The Marlins are bringing back one of their most heavily used depth arms for another stint, as they’ve re-signed lefty Devin Smeltzer to a minor league deal, according to the team’s transaction log at MLB.com. He’ll presumably be in big league camp next spring.
Smeltzer, who just turned 28 this week, had a Ryan Weber/Yankees-esque run in Miami last year. The Marlins signed him to a minor league deal over the winter and selected his contract to the Majors on four different occasions. Each call to the big leagues was followed by a DFA after an appearance or two, and Smeltzer passed through waivers and accepted outright assignments to return to the club’s Triple-A affiliate each time.
It wasn’t the most direct path to doing so, but Smeltzer still picked up about six weeks of big league service time and pitched 22 1/3 MLB frames over the course of the year. He was knocked around for a 6.45 ERA in that time and posted similar numbers in 86 innings at the Triple-A level.
Lackluster performance notwithstanding, Smeltzer has a stronger track record dating back to his days with the Twins, who originally acquired the former fifth-round pick (2016) in a trade sending Brian Dozier to the Dodgers. Smeltzer pitched 140 innings of 3.99 ERA ball for Minnesota in parts of three seasons, showing a well below-average strikeout rate (16.6%) but strong command (6.4% walk rate). Smeltzer has regularly shown good command throughout his pro career and has experience both as a starter and a reliever. The Marlins also know he’ll likely be amenable to similar up-and-down usage in 2024 if necessary, making the reunion a fairly logical one.