effort for the Marlins, pitching seven innings of three-hit ball in a 5-1 win over the Montreal Expos. He went three-for-nine from the plate, with a home run and three RBI. After leaving the Marlins, he never again collected a major league hit.

The Chicago White Sox chose Grilli in the 2003 rule 5 draft. He also played for the Detroit Tigers, the Colorado Rockies, the Texas Rangers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Los Angeles Angels, the Atlanta Braves, and the Toronto Blue Jays, going 34-47 with 79 saves, a 4.22 ERA, and 9.1 K/9 through his 15-season major league career.

338. Jorge Sosa

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native Jorge Sosa is a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher. He signed his first professional contract in 1995 with the Colorado Rockies at the age of 17.

Prior to making his way to the majors, Sosa was drafted in 2000 by the Seattle Mariners in the “minor league” draft, and in 2001 by the Milwaukee Brewers in the rule 5 draft. Before the 2002 season even started, he was selected off waivers by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after the Brewers cut ties.

Chicago Cubs v Florida Marlins Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images

Sosa played with the Rays, the Atlanta Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Mets, and the Washington Nationals over the next eight seasons. He went a collective 42-50 with seven saves and a 4.72 ERA, and started in 88 of his 272 total appearances.

In April, 2010, Sosa signed a free agent deal with the Marlins. He pitched 36 23 innings in 22 appearances, starting four ties. He whiffed 19 and walked 18 during that time, allowing 19 earned runs for a 4.66 ERA. He posted a 1.56 WHIP, and plated 58 percent of his 612 pitches for the Marlins. On July 25, he pitched two scoreless innings to earn the 5-4, 11-inning victory over the Braves.

337. Jake Marisnick

Jake Marisnick is a six-foot-four center fielder from Riverside, California who last played for the New York Mets. A right-handed hitter and thrower, he was initially drafted in round three of the 2009 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

After the 2012 season, Marisnick was included in the 12 player deal between Toronto and the Miami Marlins, along with Henderson Alvarez, Anthony DeSclafani, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, and Justin Nicolino for Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, and José Reyes.

Miami Marlins v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

At the time, Baseball America ranked Marisnick as the number 64 prospect in baseball. He spent a lot of the season at the Double-A level with the Jacksonville Suns, where he hit .294 in 67 games, with 12 homers and 46 RBI. In 40 games for the Marlins in his first major league look, he went 20-for-109 from the plate, with two doubles, a triple, a homer, and five RBI. He drew six walks, scored six runs, struck out 27 times, and stole three bases in four attempts. In 261 innings in center field, he made 75 putouts and five assists without making an error. On August 2, he went three-for-five with a double and an RBI in a 10-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Marisnick joined the Marlins for 14 games in 2014, and went eight-for-48 from the plate with no extra base hits and no RBI. He did steal five bases without getting caught, and was again flawless in the outfield for 108 innings. At the trade deadline, the Marlins sent him with Francis Marte, Colin Moran, and a round A pick to the Houston Astros for Austin Wates, Jarred Cosart, and Enrique Hernandez.

Since then, Marisnick appears in 631 games for the Astros, hitting .232/.285/.396 with 53 home runs and 173 RBI, with 65 stolen bases. The 2020 season would see him go 11-for-33 in 16 games for the Mets. He’s currently a free agent.

336. Joe Klink

Joe Klink is a five-foot-11, left-handed pitcher from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In 1983, the New York Mets chose him in the 36th round out of St. Thomas University, in Miami Gardens.

Klink’s road to the majors was long and bumpy. He made his debut in 1987 with the Minnesota Twins, pitching 12 times out of the bullpen, but didn't get back until 1990 with the Oakland Athletics. He pitched in 102 games for the A’s over the next two seasons, going 10-3 in 1991.

After not appearing in the majors in 1992, the Marlins signed Klink through free agency in January 1993. Although not a “rock star” by any standards, Klink tied for the Marlins’ lead with 59 appearances with Bryan Harvey. That’s where the comparison ended, however. Harvey posted a 1.70 ERA and saved 45 games, while Klink put up a 5.02 ERA and walked more (24) than he struck out (22).

Klink’s tenure in Florida was not without standout moments. On July 22, in a 7-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, he struck out three over two scoreless innings. On August 31, he pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out one Padre and earning his eighth hold of the season in a 2-1 victory over San Diego. The Marlins released Klink just prior to the 1994 season.

Three years later, Klink returned to the majors, but only pitched 2 13 innings for the Seattle Mariners.

Check back here tomorrow for Chapter 49, featuring Corey Dickerson.