The Marlins finished up their active trade deadline by making two more deals on Friday.
The first was a bit of a surprise as the team sent RF Adam Duvall to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for C Alex Jackson. It had been reported that the Marlins were in discussions with the Braves, but they were unlikely to send Duvall to their division rival. In the end Duvall returns to Atlanta where he spent the two seasons prior to his time in Miami.
Duvall had a mutual option with the club that he was unlikely to pick up at the end of the season, forcing the Marlins to get some value for the 32-year old right fielder. He had been one of the Marlins most productive hitters this season, blasting 22 home runs and driving in 68 runs in 91 games.
Jackson is a catcher that plays great defense and has big power at the plate. He has spent the majority of 2021 in Triple-A and put up good numbers, posting a .287/.366/.694/1.060 slashline with 11 home runs and 167 wRC+ in 30 games.
General manager Kim Ng said before Friday’s game the team was focused on adding at the catcher position.
“One of our primary targets was creating more depth at the catching spot,” Ng said. “I think we did that today with a couple of new catchers, so happy to have gotten that accomplished.”
Jackson has played in 19 MLB games over the course of the last three seasons and has just three hits in 50 plate appearances, bringing about obvious concerns about his ability to hit at this level. Jackson is set to join the Marlins in the coming days, and the next two months figure to be a try out for the 25-year-old catcher with the Marlins organization.
Ng discussed the acquisition of Jackson, who she said is having a great offensive season in Triple-A.
“He’s got a great bat, he can receive, he’s got a good arm,” Ng said. “So we’re excited to bring him into the organization.”
Henry, 24, was drafted by the Brewers in the sixth round of the 2016 draft. He played the first 30 games of 2021 in Double-A, posting a .315/.392/.405/.797 slashline and 125 wRC+. He was then called up to Triple-A and played 19 games there before the trade, putting up a .262/.338/.361/.699 slashline and 89 wRC+.
Ng discussed the type of player the Marlins are getting in Henry.
“By all accounts and our evaluation, this is a great kid” Ng said. “He comes in with an attitude that is beyond reproach and he is a guy that prepares for the game. With our organization being as pitching strong as it is, we really wanted to make sure we brought in catchers who would really have an understanding of the pitchers.”
Curtiss was one of the Marlins better relievers this season, posting a 2.48 ERA in 40 innings in multiple different roles out of the bullpen.
These two trades added to the Starling Marte for Jesús Luzardo swap with the Oakland Athletics and the Yimi Garcia for Bryan De La Cruz and Austin Pruitt deal with the Houston Astros to round out an active deadline.
The trade of Duvall opened the door for the Marlins to get a look at De La Cruz who was in the starting lineup on Friday, batting seventh and playing right field.
De La Cruz is a 24-year-old outfielder who had great numbers in Triple-A this season, putting together a .324/.362/.518/.880 slashline with 12 home runs and 113 wRC+ in 66 games.
Bryan De La Cruuuuuuuz!— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) July 31, 2021
New kid runs down this ball that had only a 65% catch probability pic.twitter.com/7aEc1gSgRn
The Marlins also called up OF Brian Miller, who they selected with the 36th pick in the 2017 Draft. Miller has had a long journey in the Marlins organization, playing 373 minor league games over four seasons. His career minor league slashline is .283/.338/.361/.698. He hit eighth and started in left field Friday. He is sure to get his fair share of at-bats as well down the stretch.
When Jesús Sánchez—currently in return-to-play protocols after going on the COVID-IL—returns, the Marlins are likely to have a starting outfield made up entirely of guys who spent time in Triple-A this season. Ng said it will be a good chance for the team to get a look at some of the bats they have that are Major League ready.
“One of the things we’ve always said about our young players is we want them to get their at-bats,” Ng said. “It’s tough for them to come be up here and sit on the bench so this is really a great way to see them.”
While the deadline was active for the Marlins, some expected even more action. Relievers such as Dylan Floro, Richard Bleier and Ross Detwiler stayed put, while Jesús Aguilar—who was reportedly a hot name on the market—did as well. The Marlins also did not make a big splash for 2022 as some had hinted they would do.
The reasons for that will become more clear in the coming days. CEO Derek Jeter made it clear that the team will continue to work to get better even after the deadline.
“Like I’ve said before, this year has been a disappointment up until this point,” Jeter said. “I think everybody in the clubhouse should be saying the same thing, if not then something’s wrong with them. We have high expectations so we have to figure out ways to get better.”
Ng believes the work the Marlins did at the deadline set them up well to make moves in the future.
“The trading deadline is only one period in time,” Ng said. “We talked to all the clubs multiple times, and really, in my mind, set the groundwork for future deals, whether it’s in the offseason, Spring Training, and leading up to Opening Day.”
CEO Derek Jeter shared the same sentiment.
“Just because it’s the trade deadline doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make the team better, the organization better,” Jeter said. “So we’ll continue to look at that.”
Jeter also said the Marlins had “a lot more inbound calls” this year than in years past. He said that shows they are building an organization filled with talent.
“Teams do not shy away from asking for the world in pursuing what they want,” Jeter said, “but I think it validates how we feel about our players.”
Despite that, Jeter did not shy away from the fact that the organization has to get better.
“When we got here, I told you what was gonna happen and what our goals were,” Jeter said. “I think we’re taking steps in the right direction to get better, but we have to get better on the field here in Miami.”
Asked how to take the next step, the Champion in Derek Jeter came out.
“Simple! Win more games than you lose.”