The Marlins continue to load up on relievers with big league experience. On Saturday, the club acquired right-hander James Hoyt from the Indians for cash considerations. The 33-year-old was designated for assignment on July 28.
Hoyt is the second reliever acquired in as many days. Late Friday night, Miami obtained left-handed reliever Richard Bleier from the Orioles.
However, the Marlins now also find themselves in the market for a second baseman, because Isan Díaz has elected not to play the rest of the 2020 season.
Hoyt, a four-year veteran, had a 2.16 ERA in eight games with the Indians last year. He has logged 80 innings in his MLB career, posting a 4.16 ERA.
The Marlins and Orioles announced the Bleier trade after Baltimore’s win over the Rays on Friday.
In the past 24 hours, Miami placed Díaz on MLB’s restricted list, because the 24-year-old informed the club that he was electing not to play due to health concerns, as well as family reasons.
"This has been a tough week to see so many of my teammates come down with this virus, and see how quickly it spreads," Díaz said in a message he posted on Instagram. "After much deliberation and thought, I have made the difficult choice of opting out for the remainder of the 2020 season."
A left-handed hitter with power potential, Díaz is part of the organization’s young core of regulars.
Miami’s Opening Day second baseman, Díaz appeared in two of Miami’s first three games, going 2-for-9 (.222). As a rookie in 2019, he was promoted from Triple-A New Orleans in August, and in 49 big league games, he had a slash line of .173/.259/.307 with five home runs and 23 RBIs.
"This has been a decision that I have discussed with my family, and I feel it's the best one for me and my overall well-being," Díaz added in his Instagram message. "I will deeply miss my teammates and competing on the field. I wish my brothers the best and look forward to taking the field again with them soon!!"
The Marlins are pursuing second-base options, and they are leaning toward available free agents.
Internally, Jonathan Villar, who is playing mostly center field, is in consideration to play more second base. Jon Berti is another option, as is Eddy Alvarez, who is in the club’s 60-man player pool. Alvarez has yet to be added to the active roster, but that is expected.
The Marlins are going through trying times, as the organization has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Based on numbers released on Friday by MLB and the MLB Players Association, 21 positive cases have been linked to the Marlins. At least 18 are believed to be players.
Díaz had never tested positive.
As of Saturday morning, the Marlins remained in Philadelphia, where they have been since July 23. The encouraging news is the Marlins had no new positive tests, based on Friday's testing.
MLB announced on Saturday that the Marlins are set to resume their season in Baltimore from Tuesday through Thursday, with one day including a doubleheader (all game times TBD) and the Marlins serving as the home team for two games.
In addition, the originally scheduled games between the Phillies and Marlins from Aug. 4-6 will be rescheduled for a later date.
Also on Friday, Marlins players and staff infected with the virus were sent back to Miami on sleeper buses. The team’s policy is not to identify players or staff who test positive without their consent.
Bleier and Hoyt are the fourth and fifth relievers the Marlins have acquired in the past week. Previously, they signed Mike Morin, Justin Shafer and Josh D. Smith.
The 33-year-old Bleier went 8-1 with a 2.99 ERA in 166 appearances over the past five seasons, four coming with the Orioles. He had a 1.97 ERA over his first three seasons before undergoing left lat surgery in 2018, then pitched to a career-high 5.37 ERA in 53 games in '19.
"I’m glad I have value to another team, but this is such a comfort for me in Baltimore," Bleier said on a Zoom call Friday night. "I am going to miss it. I know all the guys, I know all the staff, I’ve been around everybody for years. Before Baltimore, I was bouncing around between organizations. Being the new guy isn’t as fun as being the guy whose been around for a long time. I’m looking forward to pitching for the Marlins, but on the other hand, I will miss Baltimore."