The SSG Miami Marlins announced the acquisition of CF Mallex Smith today in a four player deal with the Cleveland Spiders. The Marlins traded Catcher Max Pentecost and prospect C Jed Bly for Smith as well minor league pitcher Doug Harvey. ” We are really excited to bring Mallex into the Marlins outfield this season and believe he will be a real disruptive threat on the basepaths and excellent defender either at Left or Center field.” GM Nate Brooks said. ” We had coveted Mallex for a while but had not been able to find a deal with Cleveland until the last few days. He’s played through to a World Series Championship with the 2017 Washington Nationals team and it’s important for us to bring in players who have that experience if we are going to evolve as a franchise.” GM Brooks continued. Mallex Smith enters his 5th season in the majors with stops in Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington and Cleveland previously.
While GM Brooks did not comment on committing Smith in at either Center or Left Field, Smith most likely projects to be the starting Left Fielder while incumbent Magneuris Sierra stays in Center. In 2019 Smith only made 2 error in the entire year and had a Range Factor of 2.97 slightly below Gold Glove winner Albert Almora of the San Diego Padres. With a career Zone Rating of +11.7 Mallex Smith in 398 games at center field, Smith is a proven commodity to patrol the outfield. This move gives the Marlins real versatility with three players (Smith, Polk and Sierra) who can all slot in on any given day and be dependable at center or left field.
Another asset to Smiths game is his ability to swipe a bag and above average base-running. While Smith has blazing speed evidenced by 41 steals in 2018, last season saw him drop to only 16 stolen bases which was a career low. When asked if this was a concern GM Brooks stated “While looking purely at a stat sheet yes it could be, but we plan to give Mallex a lot more freedom on the base-paths and utilize his speed more then I think he was allowed in Cleveland.” Smith should still have a few more years of top end speed to his game at the Major League level which aligns with the control the Marlins have over his contract. With three season of control including the upcoming 2020 season, Smith should be a regular in the Miami lineup as he enters the prime of his career. The native of Tallahassee, FL looks to enjoy a rebound of sorts as he returns to his home Florida state and joins an up and coming core of youngsters that the Marlins have built over the last few seasons.
The second piece coming the the Marlins was starting pitcher Doug Harvey. Originally an 8th round draft pick in the 2016 MLB draft, Harvey now has 4 season of pro ball under his belt. While he has not had any great success so far, he did enjoy a bit of improved play when promoted to the AA level this year. Harvey utilized 3 pitches, a developing fastball that grades out at 60, an effective slider at 65, and a changeup at 30 that he will throw once in a while. Ideally Harvey could develop into a long man possibly at the MLB level but things will need to really improve for him to be more then a minor league depth piece long term. A clubhouse prankster, GM Brooks noted that a player like Harvey can also lighten the room and help team chemistry during the long season for a team he plays for.
A return home of sorts for Mallex Smith looks to signal a real change from rebuilding to being competitive for the Marlins in the third season under GM Nate Brooks’s leadership. With other off-season acquisitions of third baseman Evan Longoria, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Outfielder Gregory Polanco, the Marlins have made a real decisions to not continue to run somewhat unprepared youngsters out on the field before they are truly ready. In a tough division in the NL East, the Marlins will have their work cut out for them this season to improve on a last place finish in their division.