Hess, 28, opened the season in Durham after signing a minor league pact with Tampa Bay over the winter. He pitched quite well there before being traded to the Marlins in a July 4 swap that sent minor league righty Justin Sterner from Miami to the Rays. The Marlins immediately selected Hess to the big league roster upon acquiring him, but he wound up pitching just 18 innings there before being designated for assignment. He rejected an outright assignment in favor of free agency earlier this week.
Things were going fine for Hess in Miami for the most part early in his tenure. He worked to a 3.94 ERA with a 15-to-8 K/BB ratio through his first 11 appearances and 16 innings before being ambushed for seven runs in a single frame by the Rockies at Coors Field. He yielded another run in his next outing before being designated, ultimately concluding his time as a Marlin with an unsightly 8.00 ERA.
Hess pitched well with the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the year, however, working to a 2.81 ERA with a 28.9 percent strikeout rate and a tiny 3.9 percent walk rate in 32 frames. He’ll head back to that same environment for now and hope to rediscover that success.
A fifth-round pick of the Orioles back in 2014, Hess has now seen Major League time in parts of four seasons. He’s had some stretches of success, particularly late in his debut campaign in 2018, but has yet to find the consistency needed to stick at the big league level. Hess carries a 6.05 ERA in 208 1/3 Major League innings but a more palatable 3.55 ERA with a 26 percent strikeout rate and 7.3 percent walk rate in parts of three Triple-A seasons (119 innings).