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Marlins trade 1B Evan Edwards to Rays for RHP John Curtiss

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The Marlins are banking on Curtiss replicating his excellent 2020 season.

MLB: World Series-Los Angeles Dodgers at Tampa Bay Rays Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins have completed their third trade of the month. They’re getting right-hander John Curtiss from the Rays in exchange for first base prospect Evan Edwards (fourth round pick from the 2019 MLB Draft). To make room for Curtiss on the 40-man roster, Harold Ramirez has been designated for assignment,

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Curtiss turns 28 shortly after Opening Day. More specifically, he entered this world on April 5, 1993, the date of the first-ever Marlins regular season game (h/t Ethan Eibe). He has barely a year of MLB service time so he’ll remain under club control through at least 2025.

Baseball America ranked Curtiss as a Twins top-30 prospects entering 2018 (No. 21) and 2019 (No. 26). “Command and confidence appear to be the only things holding Curtiss back from a permanent spot near the back end of the Twins’ bullpen,” BA wrote. After failing to impress during early major league stints with Minnesota and quickly passing through the Angels organization, the Dallas, Texas native harnessed his potential in 2020. One of the adjustments he’s made is a big increase in slider usage (43.5% of his pitches last season).

Curtiss’ MLB career stats
Baseball-Reference

It’s a small sample (179 total batters faced in the majors), but Curtiss has interestingly performed better against left-handed opponents (.626 OPS against) than righties (.766 OPS against).

Tampa Bay also tried Curtiss as an “opener” three times in 2020. However, the Marlins will likely use him more conventionally in middle relief.

Edwards, a North Carolina State product, began his professional career in Batavia in 2019 before quickly moving up the MiLB ladder to Low-A Clinton. He thrived at the plate against Midwest League competition—.285/.361/.441, 8 HR, 134 wRC+—and provides plus defense at the position.

Though promising, he’s far outside the Marlins’ top 30 prospects and was not a candidate to reach The Show in 2021. The front office is very high on Lewin Díaz as their long-term first baseman.

Last time these Florida clubs traded with one another the Marlins added Jesús Sánchez and Ryne Stanek in exchange for Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards (July 31, 2019). Still time for the toolsy Sánchez to “put it all together,” but the early returns from that are concerning.

This marks the second time in the past week that the Fish have bolstered their bullpen with somebody who has World Series experience. Right-hander Dylan Floro faced off against Curtiss’ Rays last October as a member of the Dodgers.

Ramirez’s departure stings. He has been a .274/.311/.411 career hitter (92 wRC+) for the Marlins and isn’t even eligible for arbitration yet. He was their Opening Day cleanup hitter less than seven months ago! Despite suffering a season-ending hamstring injury, he played winter ball in his native Colombia and produced at a high level to demonstrate his readiness to contribute in 2021.

However, even before the Adam Duvall signing, his future was in doubt considering all of Miami’s outfield alternatives. You can read more about Hitting Harold’s situation here.