In their first 40-man roster move since the lockout ended, the Marlins claimed right-hander Yoan López off waivers from the Phillies on Friday. Monte Harrison was designated for assignment to clear space for him on the 40-man. Mike Rodriguez of Univision first reported the waiver claim.
López pitched three seasons in the Cuban National Series before signing with the Diamondbacks in 2015. He reached the majors as a September call-up in 2018 and was a mainstay in Arizona’s bullpen from 2019-2020. After getting off to a slow start last season (6.57 ERA, 5.68 FIP, 1.95 WHIP in 12.1 IP), the D-backs designated him for assignment and traded him to the Braves. He spent the rest of 2021 with their Triple-A Gwinnett affiliate and got claimed by the Phils right before the MLB lockout.
The 29-year-old has a prototypical arsenal for a modern reliever. According to Statcast, López has increased his slider usage each year, throwing it nearly as often as his four-seam fastball last season. His heater averaged 95.7 miles per hour in 2021.
Thus far in his career, López has been too susceptible to hard contact to be trusted in high-leverage situations (one career save). He has allowed a 43.3 Hard Hit% overall.
López still has two minor league options remaining. Unless he thrives in spring training over these next few weeks, I would expect the Marlins to use one of those options and have him open the season in the Triple-A Jacksonville bullpen.
Harrison, 26, had cups of coffee with the Marlins’ big league club in 2020 and 2021. There’s no denying his tremendous athleticism—he pinch-ran and scored the game-winning run on the night that Miami beat the Yankees to clinch a 2020 postseason berth.
However, Harrison struck out in nearly half of his plate appearances at the highest level. He reportedly got into an altercation with then-teammate Starling Marte last July. It’s perhaps more than a coincidence that he wasn’t recalled from Triple-A for the rest of that campaign.
Despite the Marlins’ glaring void in center field, Harrison was not mentioned by Kim Ng as a viable internal option earlier this week. Clearly, they do not believe his swing-and-miss issues are fixable.
The Marlins did not need to cut bait with Harrison right now. Perhaps it speaks to how much they believe in speed-and-defense non-roster invitees Roman Quinn and Delino DeShields (whose signing was just announced on Friday).
Assuming Harrison is either traded or claimed—he can spend up to seven days in DFA limbo—Isan Díaz is the sole survivor from the prospect haul that the Marlins received in the 2018 Christian Yelich trade. And it would be unsurprising to see Díaz follow him out the door in the near future.