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Offishial news, 2/10/21: Adam Duvall signing reaction, consequences

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The Marlins have a deal in place with one of the best remaining power bats on the market.

Cincinnati Reds v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Pros, cons of Duvall signing

The Marlins got better on Tuesday, agreeing with Adam Duvall on a one-year, $5 million deal (pending physical).

If nothing else, he will be a fun player to watch. Duvall barrelled 13.9% of his batted balls in 2020. That ranked 21st among 142 Major League Baseball qualifiers, sandwiched between Joey Gallo and J.T. Realmuto. And his barrel rate was even higher the previous year.

Last season, the Marlins were bereft of power threats against right-handed pitching. Despite being at the platoon disadvantage, Duvall can contribute in that department (.504 SLG vs. RHP since 2019).

Deployed in left field for most of his career, Duvall played 17 games (16 starts) in right for the 2020 Braves. He certainly has the arm to handle that position.

On days when Duvall isn’t in the starting lineup, the Marlins could bring him in as a late-inning defensive replacement for Corey Dickerson in left.

However, I won’t shy away from Duvall’s flaws. There are reasons why he earned substantially less in free agency than fellow corner outfielders Kyle Schwarber, Eddie Rosario, Adam Eaton, etc. The fact that he was even on the market this offseason is its own red flag (the Braves non-tendered him).

Duvall owns a lifetime .293 on-base percentage. He’s been above .306 in only one season (2019). He performs poorly on balls in play—career .268 BABIP—because he’s so pull-happy. Opponents have noticed, using infield shifts in 68.3% of his plate appearances last season.

Baseball Savant

Enjoyable as it is to watch Duvall’s dingers, those come with lots of strikeouts. He set a new personal best in 2020 by K’ing 25.8% of the time, but that’s still worse than the MLB average. Also, his success rate when it comes to making productive outs has been in steady decline through the years.

The Marlins made this signing understanding that their 40-man roster was full. The corresponding move to create a spot for Duvall is almost as intriguing as the addition of Duvall himself.

To me, Duvall is simply a better version of Lewis Brinson. While Brinson does have one minor league option remaining, this would be an appropriate time to close the book on his Marlins tenure before he gives us false hope all over again with a red-hot spring training. My suspicion, though, is that Harold Ramirez gets designated for assignment instead. Craig Mish alluded to that possibility recently in the Miami Herald (referring to him as an “odd man out”), and he would bring back more value via trade than Brinson would at the moment.

Mish noted on Tuesday that Garrett Cooper is drawing interest from the Dodgers and Padres in the midst of this roster crunch, but that does not mean the Marlins have mutual interest in making a deal. Cooper possesses enough defensive versatility to co-exist with Duvall and would be integral to any chances that the Fish have of being semi-competitive in 2021. Deciding to trade him now would shock me.

Check the Fish Stripes podcast feed Wednesday night for a special episode addressing this situation.

Walk-off links

  • Alex Contreras brought Tyler Wilson and Daniel De Vivo on Marlins Barbecue for a wide-ranging conversation about expectations for the 2021 Marlins season.