MIAMI -- The Marlins bolstered their bullpen depth on Sunday night by acquiring right-hander Louis Head from the Rays in exchange for a player to be named or cash.
Head, who made his Major League debut on April 23, pitched well during his rookie season despite being called up and sent down a dozen times. He posted a 2.31 ERA, 172 ERA+ and a 0.86 WHIP in 27 games (two starts) across 35 innings at the MLB level. Head relies heavily on two pitches: a four-seamer, which averages 93.7 mph and has a -6 Run Value (negative run values are better for a pitcher than positive), and a slider (-3 RV).
The 31-year-old nearly quit baseball last offseason after spending eight years in the Minors. He began selling solar panels in Arizona as a post-playing profession, then caught on with the Rays, who have a track record of revitalizing careers.
“I got released last year, I wasn't playing, I was selling solar," Head told MLB.com's Adam Berry in September. "I came into Spring Training thinking I sucked. I was throwing slower than I've ever thrown in Spring Training in my career. Slider felt good, but it wasn't quite where it's at right now, and I was like, 'Man, I don't even know if I'm going to make a team. They're probably expecting me to throw hard. I'm not throwing hard.'
"Different things like my mechanics are off, my timing's off, and then they just kept saying, like, 'The stuff's really good. We don't care about your velocity right now. Your stuff's really good. Just keep throwing it, throwing strikes.' I gave up a hit, they're like, 'Oh, it's just lucky.' Give up a home run, 'Nah, it's just lucky. Your stuff's too good. You'll figure it out.' Figured it out, and I think the confidence thing really helped me out in Spring Training coming off the offseason that I had.”
This marks the fourth time within the past year that Miami has added a pitcher from Tampa Bay's system. The previous additions include righties Paul Campbell, John Curtiss and David Hess. Only Campbell, a Rule 5 Draft pick, remains in the organization.
At last week's General Manager Meetings, Marlins GM Kim Ng said that, while acquiring multiple bats was a priority, the club also would address the bullpen. As of now, the relief corps includes late-inning arms Dylan Floro, Anthony Bender, Anthony Bass and Richard Bleier, as well as Steven Okert, Zach Thompson, Zach Pop, rookie Sean Guenther and Campbell, who finished the season hurt.
"I think we need to add some depth to the bullpen," Ng said. "It's not as high a priority as the offense is at this point, but we need depth in the bullpen."
Miami designated for assignment outfielder Brian Miller, who has 11 career MLB plate appearances since being taken with the 36th overall pick in the 2017 Draft, as the corresponding move. The 40-man roster is full.