The long-anticipated news arrived Monday that the Marlins have signed free agents Matt Joyce and Brandon Kintzler. But in a bizarre corresponding move, left-hander Jarlin García was designated for assignment to create space on the 40-man roster. Fellow left-hander José Quijada was also DFA’d.
During his age-26 season, García was far and away the most effective lefty in the Marlins bullpen (3.02 ERA/3.77 FIP/4.74 xFIP, 0.5 fWAR in 50.2 IP). He was also one of the longest-tenured players in the entire organization, signing with the Fish out of the Dominican Republic way back in August 2010. As Fish Stripes reported on regularly, García participated—and thrived—in the Dominican Winter League with Toros del Este this offseason in preparation for 2020. On the personal side, Monday happens to be his eighth wedding anniversary.
García isn’t even arbitration eligible yet (under club control through the 2023 season). Although there are signs he could regress from his 2019 form—allowed .259 wOBA compared to .308 xwOBA—multiple teams will have interest. Expect the Marlins to complete a trade in exchange for a young prospect (who doesn’t require a 40-man spot), similar to what happened in the cases of relievers Austin Brice and Kyle Keller.
Quijada, 24, disappointed as a rookie, performing far below replacement level during his 29 2⁄3 major league innings. The main issue was his sky-high 18.1% walk rate. Because of his combination of youth, mid-90s fastball velocity and two remaining minor league options, there’s a chance he gets claimed off waivers.
Of course, Kintzler will be a big help in high-leverage situations, but this pattern of repeatedly DFA’ing relievers has prevented the Marlins from building any semblance of bullpen depth for 2020. They’re banking on several pitching prospects to break through and immediately contribute when injuries inevitably occur. Otherwise, this team will struggle in close contests and underachieve its run differential, just like in 2019.
Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports that the Joyce deal is for a guaranteed $1.5 million with $250,000 available in incentives based on plate appearances. Therefore, it maxes out at $1.75 million, coincidentally the same amount that the Marlins paid newly retired Curtis Granderson last year to fill a similar outfield platoon role.
Joyce will wear uniform No. 7 and Kintzler will wear uniform No. 20. Read more about them in these previous posts: