Casey Fien Outrighted, Evan Marshall Joins M’s
The idea that Casey Fien was on a short leash percolated through twitter and the blogosphere in recent days, and while the bullpen as a whole has been pretty rough, Fien seemed like a marginal guy. He doesn’t have the youth or fastball of a Dan Altavilla or even James Pazos, he doesn’t have the platoon splits of a Marc Rzepczynski, and he doesn’t have a good season with the club the way Nick Vincent does. With Tony Zych’s return imminent, the M’s were already thinking about which of their bullpen arms to move, and Fien’s so-so outing yesterday just moved the timeline up.
For the time being, Fien’s gone, and his place will be taken by the recently-acquired Evan Marshall. As I mentioned when the M’s picked him up (off waivers), he’s got a good FB that sits in the mid-90s, and a good slider with plenty of drop. That all sounds like a prototypical set-up man, but after a great first season with the D-Backs in 2014, the results just haven’t been there for him. He started 2017 with the Rainiers, and pitched quite well in his only appearance – facing 3 Sacramento RiverCats and striking out 2 and giving up a single. In both the majors and minors, he’s posted surprisingly low strikeout totals for a relief pitcher in these three-true-outcome-loving times, so if the M’s can help him unlock additional whiffs, that’d be nice. His change-up looks poor, so that’s an obvious place to try for improvement, but then, a guy with a 95 MPH fastball and a great slider doesn’t NEED a change-up in one-inning stints.
Marshall’s exit from Tacoma also helps another roster crunch issue: Boog Powell comes off of the restricted list today. His suspension for a second positive PED test wiped out most of his 2016 and it carried over into 2017. He’s back now, apparently joining Fien, who’s booted off of the 40-man. BBREF shows Fien’s got more than three years of MLB service, meaning that he could try his hand at free agency instead of accepting this outright assignment to AAA. However, doing so would forfeit his guaranteed money, which is $1.1 million. After his initial week, I doubt he’d make more on the open market, so his decision NOT to leave makes plenty of sense.