Marlins deal for C Jackson, Triple-A's Henry

July 30th, 2021

MIAMI -- The Marlins used the remaining hours prior to Friday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline to create more depth at the catcher position by acquiring and for an expiring contract in outfielder (Braves) and versatile reliever (Brewers).

Jackson, selected sixth overall by the Mariners in the 2014 MLB Draft, was dealt to the Braves two years later. A former top prospect, he is 3-for-43 with 22 strikeouts and three walks across 50 plate appearances spanning 19 games since making his Major League debut on April 7, 2019. The 25-year-old Jackson served as Atlanta's Opening Day starter in 2020. This season at Triple-A Gwinnett, he has slashed .287/.366/.694 with a 1.060 OPS, nine doubles, one triple, 11 home runs and 36 RBIs in 30 games.

"We're really excited about him," said Marlins general manager Kim Ng. "He's got a great bat, he can receive, good arm. So [we're] excited to bring him into the organization."

Henry, who ranked as Milwaukee's No. 19 prospect, was blocked in the system by Mario Feliciano (No. 5). Left off the Brewers' 40-man roster as a Rule 5 Draft-eligible player last winter, he spent time at the alternate training site in 2020 and the past two springs with the big league club.

According to MLB Pipeline's scouting report, the 24-year-old has raw right-handed pop. Behind the plate, he throws and blocks well and shows athleticism and agility. His receiving style also impressed the Brewers with his 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame. Between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, Henry was slashing .297/.372/.390 with a .762 OPS in 49 games.

"By all accounts and our evaluation, this is a great kid," Ng said. "He comes in with an attitude that is beyond reproach, and he is a guy who prepares for the game. With our organization being as pitching-strong as it is, we really wanted to try and make sure we brought in catchers who would really have an understanding of the pitchers and make sure that they are at the top of their agenda."

Ng noted that Jackson will join the Marlins, while Henry will begin at Triple-A Jacksonville. The backstop position lacks depth throughout the Marlins' organization. Jorge Alfaro and veteran Sandy León are on the 40-man roster, while Low-A Beloit's Will Banfield was the lone catcher on Miami's Top 30 prospects list, per MLB Pipeline. The Marlins used their Competitive Balance Round A pick this year on prep star Joe Mack.

As for what the Marlins gave up in return?

Miami acquired Curtiss (2.48 ERA in 35 outings) from Tampa Bay when pitchers and catchers reported this spring. The 28-year-old right-hander served in various roles -- from opener to multi-inning hurler. He is not eligible for free agency until after the 2025 season, but Ng said "we always say you have to give to get. With catching the way it is in the game, we just really felt that that was an area that we needed to strengthen up."

Duvall, whom Atlanta non-tendered in December, signed a $5 million guaranteed contract -- with a $7 million mutual option or a $3 million buyout contract for 2022 -- on the first day of Spring Training. Miami's lone offensive upgrade didn't disappoint. Duvall paced the club with 22 homers and ranks fifth in the National League with 68 RBIs. Tasked with a new position, he also ranked second among MLB right fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (nine) and fourth in assists (seven).

With that trade, all three of the Marlins' 2021 Opening Day outfielders -- Corey Dickerson (Blue Jays), Starling Marte (A's) and Duvall (Braves) -- were dealt. Each could have become a free agent this winter. Dickerson was part of a deal in June, while Marte and closer Yimi García (Astros) were moved on Wednesday. In the García transaction, the Marlins received Triple-A outfielder Bryan De La Cruz, who will get an extensive look -- beginning with his Major League debut on Friday night against the Yankees.

"One of the things we always said about our young players is, we want them to get their at-bats," Ng said. "It's tough for them to be up here and sit on the bench, so this is really a great way to see them. So we're excited about that."