7:13pm: The deal could actually buy out a pair of free agent seasons, as Craig Mish of SportsGrid reports (on Twitter) there’s a 2024 club option as well. According to Mish, Bleier will receive $2.25MM this year and $3.5MM next season. The option is valued at $3.75MM and comes with a $250K buyout.
3:46pm: The Marlins are in agreement on a two-year, $6MM contract extension with reliever Richard Bleier, reports Daniel Álvarez Montes of El EtxtraBase (Twitter link). The deal extends Miami’s window of club control over the southpaw by a season, as he’d been ticketed to reach free agency at the end of the year. Bleier is represented by Vision Sports.
Bleier has spent the past year and a half in South Florida, as the Fish acquired him in August 2020 while their roster was being decimated by a COVID-19 outbreak. It looked like a nice buy-low for the Marlins at the time, as Bleier had performed well from 2016-18 before things went off track in 2019. Miami took a low-risk flier on him returning to his early-career form, and he’s done just that.
The Florida Gulf Coast product has made 87 appearances in a Marlins uniform, working 71 2/3 innings of 2.89 ERA ball. He’s certainly not the flashiest reliever, having only punched out 18.1% of batters faced. Yet Bleier has walked just 3.6% of opponents and he’s induced grounders on almost two-thirds of balls in play against him. Among 197 relievers with 50+ innings since the Marlins acquired him, only three (Aaron Bummer, Clay Holmes and Emmanuel Clase) have been more successful than Bleier at keeping the ball on the ground. Despite lacking high-velocity, swing-and-miss stuff, Bleier has held opposing hitters to a .242/.275/.337 line in that time.
That is more or less a formula Bleier has ridden to success for his entire career. Over parts of six big league seasons with the Yankees, Orioles and Marlins, he owns a 2.96 ERA with a 63.5% ground-ball rate in 249 innings. He was tagged for a 5.37 ERA in his disappointing 2019 campaign, but he rather incredibly owns a sub-3.00 mark in each of his other five seasons.
Bleier has been especially stifling against same-handed batters, holding lefties to a meager .218/.254/.296 mark in 455 career plate appearances. Righties have hit .297 against him, but Bleier’s combination of elite control and ground-ball numbers have held them to manageable .332 and .440 on-base and slugging marks, respectively.
Picking up a low-cost extra year of control looks like a nifty move for general manager Kim Ng and her staff. Bleier had been projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz for a $2.5MM salary via arbitration this season. Today’s deal thus amounts to around $3.5MM in additional money to keep him off the market next year. Bleier turns 35 years old in April and doesn’t have the kind of high-octane arsenal teams value in high-leverage situations, so he was never going to break the bank in free agency. That said, southpaws Aaron Loup (two years, $17MM) and Andrew Chafin (two years, $13MM) landed more significant money in free agency this winter despite similar track records as Bleier has established in recent years. Those hurlers are each a bit younger, but none commanded long-term commitments anyhow.
Bleier figures to return to a middle relief role for manager Don Mattingly this season. He’s the top southpaw in a bullpen mix that also includes Steven Okert and Sean Guenther. Miami quietly had one of the more productive bullpens in the game last season, finishing 7th as a group with a 3.81 ERA.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
Ah Miami, always good for obscure two year extensions for random relievers. He seems pretty solid though.
Richard Bleier is the man!
He pitched for the Yankees. Hard thrower and when he’s on, he’s pretty good. Certainly a good pickup for the Marlins, especially if they can get him consistent.
Maybe he was a hard thrower his early days but now don’t expect to see him go over 91.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I can’t remember why we traded him to Baltimore.
90 average velo, unless ur describing a decent HS #2 I don’t think “hard thrower” is applicable here
decent hs #2? tf ☠️ most high schools don’t even have a kid touching 90
Everyone is overlooking the Marlins as potentially winning the NL East or at least getting one of the wild cards. They have a loaded farm system
The deepest pitching in MLB, and it isn’t even close
Place a wager. You should get nice odds. The masses probably believe Marlins may be a force soon, but Atlanta is strong and Mets are trying to buy their way in.
You Can Put It In The Books
Deep yet unproven.
Deepest pitching? Lolol I needed a good laugh
I mean who has deeper pitching
the braves and the whitesoxs easily do
Marlins have very deep pitching. To suggest otherwise is quite ignorant.
Let everyone overlook the Marlins. I’m very ok with that.
Dusty Baker's tooth pick.
I envy the Marlins pitching as a braves fan. To underestimate them would be a huge mistake.
You Can Put It In The Books
Nobody is overlooking them ya troll. Go back under your bridge.
The pitching has to prove themselves. Stay healthy. If most of the guys do that then yeah they could be running out the best rotation in the game. But that’s because they have 8 guys with TOR stuff. And only one, and maybe another one or two,have proven themselves.
Until Meyer debuts successfully, Sixto and Cabrera find health and their stuff in the majors (Pablo must also find health), Luzardo fixes his whatever then we will see. Also now Eder is missing a year. Then at some point the king Eury will be ready.
Very good pitching. Excellent Catcher to handle them. Decent ML SS. The rest of the position players are pretty much routine – a little of this, a little of that, a little speed here, a little power there.
NLE gets a lot of pup as other than Miami all teams are in large / wealthy markets with national media influence. But even with the sexy off-season moves, all of them still have some shortcomings. However, still it’s hard to see the Marlins doing much unless they get some impact position players and learn as a team how to win games.
The Fish have talent but the mental aspect of the game is huge. We’ll see where they are mentally when they play Atlanta. No team throws at a player as much as they’ve thrown at Acuna if they actually believe in themselves as contenders.
Foolish Baseball fans, wya?
All hail king Richard
Dusty Baker's tooth pick.
I mean he wasn’t wrong about bleier.
Marlins fans should pray daily for expansion/realignment and get away from being the poor relations (by a LOT) in their division. Tough to compete with the gazillionaire in NY, and the wealthy folks with the other teams; not to mention, the Front Offices of those other teams are staffed with some pretty bright folks.
A 4-team division with Atlanta, TB, Charlotte (?) and Miami would be quite the horse race.
Who knows about a Charlotte team. But TB is definitely consistently better than Philly or the NYM.
At some point you gotta consider that spending does not equal winning. If the Rays can win why can’t the Marlins?
No one denies the Rays are exceptional with limited resources, But just because one poor slum kid graduates from Harvard doesn’t mean that poor slum kids aren’t at a basic disadvantage.
And yes, spending doesn’t equate sucess; again, no one doubts it. But it helps and increases your chances. And it SHOULD (the tanking rage excepted) prevent you from falling apart completely.
You Can Put It In The Books
Because the Marlins organization is run by a bunch of dropouts from the Krusty Burger leadership development program.
Marlins win NL East in 2022.
They could be surprisingly decent but winning the division is a stretch.
You Can Put It In The Books
Fish will need a lot to break their way to make a playoff run. As with all seasons, it comes down to a mix of avoiding injury and having a few players with career years. Even if it all breaks right for them, they’re more likely another year away from playoff contention.
The Marlins could finish 2nd in the NL East easily…..
I picked the Marlins for 3rd in the NLE last year.
Watched a lot of their games the first 6 weeks or so. Yes, the starting pitching looked very good; the bullpen, not so much. But the position players got to me. Ordinary is overstating it. They don’t play consistent D or O. And there’s this:
Don Mattingly surely knows far more baseball than me. But I watch a lot of games and see the way games are managed today. Mattingly is doing the “I’m being patient with these guys as they learn to play at the ML level” thing. That’s nice. But his position players are not young guys that just came up at the end of a rebuild. Most of those players have been around the majors for a while. Mattingly tends to make out that days line-up based on something, and then stays with it allowing for a pinch hitter or a defensive replacement. No. Teams are giving the manager analytics to make in-game moves that maximize match-ups. Mattingly didn’t do that in LA, he’s not doing it in Miami. Furthermore, the roster looks like one built for 5-7 years ago. Got a LH batter here, a RH batter there, etc. It doesn’t seem to have a nice mix of O players that hit some sort of pitches, or are productive in certain situations.
I watched the Marlins some as the year went on. The league caught up to Jazz’ hot start, he didn’t know what to do to counter. The lineup seemed to be based on who was injured, and there wasn’t any depth coming in from the high minors.
Cleveland and Tampa are 2 small market teams that are built around pitching. But if one watches their games the managers are making in-games moves with the position players based on situations, as they try to squeeze out enough runs to win behind their pitchers. I don’t see Miami doing that, or being able to do that.
While a lot of what you state can be fair, you didn’t emphasize one of your observations enough – the bullpen being not so good.
That to me was the main reason they had a poor season last year. Despite all of the flaws of their position players, they supported the starters enough to give the bullpen many leads that the bullpen subsequently blew in the last two innings. If they held just half of the games they blew, the Marlins were a .500 team last year. If they held a reasonable amount based on MLB norms, they were competing for the second Wild Card spot last year…and they would’ve finished in third in the NL East.
To me, I’m waiting to see if we get a legit Closer. Like last year, that will have a major impact on what we do this season. If we get no one, then we’ll continue to blow leads like last year.
You make an excellent point that escaped me……
The quality pitching teams – think Houston, SF, Giants, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Tampa, etc. tend to pick up relief pitchers sort of under the radar in the offseason (and/or promote guys from their farm system), then develop them during the season. Miami does none of that. Their entire objective for 2-3 years now is waiting on the starters to mature. Sure they need a closer – but teams need to develop their own bullpen….it’s a bullpen game.
Am very unimpressed with Mattingly, Stottlemyre, and Ng. They’re using theories that don’t work anymore. It may be one reason the owner had Jeter split. They need to get an up-to-date FO and hire a Manager and Coaching Staff that fits as well (and I’m a big Jeter fan).
This is a great value add deal for them when you look at his success relative to the money he agreed to. You got relievers out in free agency who are scrubs getting 8 million a year. Good for the Fish.
Was so hoping the Astros were gonna trade for him and Marte before last year’s trade deadline