The Reds have acquired right-hander Ryan Lillie from the Marlins for international bonus money, per C. Trent Rosecrans of the Athletic (Twitter link). $750K of availability is going to Miami in the swap, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (via Twitter).
Lillie, 22, was a fifth round pick of the Marlins in the 2017 draft. Though he showed plus command (1.12 BB/9 for Low-A Greensboro this season) in his initial low-level taste, Lillie seems little more than organizational depth at this point: at season’s end, he didn’t rank in the top thirty for a mid-pack Marlins system in any major publication. Baseball America (subscription required) does note that he has a chance to be a back-end reliever, lauding his ’above-average’ slider, though the Marlins used him almost exclusively in a starting role.
For the Marlins, the incentive seems clear: stockpile as much international bonus pool money as possible in hopes of luring star free agent Victor Victor Mesa to Miami. The Fish, who began the day with $4.3MM in pool money, have baseball’s second-highest total in that department and figure to be key players for the 22-year-old when the time comes.