2:55pm: The Marlins have announced the trade, revealing that they’ll acquire fellow righty Jordan Milbrath from Cleveland in the deal.
Milbrath, 27, reached Triple-A for the first time last season but was hit hard in a small sample of 13 2/3 innings. He spent the bulk of the season in Double-A, where he notched a 3.42 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a gaudy 60.9 percent ground-ball rate. Milbrath’s ground-ball rate has exploded over the past two seasons — he was north of 70 percent in 2017 — though his success to date has come against younger competition. He’ll turn 28 on Aug. 1, making him a bit too old to be considered a “prospect,” perhaps, though his ground-ball tendencies still make him an intriguing bullpen candidate for the Marlins.
1:50pm: The Indians have reached a deal to acquire right-handed reliever Nick Wittgren from the Marlins, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. Cleveland will send a minor league pitcher to Miami in return.
Wittgren, 27, was somewhat surprisingly designated for assignment by the Marlins last week. On the surface, the righty pitched quite well, working to a 2.94 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 0.27 HR/9 and a career-best 46 percent ground-ball rate in 33 2/3 innings for the Fish. It’s unlikely that he’d be able to replicate the good fortune he had in terms of allowing home runs (one allowed; 2.7 percent homer-to-fly ball ratio), however, and the four walks he averaged on a per-nine-inning basis was the highest mark of his career.
Nonetheless, Wittgren has a career 3.60 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 127 2/3 of big league relief and still has a minor league option remaining, so the Indians will be able to shuttle him back and forth between Cleveland and their Triple-A affiliate in Columbus this season if need be. Wittgren doesn’t throw especially hard, averaging a bit better than 92 mph on his heater, and he doesn’t generate gaudy spin rate totals. However, he’s still managed solid results to this point in his career and represents a sensible addition for a Cleveland club that is facing enormous uncertainty in the bullpen while also navigating payroll concerns.