The Marlins have signed veteran right-handed reliever Nick Vincent to a minor league contract and will add him to the team’s 60-player pool, president of baseball ops Michael Hill told reporters Monday (Twitter link via the Miami Herald’s Jordan McPherson). They’ll also add infielder/outfielder Sean Rodriguez once a minor league deal to re-sign him has been wrapped up. Perhaps of most interest to Fish fans, though, is that No. 3 overall pick Max Meyer will be added to the pool as well. That trio of moves will fill the Marlins’ initial pool.
Vincent, 33, had some uncharacteristic struggles with the Giants a year ago when he posted an ugly 5.58 ERA in 30 2/3 innings. A strained pectoral muscle may have been to blame, though, as Vincent was sharp for his first six weeks with San Francisco (2.25 ERA in his first 24 frames) before imploding over the next two weeks and eventually landing on the injured list. By the time he was healed up, the Giants opted to simply cut him loose. He caught on with the Phillies and yielded just three runs in 14 innings with a 17-to-4 K/BB ratio to close out the year.
From 2012-18, Vincent was quietly a very effective reliever. Over the life of 332 innings with the Padres and Mariners in that time, he compiled an impressive 3.17 ERA and 3.09 FIP with 9.0 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and 0.78 HR/9. Soft-tossing, extreme fly-ball righties aren’t exactly en vogue these days — Vincent averages 89.7 mph on his fastball and has a career 33.9 percent grounder rate — but there’s no denying Vincent’s solid track record. And if he does make his way to the Miami ’pen, their spacious home park should help to keep those airborne balls in the yard.
The 35-year-old Rodriguez can play virtually anywhere on the diamond and has typically been a solid, albeit unspectacular bat against left-handed pitching. That makes him a nice potential bench bat for a club with an expanded roster in 2020, though. Rodriguez’s 2017-18 seasons were ruined by an offseason car accident in 2016 that ultimately led to shoulder surgery, but he turned things around to an extent last year. After batting .167/.277/.305 in the wake of that car crash, he logged a .233/.348/.375 line with Philadelphia in 2019.
Meyer, 21, is one of the best pitchers in the history of the University of Minnesota. The now-former Gopher ace was long expected to be a top 10 pick, but the Marlins still surprised some pundits by passing over fellow college arms like Asa Lacy and Emerson Hancock as well as Vanderbilt third baseman Austin Martin in order to scoop up Meyer third overall earlier this month. With a triple-digit fastball, a plus slider and a career 2.13 ERA and 187-to-41 K/BB ratio in 148 college innings, it’s easy to see why the Marlins were so enamored of Meyer though.
Many scouting reports on Meyer picked him to be among the fastest players to reach the Majors from this year’s draft — if not the fastest. The Athletic’s Keith Law even suggested that some clubs might be bullish enough to think that Meyer could pitch in the Majors as soon as this season, although that accelerated timeline would burn a year of control and service for the Marlins despite the fact that they’re not expected to contend. Anything can happen in a shorter season, though, so if the Fish do get out to a torrid start, perhaps they’ll be emboldened to bring Meyer up to the big leagues in an effort to bolster their staff.