Marlins To Acquire Dan Straily - MLB Trade Rumors
By Steve Adams
The Marlins are nearing a deal that would net them right-hander Dan Straily from the Reds in exchange for right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice in addition to a third minor leaguer, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
If completed, the trade will represent a significant flip for the Reds, who acquired Straily free of cost when they claimed him off waivers from the Padres last spring. Cincinnati subsequently enjoyed a season in which Straily, who had bounced around the league following a promising 2012-13 debut with the A’s, logged 191 1/3 innings with a 3.76 ERA, 76 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 and a 32 percent ground-ball rate and reestablished himself as a Major League rotation piece.
The 28-year-old Straily finished out the year with two years, 126 days of Major League service time, meaning he fell just shy of Super Two designation. He’ll earn scarcely more than the league minimum this coming season and can be controlled by Miami for another four years in arbitration.
Straily will join a Marlins rotation that is also set to feature left-handers Wei-Yin Chen and Adam Conley, newly signed right-hander Edinson Volquez and longtime Marlins righty Tom Koehler. The addition of Straily seems likeliest to bump offseason signee Jeff Locke from the fifth slot in that rotation to the bullpen, which could have a trickle-down effect and bump an out-of-options player like Jose Urena off the roster.
The price Miami is paying to acquire Straily is a steep one. Castillo, 24, rates as their No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America and their No. 5 prospect according to MLB.com. The hard-throwing righty is said to have a fastball that can touch triple digits and sits in the upper 90s, and he’s fresh off an excellent season with Miami’s Class-A Advanced affiliate in the Florida State League (plus a brief Double-A appearance late in the year). Castillo posted a scintillating 2.07 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against just 1.4 BB/9 in 117 2/3 innings in High-A, and he kicked in another 14 innings of 3.86 ERA ball at Double-A for good measure.
BA praised Castillo’s “easy velocity” and “smooth delivery” in their offseason scouting report on him, noting that he’s made the jump from power bullpen arm to potential mid-rotation starter. Per their write-up, his slider projects as an above-average offering, and he’s working to develop a changeup that still needs some fine-tuning. The Marlins originally landed him in the trade that sent Casey McGehee to the Giants, and his stock has risen quite a bit since that time.
As for Brice, the 24-year-old gives the Reds an immediate, MLB-ready option to plug into their bullpen if he shows well in Spring Training. Brice made his Major League debut in 2016, and while he struggled to the tune of 11 earned runs in 14 innings, he also allowed only nine hits against five walks with 14 strikeouts. Add to that a composite 2.74 ERA in 102 minor league innings (93 1/3 frames at Double-A plus 8 2/3 in Triple-A), and there’s a chance that Brice could open the year in Cincinnati’s bullpen.
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis rank Brice ninth among Miami farmhands, noting that he looked to improve upon his longstanding control problems in 2016. Per MLB.com’s free scouting report, he throws a “heavy” fastball in the low to mid 90s and boasts an above-average slider that was newly added to his repertoire. Their report notes that Brice does still have some upside as a potential starter but adds that he could have a quicker impact as a two-pitch reliever that can dominate same-handed opponents.
Walker's Take: This looks like a great deal by the Reds. They claimed Straily off waivers less than a year ago and just turned him around for two major pitching prospects. It's unlikely he would reproduce his results from 2016 when he won 14 games with a 3.76 ERA. His BABIP was low at .242, which means he pitched in some good luck last year and it's likely that his luck will change. Also, his walk rate is too high. This also opens up another rotation spot for one of the Reds many prospects, most notably Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett.