The Seattle Mariners have made a move to bolster their bullpen as they vie for a Wild Card spot, acquiring righty reliever David Phelps from the Miami Marlins in exchange for four minor leaguers.
This potentially complicates things for the Rangers, who are two games back of Seattle in the Wild Card race, though I’m not sure Phelps is going to materially change the calculus of the playoff race. It does at least provide a suggestion of the price of middling relief help — the 30 year old Phelps has a 3.45 ERA and a 3.69 FIP in 47 IP this year, though he was very good in 2016, putting up a 2.28 ERA. Phelps is making $4.6 million this year, and is arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2018 before being f.a. eligible after the 2018 season.
The prime piece going back to the Marlins is 19 year old outfielder Brayan Hernandez, one of the top prospects in the 2014 J-2 class who got a $1.85 million signing bonus then, and who is currently having a respectable year in the short-season A Northwest League. Hernandez is the #6 prospect in the M’s system per MLB.com, and was the #9 prospect in the M’s system on John Sickels’ pre-season list.
The Marlins also got three minor league pitchers — 2016 6th rounder Brandon Miller, high-A reliever Lukas Schiraldi, and 21 year old high-A RHP Pablo Lopez. Miller is #16 on the MLB.com prospect list for the M’s.
This is a quantity over quality deal, but Hernandez and Miller are interesting — it isn’t as if the M’s got Phelps for nothing. The Rangers are one of many teams scouring the trade market for relief options, and this deal doesn’t do anything to negate the notion that decent relievers aren’t going to be cheap.