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Marlins eye veteran to complement young 'pen

February 12, 2019

JUPITER, Fla. -- On the eve of Spring Training, the Marlins still are open to making moves to improve their roster.Heading into camp, the position of most interest is adding at least one reliever with experience in high-leverage situations.The Marlins have yet to settle on a closer, with right-hander Drew

JUPITER, Fla. -- On the eve of Spring Training, the Marlins still are open to making moves to improve their roster.
Heading into camp, the position of most interest is adding at least one reliever with experience in high-leverage situations.
The Marlins have yet to settle on a closer, with right-hander Drew Steckenrider and lefty Adam Conley the front-runners. Tayron Guerrero, the hardest thrower of the group, will return in a setup role.
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"We've added a number of arms to the bullpen, with the addition of Nick Anderson and Rule 5 selection Riley Ferrell," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "But I think a veteran bullpen piece, just to help with Steck and Conley and Guerrero at the back end, is something we're exploring right now."
There are several free agents out there, including Nick Vincent and Adam Warren. New Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. worked with both in Seattle last year.
Tyler Clippard and Bud Norris also are on the market, as is lefty Jake Diekman.

In deciding which eight relievers to carry on the Opening Day roster, the Marlins are seeking as many different looks out of the bullpen as possible. They have Guerrero, who regularly throws 100 mph, and Conley, a lefty with a deceptive delivery.
Miami acquired Anderson from the Twins in November for Minor League infielder Brian Schales.
Ferrell, formerly with the Astros, was a Rule 5 Draft selection in December. The right-hander must make the big league roster or risk being returned to Houston.
Right-hander Austin Brice is back with the Marlins after being claimed off waivers from the Orioles in early February.
Brice, a ninth-round Draft pick of the Marlins in 2010, made his MLB debut with Miami in '16. After the season, the Marlins traded him to the Reds in the Dan Straily deal.
The 26-year-old right-hander will be given a shot to make the Opening Day roster. He is a sinkerball pitcher, who posted a ground-ball rate of 51.3 percent with the Reds in 2018.

Miami found itself lacking such a reliever after trading Brad Ziegler to the D-backs last July.
"When you look at the profile of your right-handed relievers, Austin is a severe sinkerball pitcher," Hill said. "When we look at how we can potentially put our bullpen together, you want to have the power. You want to have the breaking ball. You want to have a guy, when it's late and you have a high-leverage situation, he can get you that ground ball."
If Brice makes the club, he gives manager Don Mattingly another situational option. Plus, Brice has been a starter and long reliever, so he can work multiple innings.
"Brad Ziegler sort of filled that [ground-ball] role for us last year," Hill said. "But once he was traded, when you looked at the makeup of our bullpen, we had a lot of power arms, we had a lot of changeup guys. We didn't really have somebody designated who could get that ground ball. When you look at Austin's numbers, he's a severe ground-ball pitcher."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.