The Diamondbacks announced they’ve claimed reliever Cole Sulser off waivers from the Marlins. Arizona’s 40-man roster tally jumps to 37, while Miami’s drops to 40.
Sulser spent one season in South Florida. The Fish acquired the right-hander alongside hard-throwing Tanner Scott in a package deal with the Orioles going into the 2022 season. Sulser was coming off an excellent 2.70 ERA over 63 1/3 innings in Baltimore, looking like a late-blooming high-leverage bullpen piece. He didn’t replicate that success during his year in Miami, however, scuffling to a 5.29 ERA over 34 frames.
The 32-year-old surrendered six home runs over that stretch, and his strikeout rate dipped from 28.4% with Baltimore to 25.5% this past season. Sulser’s average fastball speed also dropped from 93.3 MPH to 91.9 MPH, and he lost a couple months midseason with a lat strain.
That down year explains why the Marlins were willing to part with Sulser not long after acquiring him, but it’s easy enough to see the appeal for the Diamondbacks in giving him a shot. Even with his diminished velocity, he got swinging strikes on an above-average 13.3% of his pitches this year. Arizona general manager Mike Hazen has spoken about prioritizing swing-and-miss in adding to a bullpen that ranked last in the big leagues with a 19.7% strikeout rate.
Sulser has between three and four years of major league service, so he’ll be eligible for arbitration through the 2025 campaign. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects him to receive a modest $1MM salary if tendered a contract, and he could be a multi-year bullpen piece for the Snakes if he can right the ship.
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