Marlins acquire righty Crow from Royals
Miami sends pitching prospects Flynn, Redman to Kansas City
MIAMI -- The Marlins on Friday parted with some pitching prospects to bolster their bullpen, as they acquired right-hander Aaron Crow from the Royals for Brian Flynn and Reid Redman.
In Kansas City, Crow was part of one of the top bullpens in the game, posting a 6-1 mark with a 4.12 ERA and three saves in 59 innings during 2014. Formerly a starter in the Minor Leagues, Miami hasn't ruled out giving the 28-year-old a chance to be in the rotation.
Crow, who is in his second year of arbitration eligibility, made $1.475 million last season.
Picked 12th overall by the Royals in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Crow could find himself as part of part of Miami's setup mix. If he heads to the bullpen, he will join fellow right-handers A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris, Chris Hatcher, Carter Capps and Sam Dyson. Steve Cishek is expected back as closer.
If starting is in the plans, Crow could compete for a back-of-the-rotation spot. He made 29 starts and threw 163 1/3 innings in the Royals' system in 2010.
"We're always looking for ways to try to deepen our pitching, and with Crow, you have a first-round pick who's done some starting, done some relieving, an All-Star as a reliever a couple of years ago," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We like the arm, and think he will be a nice addition to our pitching staff."
Before deciding if Crow will start, Hill said the issue would be addressed by pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and manager Mike Redmond.
"We're going to give Chuckie and Red an opportunity to visit with him," Hill said. "We know he has started. It's still early in the offseason, and we're not sure how the rest of the offseason will unfold in terms of what else we add to our pitching staff, but we love the flexibility. We love the thought he could possibly be a starting option for us, but at a minimum, we know he'll be a valuable bullpen piece and just add to the overall depth of our staff."
Whatever the role, Crow is open to doing his part to help the Marlins win. Throughout his college career at the University of Missouri and in the Minor Leagues, he started.
"The first time I ever relieved was my Major League debut," Crow said. "I've been doing that for four years, so I'm comfortable with it. But I'm open to whatever role they give me. It doesn't really matter to me, as long as I can help the team win."
Primarily a fastball/slider pitcher, Crow's average fastball velocity in 2014 was 92 mph, according to Fangraphs.com. He threw his fastball 64.7 percent of the time, compared to using his slider 31.5 percent. He occasionally mixes in a changeup.
Crow broke in with the Royals in 2011, making the American League All-Star squad as a rookie, and his average fastball velocity wasn't below 94.5 mph in each of his first three big league seasons. The righty has appeared in 254 Major League games, and he's logged 233 2/3 innings with a 3.43 ERA.
Crow attributes the drop in velocity to seeking early contact instead of trying to strike everybody out.
The Royals advanced to the World Series, losing in seven games to the Giants. Crow was not part of their postseason roster.
"I was an All-Star and made it to the World Series, so you couldn't ask for more and, hopefully, I can have the same kind of success down in Miami," the right-hander said.
The switch will be a change and mark a new beginning for the right-hander, who is from Kansas and grew up a Royals fan.
"I think a change of scenery will be good for me," he said. "I think switching from the AL to the NL might help, too, because you're facing guys you haven't really seen. I'm excited.
"I grew up in Kansas and grew up a Royals fan, so it's kind of bittersweet. But I think it will be a good opportunity for me. I don't know much about the Marlins but what I've seen on the highlights and stuff. I think it will be fun getting to know my new teammates. I know they were good last year. Hopefully, that trend continues, and I can help the team a little bit."
To add a proven big league arm, the Marlins moved Flynn, a 6-foot-7 lefty who made two appearances (one start) with Miami in 2014. The 24-year-old was 8-10 with a 4.06 ERA in 25 starts at Triple-A New Orleans.
Flynn is 0-3 with an 8.64 ERA in six big league appearances (five starts). Miami obtained Flynn from the Tigers in July 2012 as part of the Anibal Sanchez-Omar Infante trade.
Redman, 26, went 5-1 with a 2.04 ERA for Class A Advanced Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville in 2014.
"We gave up two good arms to get Mr. Crow, and it wasn't without deep, long, hard consideration before we made the move because we are so protective of our inventory," Hill said. "We felt like this was a good piece that helps deepen our overall pitching staff and gives us different options to pursue."