As the Miami Marlins continue their rebuild and remain at the bottom of the NL East, they did make two good signings that make sense in their current state.
It makes sense that the Miami Marlins wouldn’t be an active team in free agency given that they project to be one of the worst teams in baseball. That being said they have 162 games worth of innings and ABs that need to be filled. Based on that need, the Marlins have signed OF Matt Joyce and RHP Brandon Kintzler to 1-year deals.
If all goes according to plan, Joyce and Kintzler will both be shipped to a contending team for some type of return. Joyce is a corner outfielder that makes up the larger half of a platoon and Kintzler provides quality innings in the bullpen. Both had a decent amount of success last season.
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Joyce hit .295/.408/.450 good for a 128 wRC+ and totaled 1.2 fWAR as a lefty platoon bat primarily in RF for the NL East winning Atlanta Braves. 2019 represented a nice bounce-back year for Joyce after he struggled in the same capacity in Oakland in 2018. Joyce is a proven commodity and even at 35, some contending team will want him for the stretch run.
Meanwhile, Kintzler threw 57 solid innings for the Cubs with a 2.86 ERA and was their best reliever by WAR. He features a low spin fastball-changeup combo that work well together. Kintzler rode those two pitches to a 55% groundball rate which is a very effective tool to have out of a bullpen. That high groundball is a major reason why his Statcast expected statistics are above average despite hard-hit rate being one of the worst in the league.
Come July the Marlins won’t be looking at huge returns for these two players. That being said they could turn these guys into interesting low minors lottery tickets or a utility type who contributes at a number of positions. It doesn’t sound like much but when you’re where the Marlins are, every prospect counts from the blue-chippers to the lottery tickets.
For the Marlins, these are two low-risk signings of players who have been solid and could fetch some sort of return at the trade deadline. Another benefit is that Joyce and Kintzler have been in the MLB for a combined 20 years and will be able to teach the young Marlins how to be big leaguers. For Kintzler and Joyce, there are a lot worse places in the Country than Miami to make your living playing baseball (also no state income tax).
One day when the Miami Marlins are good, one of their studs will recall the tips and advice from guys like Joyce and Kintzler which will make these signings valuable long after they are gone.