The Miami Marlins have acquired LHP Richard Bleier from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for a player to be named later.
After more than half of the Marlins tested positive for COVID-19, the team has been acquiring pitchers so they can field a roster when the team returns to play. Joining Bleier is new players Mike Morin, Josh D. Smith and Justin Shafer. Bleier has been an effective late inning reliever for the Orioles since he was acquired from the Yankees in February 2017. From 2016-2018, Bleier\’s worst ERA was 1.99, although he had a 5.37 ERA in 53 games last year, raising his career ERA to over 3.00 (it has since been lowered). While he does not strike batters out, Bleier walked just 3.4% of batters last year, and he had a ground-ball rate of 60.1%. Bleier allowed fly-balls just 12.4 percent of the time. He also has a career 0.6 HR/9. In front of closer Brandon Kintzler, the Miami bullpen is weak, and Bleier will be at the back of it even when all of the sick players return. He also will return to home, as he is a native of Miami Beach, Florida.
While they are a rebuilding team, the Orioles might have been able to get more than a player to be named later for Bleier, especially from a contender later this month. While Bleier is not young, and he does not have a future in Baltimore, a team like the Orioles should have held on to him, to at least keep them a little bit competitive. With Bleier gone, Baltimore will need someone to step up and pitch the 7th or 8th inning, while Cole Sulser is the closer. Former closer Mychal Givens seems to have the 8th inning job locked up, while Miguel Castro and Paul Fry can replace Bleier until Hunter Harvey returns from the IL, and everyone moves down one spot.
Bleier, 33, struck out four batters in three innings over two games this year so far, and has not allowed a run. In his five year career for the Orioles and New York Yankees, Bleier has a 2.99 ERA with only 88 strikeouts in 177.1 innings, plus four saves and an 8-1 record. Bleier has a career WHIP of 1.201.