JULY 9: The Marlins announced that Locke has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A.
[Updated Marlins depth chart at Roster Resource]
Locke signed a one-year, $3.025MM deal with Miami last winter to add some depth to the back of the Marlins’ rotation, though his tenure with the club simply hasn’t gotten on track. Locke missed most of Spring Training with bicep tendinitis and didn’t make his season debut until June 1. In seven starts and 32 IP, Locke has an ugly 8.16 ERA, though ERA indicators (4.55 FIP, 4.99 xFIP, 5.04 SIERA) are somewhat more forgiving considering Locke’s .365 BABIP and 52.5% strand rate. The low point was last night’s disastrous start against the Cardinals that saw Locke charged with 11 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Never a big strikeout pitcher, Locke’s 7.31 K/9 is actually a career high, though he hasn’t helped his cause with a 4.22 BB/9. Locke’s grounder rate is also down from his career norms, and he is on pace for both a career-high in hard-hit balls allowed (35.1%) and a career low in soft contact (12.6%).
Locke entered the season with a decent track record as an innings-eater during his previous stint with the Pirates, though his performance took a sharp decline in 2016 and he lost his job in Pittsburgh’s rotation. The Marlins had considered using Locke in a bullpen role this season, so it’s possible another team (or even Miami, should Locke stay in the organization) could look into adding him as some left-handed or long relief depth. Locke has just under $1.5MM owed to him for the year, so interested teams could wait until he clears waivers, which would leave the Marlins responsible for that remaining salary (minus the prorated MLB minimum, which would be covered by a new team).