The Marlins have announced a number of designations on Rule 5 protection day. Right-handers Elieser Hernandez, Nick Neidert, Jeff Brigham, José Devers and Lewin Diaz for assignment (h/t to Joe Frisaro). In corresponding moves, Miami added George Soriano, Josh Simpson and Eli Villalobos onto the roster.
Brigham threw 24 innings of 3.38 ERA ball out of the Marlins’ bullpen this year, posting solid strikeout (27.7%) and walk (9.9%) rates. Those are decent enough results that should leave Brigham with options for 2023, but the 30-year-old was arbitration eligible and a likely non-tender candidate, so the Marlins opted to cut him loose in favor of a freed up 40-man spot. Neidert and Hernandez are the others pitchers Miami cut loose. Neidert only appeared in one game for the Marlins this year, but had a 1.96 ERA at Triple-A in 46 innings. Hernandez struggled mightily in the big leagues, winding up with a 6.35 ERA across 62 1/3 innings.
Miami also parted ways with hitters Devers and Diaz. Devers appeared in 21 games as a middle infielder, slashing .244/.304/.317 without a home run. Diaz has struggled in parts of three seasons in the big leagues for Miami. The first baseman hit just .169/.224/.288 with five home runs in 174 plate appearances this year. He did grade out well defensively, but his lifetime .181/.227/.340 line was never going to be enough from a bat-first position.
The Marlins used the open spots to add a trio of intriguing arms to their 40-man roster. Villalobos blew away Triple-A hitters in 17 1/3 innings this year, striking out 26 and posting a 1.04 ERA. Simpson did the same, striking out 23 batters in 12 1/3 innings after being called up from Double-A. Soriano didn’t post any big strikeout numbers, but the 2.49 ERA he wound up with over 47 Triple-A innings was certainly enough promise to earn him a spot on the 40-man. All three are now a chance to feature in the Marlins’ bullpen in 2023.