Astros Add Another Closer, Acquire Yimi Garcia From Marlins
A day after acquiring Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero from the division-rival Mariners, the Astros struck another deal to help their beleaguered bullpen on Wednesday.
The Astros acquired closer Yimi Garcia from the Marlins in exchange for righthander Austin Pruitt and minor league outfielder Bryan De La Cruz. Garcia, 30, joins an Astros bullpen that has blown 16 saves, 12th most in the major leagues.
Garcia, Graveman and Montero all join Ryan Pressly as players with closer experience in the Astros bullpen. While Pressly figures to continue to get the bulk of the save chances, Graveman and Garcia give them two more pitchers who have shown they can handle late-inning pressure.
Austin Pruitt, RHP
Pruitt has a 4.89 ERA in parts of four seasons in the majors and was designated for assignment by the Astros shortly before the trade. His 91-92 mph fastball is extremely hittable and he doesn’t miss many bats, but his hard, upper-80s slider has been an effective pitch and gives him something to survive with. Pruitt came up as a starter and is capable of pitching multiple innings. He is under team control through the end of the 2024 season.
Bryan De La Cruz, OF
De La Cruz put up big numbers this year for Triple-A Sugar Land, hitting .324/.362/.518 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs in 62 games. Sugar Land is a rare pitchers' park in the Triple-A West, formerly known as the Pacific Coast League, but De La Cruz did most of his damage on the road in extremely hitter-friendly conditions. He hit .358 with 10 home runs and a 1.015 OPS on the road compared to .271 with two home runs and a .672 OPS at home. De La Cruz is a good fastball hitter and has gotten better at driving the ball in the air as he’s matured and gotten stronger. He’s a corner outfielder who can play center field in a pinch, so he needs to show he can consistently tap into that power when he's not playing in launching pads like Albuquerque and El Paso. De La Cruz has gone unprotected and unpicked in the past two Rule 5 drafts. His stark home/road splits lead most to project him as a depth outfielder, but his improved strength and ability to elevate the ball have him trending in the right direction. The Marlins will have to decide whether to add him to the 40-man roster after the season.
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Yimi Garcia, RHP
Garcia primarily served as a middle reliever in his first six seasons but became the Marlins closer this year and converted 15 saves in 18 chances. He mostly relies on his mid-90s fastball and upper-80s slider and induces a good amount of weak contact, although he has occasionally been prone to giving up home runs on his fastball.