Marlins sign 5, including 3 lefty relievers

Marlins sign 5, including 3 lefty relievers

MIAMI -- Some needed lefty reliever depth is being added to the Marlins' Spring Training roster. Southpaws Kyle Lobstein, Caleb Thielbar and Frank Garces are among five non-roster invitees who have signed with Miami.

The organization has also added outfielder Moises Sierra and catcher Carlos Paulino. All five have agreed to Minor League contracts with invitations to Spring Training.

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Non-roster invitees often are players with limited or no previous big league experience.

But a number of them eventually go on to make an impact. Dustin McGowan fit that mold in 2016, going from non-roster invitee to appearing in 55 games and throwing 67 innings for the Marlins.

Miami has a shortage of left-handed relievers, and the competition is wide open. Mike Dunn is a free agent, leaving Hunter Cervenka, who appeared in 18 games after being acquired from the Braves, as the most experienced southpaw on the 40-man roster.

Lobstein could emerge as a candidate to contribute for the Marlins at some point in 2017. The 27-year-old made 14 relief appearances with the Pirates in 2016, logging 25 innings, with a 3.96 ERA.

Lobstein pitched in parts of two seasons with the Tigers, from 2014-15. In '15, he made 13 appearances, with 11 starts, while turning in a career-high 63 2/3 innings.

The Pirates designated Lobstein for assignment on Aug. 30, and after he cleared waivers, he was traded to the Orioles for lefty Zach Phillips. Lobstein was outrighted by Baltimore on Sept. 3, and on Oct. 5, he refused the assignment, becoming a free agent.

Thielbar, 29, has made 109 big league appearances, all in relief, while with the Twins from 2013-15. The lefty has a career 2.74 ERA with 79 strikeouts to 30 walks in 98 2/3 innings.

Thielbar strikes out the side

Garces, 26, has 55 appearances in the Majors, with one start. The lefty pitched for the Padres in parts of 2014-15, and he has a career 4.60 ERA.

In 2016, Garces spent the season at Triple-A El Paso, where he made 37 appearances with 18 starts. He threw 114 1/3 innings, going 6-8 with a 4.41 ERA, striking out 98.

Sierra, 28, is a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from the Dominican Republic who remains with the organization after hitting .336/.414/.519 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs in 82 games with Double-A Jacksonville this past season. He has big league experience, having played from 2012-14 with the Blue Jays before finishing '14 with the Orioles. In 180 MLB games, he has a .243 batting average with nine homers and 37 RBIs.

Paulino, 27, rejoins the Marlins organization, where he will provide organizational depth at catcher. In 2007, the Marlins signed Paulino as a non-drafted free agent from the Dominican Republic. He was dealt to the Pirates in a Minor League trade in '11, and he has no big league experience. In 524 Minor League games, Paulino's slash line is .247/.303/.337.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.