Marlins option Eury Pérez in effort to relieve workload

July 7th, 2023

MIAMI -- In a move that many anticipated was coming, the Marlins optioned rookie right-hander to Double-A Pensacola on Friday afternoon. In corresponding moves, Miami recalled No. 23 prospect Sean Reynolds from Triple-A Jacksonville, selected left-hander Robert Garcia's contract from Jacksonville and designated for assignment Jeff Lindgren.

The news isn't much of a surprise considering the Marlins have been monitoring Pérez's workload since the get-go. The 20-year-old surpassed his single-season career high for innings (78) with six frames of one-run ball in Thursday night's 3-0 loss to the Cardinals. Between six starts at Double-A Pensacola and another 11 in the Majors, Pérez is at 84 1/3 innings in 2023.

“It's always hard when somebody gets sent out,” general manager Kim Ng said. “It definitely wasn't ideal. You definitely feel for players when you have to send them out. But listen, he was a pro. I think after it, he understood, and he's very focused on making his way back here.”

With the All-Star break approaching, it allots even more time for the continued progress of rehabbing starters Edward Cabrera, who will begin an assignment on Saturday with Single-A Jupiter and Johnny Cueto, who is nearing the end of his assignment. The organization saw this as an opportunity to send Pérez down now.

Miami has been and remains flexible. Southpaw Trevor Rogers, for example, has spent more time on the injured list than the Marlins initially thought he would. That may have played a factor in the Pérez decision not happening sooner. In fact, injuries to three-fifths of the rotation (Cabrera, Rogers and Cueto) forced the Marlins to add Braxton Garrett, Pérez and Bryan Hoeing to the starting staff to begin with.

"There were a few of us in the room, and we just felt like as a group it's a good time to give him a breather now with the pitching that we have coming up, and with the All-Star break coming up, and some off-days and that kind of stuff that are lined up," manager Skip Schumaker said. "It's not an easy conversation, especially with a guy that's been so good for us.

"I'm just grateful that we've had him for as long as we had him. I didn't think we'd have him this soon, either. The run that he put us on, our team and our staff is grateful for. I knew he was good. I didn't know he was going to be that good. We're not in the position that we're in without him. I think now was the perfect time for it, and hopefully we'll see him later in the year."

There is no timeline for when Pérez might return to the Majors because of how much things can change, but the organization will not shut him down in the literal sense. There will be a combination of different types of work he will do in the Minors.

It was no doubt a tough decision to make since Pérez's 2.36 ERA through his first 11 career starts (minimum 50 innings) is the lowest for a pitcher 20 years old or younger in the Live Ball Era. His consistency and dominance already had turned him into one of the Majors' top arms.

“I think like I said, he's just done terrific, really has,” Ng said. “No one can take that away from him. I think he understands there's still things for him to work on as good as he has been.”

The 25-year-old Reynolds is a converted pitcher, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Prior to his promotion to Jacksonville, the 6-foot-8 right-hander served as Pensacola's closer. His fastball can reach triple digits.

Miami acquired Garcia, 27, two years ago in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft. In 27 appearances (one start) for Jacksonville this season, he posted a 2.95 ERA and a 13.3 K/9 rate with two saves.