The Marlins announced on Thursday that they’ve designated right-hander Jordan Yamamoto for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to right-hander Anthony Bass, whose previously reported two-year deal is now official.
Yamamoto, 24, was one of four players the Fish received from the Brewers in their ill-fated Christian Yelich swap. He debuted with Miami in 2019 and found some success, starting 15 games and working to a 4.46 ERA in 78 2/3 innings. Yamamoto punched out a quarter of the batters he faced but also struggled with control, issuing free passes at an 11 percent clip. The 2020 season, however, was a different story entirely. The right-hander was absolutely tattooed in 11 1/3 frames, yielding 23 earned runs on 27 hits and seven walks. Even more alarming was that eight of those hits cleared the fences for home runs.
Notably, Yamamoto’s 2019 season ended with an IL placement due to a forearm strain. In 2020, his already modest 91.5 mph average fastball dropped to just 89.8 mph. He didn’t spend any time on the injured list in 2020, but it’s certainly plausible that there were physical reasons for his drop in velocity and his abrupt downturn in production.
Yamamoto has never been considered a high-end prospect, but he’s had success in the upper minors and in the big leagues despite being more than three months from turning 25 years of age. He also has above-average spin on his four-seamer and curveball in addition to still possessing a minor league option. All of that could make him appealing to another club via waivers or a minor trade. Miami will have a week to trade Yamamoto, place him on outright waivers or release him.