On Tuesday morning, the Miami Marlins made four more roster moves, trimming the current roster to 35 and providing a bit of clarity regarding the Opening Day roster. Two players were optioned to Triple-A New Orleans and two more were given their release and are free to sign with any team.
The Marlins toyed with using Urena as a setup man this Spring, and the bullpen may indeed be where he is best suited. He came up as a starting pitching prospect and appeared in 20 games, starting 9 of them but struggling in almost every single one. He ended up with 28 strikeouts and 25 walks in 61.2 innings, both unacceptably poor numbers. His 5.25 ERA was nothing to write home about either. Urena features an average fastball, a pretty good slider, and a terrible changeup. As a bullpen arm, he could get away with forgetting the changeup and just throwing the fastball and the slider. It will be interesting to see how the Marlins use him in Triple-A New Orleans. If he is slotted back into the rotation there, the team may think his future is still as a starter but, if he is placed in the bullpen, it would mean the team sees him as a future reliever, potentially in the late innings.
Nefi Ogando was a waiver claim from the Philadelphia Phillies and early buzz said he may have had a chance to crack the Opening Day roster as a member of the bullpen. He had an excellent Spring, pitching in 9 games to a sterling 1.23 ERA, but he was optioned to Triple-A regardless. He will likely see some time in the big league bullpen this season, but the 27-year-old will need to start off in the Pacific Coast League before he gets that chance. He projects as a decent late inning reliever once he comes up.
Justin Maxwell signed a minor league contract before Spring Training began, but despite a decent amount of playing time, he struggled to a .227 batting average in Grapefruit League play. That, along with a list of better options, led the Marlins to grant Maxwell his release. The club is interested in re-signing him, but Maxwell will likely try to latch on with a team for which he will have a clearer path to playing time.
Detroit Tigers legend Don Kelly signed with the Marlins before the 2015 season but got into two games and had one plate appearance before missing the rest of the year while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Kelly is a versatile defender, but he’s never had much of a bat. He will likely find a job as a utility player somewhere, but the 36 year old may decide to retire instead if he doesn’t find a spot that he likes, although he has expressed a willingness to join the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate.