Baltimore Orioles send LHP Richard Bleier home to Miami

As the Miami Marlins continue to attempt to fill out their roster, they have acquired LHP Richard Bleier from the Baltimore Orioles.

Immediately after the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night, the team announced that they have traded left-handed relief pitcher Richard Bleier to the Miami Marlins for a player to be named later.

The Marlins have been active on the waiver wire and free agent market after 18 players recently tested positive for COVID-19, an outbreak that has put the Marlins season on hold since July 26th (along with the Philadelphia Phillies).

Bleier, 33, has had a successful four-year run with the Baltimore Orioles since being acquired in a February 2017 trade with the New York Yankees.

In his first season at Camden Yards, Bleier owned a 1.99 ERA and 1.18 WHIP across 63.1 innings, walking just 4.9% of hitters he faced.

His second season was equally as effective, despite an injury that limited him to 32 innings. Bleier again recorded a sub-2.00 ERA (1.93) and slashed his already low walk rate to 3%.

Despite a 5.37 ERA in 53 appearances last season, Bleier continued to do two things very well that have come to characterize his major league career, he kept the ball on the ground and in the ballpark and he rarely walked anyone.

In five major league seasons with the Orioles and Yankees, Bleier owns a 0.61 HR/9 IP rate, a 3.9% walk rate, and a 62.4% groundball rate.

It’s safe to say that he is fully healthy in 2020 after his first two outings with the Orioles this week. Bleier allowed one hit across three innings, striking out four and not walking a single batter. In his very small sample size, Bleier posted an 83% groundball rate.

Bleier won’t overpower hitters with a fastball that has never averaged over 90 mph in his career, but his ability to miss barrels, keep the ball on the ground, and keep runners off base have been valuable out of the bullpen.

For the rebuilding Orioles, trading away a 33-year-old bullpen arm doesn’t change anything, except opening up another spot for a young arm to see some innings during a shortened 2020 season. But this is the first of a few possible moves the organization could make by this year’s August 31st trade deadline.

This is the second trade the Baltimore Orioles have made this week, also sending reliever Hector Velasquez to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later. Since teams can only trade players in their 60-man player pool this season, moving pieces for a PTBNL is a way around the rule.

Bleier brings two more seasons of control with him to Miami and now has the opportunity to return home to South Florida. Stay safe, Bleier.