Throughout the 2020-21 offseason, we’re recapping each of the 630 players to appear with the Marlins through their first 28 seasons.
Players were first sorted into brackets defined by their total plate appearances/batters faced while with the Marlins. We’re at the very bottom of the final bracket, of players to accrue 800 or more BF/PA with the franchise. Today’s group of three all provided figures below replacement level, according to bWAR.
126. Mike Jacobs
Mike Jacobs is a six-foot-three left-handed batting, righty throwing first baseman from Chula Vista, California. In 1998, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays took him in the 48th round out of high school. He didn’t sign just yet, and was again taken the following year, in the 38th round by the New York Mets, out of Grossmont College.
A catcher when he started his professional career, Jacobs spent his first six professional seasons without getting to the major league level. In 2005, he made his debut with the Mets, and went 31-for-100 with 11 homers and 23 RBI in 30 games. After the season, the Mets sent him with Grant Psomas and Yusmeiro Petit to the Marlins for Carlos Delgado.
Jacobs enjoyed a pretty good “official” rookie season with Florida in 2006, slashing .262/.325/.473 with 20 round-trippers and 77 RBI. He also stole three bases without getting caught, and drew 45 walks versus 105 strikeouts. By this point playing exclusively as a first baseman, Jacobs fielded at a .993 clip and came in 10 DRS below the National League average.
On May 15, Jacobs totaled a career-best six RBI, hitting two doubles and a home run in an 11-8 loss to the Atlanta Braves. On June 9, he went four-for-four with a double and a round-tripper in a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres. He totaled 35 multiple hit games that year, with five games of three or more.
In 2007, injury limited Jacobs to 114 games, but he produced at the plate much as he had the prior season, slashing .265/.317/.458 with 17 jacks and 54 RBI. He struck out 101 times and drew 31 walks, adding 27 doubles in the mix. He fielded at a .992 percentage, and ended the year six zone fielding runs below the NL average for first basemen.
Jacobs totaled 29 multiple hit games through 2007, with nine three-hit contests. He started the season getting on base in his first 17 games, resulting in a .413 OBP through April 28. On September 11, he totaled his highest WPA of the season when he went three-for-three with a double and five RBI in a 13-8 victory over the Washington Nationals.
In 2008, Jacobs saw his batting average dip while his power numbers surged. He slashed .247/.299/.514 with 27 doubles, 32 homers and 93 RBI, but his fielding was again an Achilles heel. In spite of a not-terrible .988 fielding percentage, he was 24 DRS below average. On July 27, Jacobs went three-for-four with a pair of homers and five RBI in total, accounting for most of Florida’s offense in an 8-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Jacobs lack of defensive acumen resulted in him finishing 2.9 wins below replacement level in 391 big league games for the Marlins. For context, if Jacobs had been an “average” fielder, he would have ranked 68th on our countdown, instead of down in the mid-120s.
After the 2008 season, the Marlins traded Jacobs to the Kansas City Royals for Juan Carlos Oviedo, then known as Leo Núñez. He hit just .228 with 19 homers in 128 games for the Royals, slugging at a disappointing .401 clip. He later played in seven games for the Mets in 2010 and 13 more for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012. He retired with exactly 100 home runs.
125. David Weathers
David Weathers is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. In a 19-season major league career, he was 73-88 with a 4.25 ERA for nine teams in total. He got his start in 1988 when the Toronto Blue Jays chose him in the third round of the draft out of Motlow State Community College, incidentally the same alma mater as Bryan Morris.
Weathers made his major league debut with the Jays in 1991, and pitched a total of 18 innings over parts of two seasons in the show. He walked 17 and struck out 16, while giving up 12 runs. Left unprotected, the Marlins picked him up with the 29th pick of the 1992 expansion draft.
Through Florida’s inaugural season, Weathers was mostly organizational depth. He pitched 141 innings at the Triple-A level with the Edmonton Trappers. When he did pitch for the Marlins, he struck out 34 and only walked 13 in 45 2⁄3 innings, holding down a 5.12 ERA and a 1.533 WHIP. Although largely a net-negative for the season, he did have moments of brilliance, notably on September 6. In a 2-0 win over the San Diego Padres, he struck out seven and allowed three hits and one walk over eight shutout innings.
In 1994, Weathers took 24 turns in the Marlins rotation through the lockout-shortened season. He went 8-12 with a 5.27 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 135 innings, along with a 1.667 WHIP. Despite coming in a half-win below replacement level, 14 of his 24 starts through the season were “Quality Starts.”
When play resumed in 1995, Weathers started 15 times and came in out of the bullpen in an additional 13 appearances. In 90 1⁄3 innings, he walked 52 and struck out 60, WHIPping a 1.727 mark with a 5.98 ERA. He struggled to find the strike zone, as evidenced by his 59 percent strike rate, and allowed half of his inherited baserunners to cross the plate.
Weathers started in eight-of-31 Marlins appearances in 1996, and allowed opponents to slash at a .302/.373/.441 rate. His strike-rate dropped another tick, to 58 percent, and 54 percent of his inherited runners scored. At the trade deadline, Florida traded Weathers to the New York Yankees for Mark Hutton.
After playing with the Bombers, Weathers appeared with the Cleveland Indians, the Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Chicago Cubs, the New York Mets, and the Houston Astros. Released by Houston on September 7, 2004, the Marlins signed him for a second time the following day.
Weathers only pitched in eight games for the Marlins his second time through, starting twice. He struck out 10 and walked seven in 16 2⁄3 innings, with a 1.200 WHIP. They didn’t pursue him for another season, but Weathers found employment with the Cincinnati Reds for the next five seasons before finishing his career in 2009 with the Brewers.
124. Wei-Yin Chen
Wei-Yin Chen is a six-foot left-handed throwing pitcher from Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. Now 35-years-old, Chen started his career with Chunichi in the Japan Central League, posting a 37-30 record and a 2.57 ERA in parts of five seasons.
Prior to 2012 Spring Training, Chen signed a deal with the Baltimore Orioles. He ended up starting 117 games for them over the four seasons with the club, going 46-32 with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP. The Marlins were convinced that Chen had more of the same in store for future seasons, and signed him to a five-year, $80 million deal before the 2016 season.
Chen was not healthy for a full season while with Miami, and managed a 13-19 record and a 5.10 ERA in 53 starts and 49 trips out of the pen. He pitched to a 1.327 WHIP and struck out 299 batters in 358 innings.
Even though Chen never produced the way the Marlins had hoped, he did manage to strike out three times as many batters as he walked overall. On May 11, 2016, Chen struck out a dozen Brewers in a 3-2 win over Milwaukee. He allowed two runs on six hits over 6 1⁄3 innings.
After the 2019 campaign, the Marlins decided to eat the rest of Chen’s deal. They released him, and still paid him $22 million. He signed on with the Seattle Mariners, but hasn’t appeared in a contest since his time with Miami.
Check back here tomorrow for three more players on the way to the top of our Marlins Countdown.