Marlins grab Villone for bullpen

By Jim Callis
July 31, 2005

On a Sunday devoid of splashy trades, the Marlins settled for making a bullpen addition. Florida got Ron Villone from the Mariners for a pair of hard-throwing Double-A righthanders, Yorman Bazardo and Mike Flannery.

Villone, a 35-year-old lefthander, joins the ninth major league club of his career. He’s in the midst of posting the best ERA of his 11 big league seasons (2.45) to go with a 2-3 record and one save in 52 appearances. He has a 41-23 strikeout-walk ratio in 40 innings, and has held opponents to a .226 average and two homers. Villone’s main pitch is a cut fastball that usually arrives in the high 80s, and he also throws a hard slider and a changeup. He’s making $1.7 million in 2005 and is due $2 million in 2006 as part of a two-year, $4.6 million contract he signed in the offseason. He has a 49-52, 4.70 record and six saves in 446 career games (93 starts).

Bazardo, 21, signed out of Venezuela in 2000. He had the best arm in the Marlins system, consistently delivering fastballs in the low to mid-90s and peaking at 98 mph. Despite his velocity and good control, he doesn’t strike out as many batters as might be expected because he still needs to refine his changeup and slider. He made his big league debut in May against the Mets, allowing five runs in 1 2/3 innings. He has spent the rest of the season at Double-A Carolina, going 8-6, 3.79 in 18 starts. In 107 innings, he had a 72-35 K-BB ratio with a .257 opponent average and 12 homers allowed.

Flannery, 26, was pushing for his first big league promotion as well. A 33rd-round pick in 1999, he signed as a draft-and-follow the next year out of Gloucester County (N.J.) JC. He also can light up a radar gun, reaching 94-95 mph with regularity. His slider also has its moments. He has divided 2005 between Triple-A Albuquerque and Carolina, with a 2-3, 3.21 record and 13 saves in 45 games. He has a 50-17 K-BB ratio in 53 innings, while opponents have batted .231 with five homers against him.