HomeMLB RumorsMarlins To Select Vladimir Gutierrez

Marlins To Select Vladimir Gutierrez

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The Marlins will select the contract of right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez prior to Sunday’s game against the Pirates, reports Francys Romero. Miami has an open spot on the 40-man roster, so only a 26-man roster move will be necessary. Daniel Alvarez Montes of El Extra Base reports that the Fish will likely option righty Declan Cronin to Triple-A Jacksonville in Gutierrez’s place, noting that Cronin was packing up his locker following today’s game.

Now 28 years old, Gutierrez was a high-profile prospect back in 2016 after defecting from his native Cuba. The Reds signed him to a $4.75MM bonus and paid a 100% tax on that bonus under the old soft-capped international amateur free agency system.

That $9.5MM investment didn’t pan out as hoped. Gutierrez made it to the big leagues in 2021-22, pitching 150 2/3 innings with a 5.44 ERA, 17.3% strikeout rate and 10.4% walk rate. His heater sat 93.3 mph during that two-year stint, and he paired it with a slider, curveball and changeup. All of Gutierrez’s second pitches were touted as potential plus offerings on various scouting reports (FanGraphs, Baseball America, MLB.com), but he’s yet to find consistency with any of them. His curveball and changeup, in particular, have been hit hard by big league opponents.

Gutierrez underwent Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2022, all but ending his time on the mound with the Reds organization. He returned to throw 6 1/3 minor league frames late in the 2023 season and became a minor league free agent in the offseason.

Gutierrez drew a fair bit of interest on minor league deals as he showcased for MLB clubs to demonstrate his health post-surgery. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Miami’s proximity to Cuba, he ultimately chose to sign with the Fish back in February. He had a decent showing in spring training, holding opponents to four runs on a dozen hits and four walks with nine punchouts in 10 innings of work.

The Marlins and Pirates went to 12 innings in their season opener, with the Marlins’ bullpen accounting for seven of those frames. AJ Puk last just two innings on Friday, leaving Miami relievers to pick up another seven innings of work. Ryan Weathers went four frames today, giving the relief corps another five innings to pick up. Given that huge slate of innings for Miami relievers, it’s only natural that they’re bringing up a fresh arm — particularly one that can provide some length, if needed.

Cronin’s demotion to Jacksonville is a tough pill for him to swallow. The journeyman righty made his first Opening Day roster this season and has pitched well, firing four innings (including the final three in that 12-inning contest) without allowing an earned run. But between that three-inning debut and another 22 pitches in today’s inning of work, he’d surely have been unavailable tomorrow, making him the most logical candidate to be sent down. He’ll have to be in Jacksonville for 10 days unless he’s recalled as an injury replacement. But considering the fact that he made the Opening Day roster and has thus far pitched well, Cronin stands a good chance of returning to the big leagues before too long.

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