The Florida Marlins woke up this morning with a less than 5% chance to make the playoffs. Jorge Cantu is two months from free agency, and at the last check, will not be ranked highly enough by Elias to award free agent compensation. If there was value to be had for Cantu, any at all, the Marlins had no choice but to get it. With all that said, it’s hard not to like the two prospects the Marlins acquired from the Rangers today, Evan Reed and Omar Poveda.
Poveda is the more familiar name in prospect circles, despite a six-year career with only one stop (second tour of Midwest League, 2007) yielding an ERA below 4.00. He has not pitched in 2010 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The thinking is that an injured arm altered Poveda’s performance in 2009, where his K/9 essentially was halved.
The Venezuelan right-hander never had a particularly good fastball, so there has to be some concern that he’ll return to the mound without a heater to speak of. If so, it’s unlikely to project that he’d be able to carve out a big league career. But, he was a guy that had a feel for a change-up and curveball, and will likely come out of the gate pitching backwards. It’s not a sexy career path, and it’s an unlikely one to work, but again, it’s a near-free shot in the dark for Florida.
The better chance at providing actual value to the Marlins is Evan Reed. A third-round pick in the 2007 draft, the Rangers drafted the Cal Poly closer with the intention of making him a starting pitcher. Doing so for the 2008 season was a bit of a disaster — between the California League and pacing himself, Reed lost his abilities to strike people out and keep the ball in the park. It clearly was misguided, and the Rangers acted swiftly last year, moving him back to the closer role. Reed responded with a 12.0 K/9 and 0.2 HR/9. He was over his head in the Arizona Fall League, however, allowing three home runs in limited work.
Up to Double-A this season, the results have been excellent. Reed comes after people with his 92-94 mph fastball, and is now commanding it at the best rate of his career. He’s groundball heavy on his best days, and never seems to allow home runs. It’s highly likely that Reed contributes at the Major League level in the seventh and eighth innings. He will be ready to join the Major League team sometime between the middle of next season and Opening Day 2012.
Evan Reed will produce more WAR with the Marlins than Jorge Cantu will with the Rangers. And anything that either Reed or Poveda ever provides will be gravy, considering the Marlins tenuous spot in the NL East standings.