The Marlins and Rays have agreed on a swap of right-handed arms. Miami will send Justin Sterner and cash considerations to Tampa Bay for right-hander David Hess. The Marlins have selected Hess’ contract in order to add him to the active roster. To make room, Jordan Holloway was optioned to Triple-A.
For the Rays, this is a classic case of swapping out depth to take a chance on a younger arm. Sterner, 24, moved from Single-A to High-A this season, his first in pro ball after playing three seasons at Brigham Young University. He went undrafted out of BYU, signing with the Marlins in July, 2020.
Hess appeared in the bigs with the Orioles each season from 2018 to 2020. In total, he made 47 appearances (33 starts) totaling 190 1/3 innings, earning a 5.86 ERA/6.41 FIP, 16.8 percent strikeout rate, 8.1 percent walk rate and 33.7 percent groundball rate. Surrendering fly balls as he did, Hess yielded an unsightly 6.0 percent home run rate with Baltimore, a mark he’ll need to improve upon to add much value to Miami.
He did not appear in the Majors for the Rays, but given his numbers with the Durham Bulls this year, it’s not hard to understand Miami’s interest. Hess has a 2.81 ERA/3.96 FIP over 32 innings in Triple-A. He’s still a fly ball pitcher, but a 28.9 percent strikeout rate and 3.9 percent walk rate are promising numbers nevertheless.
As for Holloway, he’ll head back to Jacksonville with a 4.35 ERA/4.13 FIP in 20 2/3 innings. Holloway was knocked around in his last outing, giving up five earned runs in three innings on Wednesday. More to the point, with Pablo Lopez getting tossed after just one pitch on Friday, the Marlins are likely to move some pieces around to reset their rotation and account for the impromptu bullpen game.