MIAMI -- A week before the start of the Winter Meetings, the Marlins took a major step toward solidifying their rotation by coming to terms on a two-year, $22 million deal with durable free-agent right-hander Edinson Vólquez.
The deal was first reported by the Miami Herald.
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Locking up Volquez, 33, sends a signal that the Marlins plan to compete for a playoff spot in 2017. In the aftermath of José Fernández's death in a boating accident on Sept. 25, there had been speculation Miami could possibly take steps toward breaking up its core and rebuilding.
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Publicly, the Marlins have stated they hope to retain their core position players. But a lack of organizational depth, and the fact they are short on pitching, had raised concerns over which direction the club should go.
The Marlins recognize no one player can replace Fernandez, a two-time All-Star, but they plan on acquiring as much overall starting depth as possible. Volquez has a track record for logging innings, having thrown at least 170 1/3 innings in each of his past five seasons.
The native of the Dominican Republic spent the past two seasons with the Royals, where he was part of their '15 World Series championship team. In '16, he was 10-11 with a 5.37 ERA in 34 starts and 189 1/3 innings.
A sinkerball pitcher, Volquez showed good velocity in 2016. According to Statcast™, his sinker averaged 93.53 mph, above the MLB average of 91.78. The spin rate of that pitch is 2,291, compared to a league average of 2,111.
Pitching to contact, Volquez averaged 6.61 strikeouts per nine innings.
Volquez had a 1.77 ground ball/fly ball rate and a 51.2 ground ball percentage. The fact the Marlins have a strong infield defense should benefit the veteran right-hander.
The Marlins remain in the market for at least one more veteran starter, as well as bullpen depth.
Volquez joins a rotation that already includes lefties Adam Conley and Wei-Yin Chen and right-hander Tom Koehler.
In his career, which started in '05, Volquez is 89-79 with a 4.44 ERA.