Marlins make Bass' 2-year deal official

January 29th, 2021

MIAMI -- The Marlins continued to renovate their bullpen, announcing on Thursday the signing of right-hander to a two-year contract, with a $3 million club option for 2023. The deal is said to be for a guaranteed $5 million, with a $1 million buyout, a source told MLB.com. Miami designated for assignment right-hander Jordan Yamamoto as the corresponding roster move.

Bass posted a 3.51 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 26 outings for the Blue Jays in 2020, pacing the club with seven saves and recording four holds. He also gained postseason experience, appearing in the American League Wild Card Series against the Rays. After spending 2016 with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League, the nine-year MLB veteran returned to the Majors in '17 and has played for a different team each season since. The 33-year-old Bass has a career 4.32 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, but over the past three seasons, those numbers improve to 3.44 and 1.06, respectively, while he has recorded 12 of his 15 career saves.

"He is a proven reliever," Marlins general manager Kim Ng said on Zoom on Friday. "He was really interesting to us because he's got a very good arm, he's got experience in high-leverage situations, particularly the last couple of years. There's a lot of ground balls, and we just think he's a great addition to the back end of our bullpen. We'd still like to add another arm, and then we'll see what happens after that."

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According to Statcast, Bass ranked in the 95th percentile or higher in 2020 in metrics such as xERA (2.24), xBA against (.176), xSLG against (.265), opponents' xwOBA (.223) and opponents' barrel percentage (2.9). He turned to his sinker (54 percent vs. 48.2) and slider (39 vs. 33.2) more in '20 than he had the previous season, while he decreased the usage of his split finger (6.8 vs. 14.1) and four-seam fastball (0.3 vs. 4.5).

Miami's bullpen finished 2020 with a 5.50 ERA, 26th in the Majors and 13th in the National League. So far this offseason, the organization has added Bass, right-handers Adam Cimber (trade), Paul Campbell and Zach Pop (Rule 5 Draft) and lefty Ross Detwiler (free agency). Bass joins righty Yimi García, southpaw Richard Bleier, Detwiler and Cimber as late-inning options.

"We like guys that throw strikes," Ng said. "We like guys who, given our infield defense, can induce ground balls. I think that's a big one for us as well. Guys who have different looks. We like diversity in the bullpen. We're coming at you from different angles, different pitches. Anthony actually has a splitter, which we don't have back there, so that was a particular interest as well."

Yamamoto, who was part of the Christian Yelich trade with the Brewers, opened his MLB career with a 1.59 ERA through six starts in 2019 before closing out his rookie season with a 6.65 ERA in his final nine. That trend continued in '20, when he allowed 24 runs (23 earned) in 11 1/3 innings. Six of Miami's top 11 prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline are starting pitchers, making Yamamoto expendable.