In the midst of their worst mini-slump of the 2020 season, the Marlins announced a series of roster moves prior to Tuesday’s game. Rookie right-hander Humberto Mejía was recalled from the alternate training site to make his start against the Mets. On a more surprising note, independent ball pick-ups RHP Brett Eibner and LHP Brandon Leibrandt are joining the bullpen. As corresponding moves for Eibner and Leibrandt, Justin Shafer has been optioned and Brian Moran (right knee patella tendinitis) is headed to the 10-day IL. Mike Morin’s elbow injury is apparently a severe one as he’s been transferred to the 45-day IL. Also, outfielder Corey Dickerson is back from the bereavement list—he had been away from the club the past three games.
In selecting the contracts of Eibner and Leibrandt, the Marlins 40-man roster is now completely full.
The former came up through the Royals farm system and played in the majors as an outfielder from 2016-2017 with K.C., the Athletics and Dodgers. Eibner has been honing his craft on the mound the past three seasons, most recently in the Constellation Energy League. The 31-year-old’s fastball allegedly tops out around 96 miles per hour, which would be a welcome change from this staff’s soft tendencies.
Leibrandt, on the other hand, has no major league experience. His contract was purchased from the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League. He began 2020 by racking up 12 innings pitched in his three indy ball starts, so he ought to be capable of providing some length in relief if needed. The former Phillies farmhand underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018. His father, Charlie, pitched in parts of 14 MLB seasons.
The Marlins single-season record for most pitchers used is 31 from both the 2010 and 2016 teams. If both Eibner and Leibrandt take the mound, the Fish will tie that record.
Enjoy them while they’re up, because it’s unlikely that either will remain on the active roster beyond the next week or so. Daniel De Vivo detailed the looming 40-man crunch earlier today.
Mejía, 23, had an intriguing debut in New York on August 7, striking out 6 of 11 batters faced. With no off days for the team until the end of the month, the hope is that he can work more efficiently against the Mets this time and make it through their lineup twice.
Prior to his absence, Dickerson’s 2020 campaign had gotten off to a slow start: .208/.283/.313, 69 wRC+, -0.2 fWAR in 53 PA. His barrel rate (5.1%) and hard hit rate (28.2%) are at career lows. However, he continues to work deep counts and serve as a willing mentor to younger players on the roster. The 31-year-old is expected to start regularly in left field for the foreseeable future.
Dickerson is under contract through the 2021 season.