Miami acquired left-handed reliever Hunter Cervenka from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor-league infielder Anfernee Seymour and left-handed pitcher Michael Mader.
The Marlins failed to upgrade their pitching before the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline. But this month still allows teams to trade for players who’ve cleared waivers.
This isn’t a blockbuster deal by any means, but Miami needs any kind of quality pitching it can get to make the postseason. Cervenka is exactly this, given that he has a 3.18 ERA in 34 innings with Atlanta.
The 26-year-old had a hot start to the season, pitching 15 consecutive scoreless innings. That streak is long gone, but other stats indicate that Cervenka is for real, striking out a better per inning and holding left-handed hitters to a .145/.264/.242 line.
The one knock on Cervenka is that he gives up a lot of walks, allowing 6.1 BB per nine innings. But given his tremendous success against left-handers, he could be an excellent situational pitcher for this team.
Miami is going to see a lot of Bryce Harper (Nationals), Daniel Murphy (Nationals), and now Jay Bruce (Mets) over the last two months. Having another strong pitcher like Cervenka gives the Marlins one more weapon to use while trying to minimize the bats of NL East opponents.
Miami is currently second in the East with a 58-52 record, which puts them seven games behind Washington (65-45). Catching the Nationals at this point would be tough, but it’s not hard to see this team making the playoffs through a wild card spot.
At 61-49, the LA Dodgers currently hold one of the spots, while Miami is tied with the St. Louis Cardinals (also 58-52) for the other wild card slot. The Mets (56-54), Pittsburgh Pirates (55-53), and Colorado Rockies (55-55) are also in the hunt.
The wild card race is always tight, so any improvement could be the difference between making the playoffs, or missing out by one or two games. Cervenka is definitely an upgrade on a team that needs pitching more than most contending ball clubs.
As for waiver trades, which Miami used to their advantage, these dealers are longer and more complicated than those made before the August 1 deadline. Any deal for a player like Cervenka must clear trade waivers before they’re added to a team’s 40-man roster.
The club that releases the player also has the option to pull them back after they’re claimed, or let them go without any compensation. In the case of Cervenka, Atlanta at least got back some minor league prospects for the reliever.
You won’t see any big-time players involved in August waiver trades. But it’s still fun to see some of the upgrades that teams make during this period.
If you’re interested in betting on Miami over the last two months of the season, keep in mind that GTBets offers MLB lines every night.