The Marlins have signed reliever Johan Quezada to a minor league deal, according to his transactions tracker at MLB.com. The right-hander will presumably receive an invitation to major league Spring Training.
Quezada, 28, began his professional career in the Twins organization in 2013 after signing as an international amateur. By the end of 2019, he had yet to reach Double-A or rack up significant innings, thanks largely to injuries. He reached minor league free agency and signed a minor league deal with the Marlins going into 2020. The Fish selected him to the big league roster in September and let him toss three innings over three appearances, allowing three earned runs in that time.
He then went to the Phillies on a waiver claim in the offseason but was traded to the Cardinals before the 2021 season kicked off. Injuries limited him to just 24 minor league innings that year and a 6.38 ERA. In March of 2022, he was designated for assignment to create room on the roster for Albert Pujols but cleared waivers and stayed in the organization. He tossed 59 2/3 innings in the minors last year with a 4.83 ERA, 26.6% strikeout rate and 13.9% walk rate. His .386 batting average on balls in play and 65.1% strand rate were both on the unfortunate side of average, perhaps indicating he deserved better, with his FIP coming in at 3.88 on the year.
This deal will return Quezada to the only club that he’s pitched for at the major league level. His continued health issues have seemingly hampered his progress at times, but there are intriguing elements to his profile. He’s listed at 6’9″ and 255 lbs, bringing an unusual arm plane for hitters to deal with. It also comes with some power behind it, as Quezada averaged 97 mph on his fastball during his brief MLB showing back in 2020.
The Miami bullpen will likely consist of Dylan Floro, Matt Barnes, Tanner Scott, Steven Okert, JT Chargois, Tommy Nance, Andrew Nardi, Huascar Brazobán and Rule 5 draftee Nic Enright. There are various depth options on the 40-man roster such as Sean Reynolds, Eli Villalobos, Josh Simpson and George Soriano, though they were all just added prior to the most recent Rule 5 and have no major league experience yet.
If Quezada can crack Miami’s roster at any point, he still has a couple of option years remaining and just a few weeks of MLB service time. That means he could potentially serve as an affordable and optionable depth arm for the foreseeable future.