The Marlins have designated right-hander Austin Pruitt for assignment, Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald was among those to relay. The move opens space on the active and 40-man rosters for reliever Paul Campbell, who has been activated from the COVID-19 injured list.
It’s the second time this season the Fish have designated Pruitt, whom they acquired alongside Bryan de la Cruz from the Astros in the Yimi García trade shortly before the deadline. Pruitt cleared waivers the first time and was selected back to the big league roster not too long after. He has made four relief appearances for Miami, tossing 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts and no walks.
Pruitt will now find himself back on the waiver wire, where the league’s 29 other teams will again have the opportunity to pick him up. The 32-year-old signed a $617.5K contract to avoid arbitration last winter, so he’s making just slightly more than the league minimum. Any claiming team would owe Pruitt the remainder of that salary (approximately $109K) for the season’s final month. If he were to pass through unclaimed, he’d have the right to elect free agency in lieu of an outright assignment.
In addition to swapping out Pruitt for Campbell, the Marlins will also add Zach Thompson to the bullpen. The 27-year-old has started all thirteen of his big league appearances but is moving to the relief corps for the stretch run, manager Don Mattingly informed reporters (including Daniel Álvarez Montes of ElExtraBase). That’s the role Thompson filled with Triple-A Jacksonville before his early-June promotion. All eight of his outings with the Jumbo Shrimp came in relief.
Miami will move forward with a starting group of Trevor Rogers (who returned from the restricted list yesterday), Sandy Alcantara, Jesús Luzardo, Elieser Hernández and top prospect Edward Cabrera. That’s an extremely exciting and talented group that figures to be the backbone of future Marlins’ clubs that should be more competitive than they’ve been this season. And that’s not even counting Sixto Sánchez and Max Meyer, who haven’t pitched in the majors this year (Sánchez due to injury, Meyer because it’s his first pro season) but have immense promise themselves.
Thompson isn’t as well-regarded as that group of high-octane arms, but he looks to be a great find himself. Signed to a minor league deal last offseason after spending seven seasons in the White Sox organization, Thompson has pitched well in his first big league look. The right-hander has worked 62 2/3 innings of 3.16 ERA ball. He has been the beneficiary of some batted ball luck and only has a 20.2% strikeout rate, but Thompson has also thrown a fair amount of strikes and generated whiffs at a decent 11.6% clip.
With that performance, Thompson should have solidified his spot on the 40-man roster over the upcoming offseason. He looks like a solid back-of-the-rotation option who could again be called upon as a starter in the event of injuries or underperformance next year. For now, the bullpen transition will help to keep his workload in check. Thompson’s 77 2/3 innings between Triple-A and the big leagues this year is his highest single-season total since he worked 93 1/3 frames in High-A back in 2017.