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Marlins sign RP Anthony Bass

The journeyman right-hander should be one of the leading contenders for the 2021 Marlins closer’s role.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Miami Marlins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent right-hander Anthony Bass has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Marlins, which includes a club option for the 2023 season. The deal is still pending a physical and a corresponding 40-man roster move, but when completed, it will represent by far the biggest new addition to the team so far this offseason.

Craig Mish was first to report Friday morning that an agreement was in place. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi added the length of the deal while MLBN’s Jon Heyman mentioned the $5M guarantee.

Bass’ career pitching stats

Earlier this month, the Marlins signed lefty Ross Detwiler for a one-year, $850,000 guarantee. Whereas Detwiler has oscillated between starting and relief duties during his career, Bass has worked exclusively out of the ‘pen since 2013.

The Marlins will be Bass’ fifth different MLB team in as many seasons, so it’s easy to understand why getting a multi-year commitment was important to him.

Playing for Toronto at age 32, Bass put up solid surface-level stats (3.51 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.01 WHIP in 25.2 IP). But according to Statcast batted ball data, there is potential for him to be more dominant. He increased his slider usage to a career-high 39% and the pitch accounted for 13 of his 21 total strikeouts.

Baseball Savant

Bass faced Marlins batters twice last season, the first time allowing a ninth-inning, game-tying home run to Francisco Cervelli. That was an anomaly, though: no other major leaguer has ever taken him deep on a 3-0 count. Overall, he went 7-for-9 in save opportunities for the Blue Jays and stranded all seven baserunners that he inherited.

For the moment, Bass and Yimi García are the main contenders to open the 2021 campaign as Marlins closer. But “they will add more to the pen from what I understand,” Mish tweets.

You can follow Anthony Bass on Twitter (@AnthonyBass52).

My initial prediction was that Bass would get approximately $8.5M. Perhaps he can reach that mark if his 2023 option is exercised, but only $5M in total guarantees for a better-than-average reliever with this kind of pure stuff is a smart gamble by the Fish front office.