After falling short in the Kenley Jansen sweepstakes, the Marlins must pivot quickly in their search for experienced bullpen depth. Miami made a strong push for Jansen, offering the right-hander a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $80 million, but the All-Star closer instead agreed to return to the Dodgers.
For the Marlins, it's back to the drawing board as they now turn their attention to more modestly-priced alternatives. There's still plenty of established relievers available, but there are a number of clubs vying for their services.
Missing out on Jansen means Miami won't have the "super bullpen" it was striving to assemble. But the team can still compile a pretty strong 'pen if it can successfully land at least one of its remaining targets.
Ideally, the Marlins would like to add two proven relievers. That has long been their fallback plan. If they couldn't acquire a top-flight closer like Jansen, they intended on spreading their resources around to a number of other options, with the hope of signing two established relievers.
Some potential targets are:
The 37-year-old fits exactly what Miami is after. He's been a closer (85 career saves), and his sidearm delivery gives him a completely different look, which is something the Marlins covet. They have their share of hard-throwing relievers, like Kyle Barraclough and Brian Ellington. Ziegler is a sinkerball pitcher who presents a different challenge for hitters with his unorthodox delivery.
Once an up-and-coming closer with the Rangers, Feliz still is a power pitcher. If Miami could snare Ziegler and Feliz, it would be a successful combination. Feliz's four-seam fastball velocity average, according to Statcast™, was 96.5 mph in 2016 with the Pirates. Feliz is 28, and he has 99 career saves. The right-hander could fill a setup role while serving as a candidate to close when A.J. Ramos is not available.
At 31, Salas could add depth in a setup role. The right-hander has closed in the past, saving a career-high 24 games for the Cardinals in 2011. He has 30 career saves and has been durable, especially the past two years, appearing in more than 70 games in each season. He combined for 75 appearances in 2016 with the Angels and Mets.
Like Salas, Tazawa is best suited for a setup role. The 30-year-old right-hander, who has been with the Red Sox since 2009, posted a 9.8 K/9 mark last year. Over the past four years, he's appeared in at least 53 games in each season. The Marlins' bullpen is expected to be heavily used, and durability will be a key factor into the team's decision-making.
Although Miami covets relievers, the club could still add another starting pitcher. If the Marlins are able to land one of the four above options, then they could turn to a free agent like Fister, who made 32 starts and threw 180 1/3 innings with the Astros last year.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com 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.