Finding a Match for Adam Conley: New York Yankees and Houston Astros

Marlins pitcher Adam Conley is one left-handed reliever who could be of interest to teams around the league. In the last 4 years (with the exception of the 2015 season), Conley has seen himself bounce from the majors to the minors (AAA) on numerous occasions. Conley pitched as a SP in his first three seasons in the big leagues and did a very good job of it in his first two years…

Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images North America

2015

  • IP: 67 (all stats per FanGraphs)
  • ERA: 3.76
  • K/9: 7.93
  • BB/9: 2.82
  • WHIP: 1.28

2016

  • IP: 133.1
  • ERA: 3.85
  • K/9: 8.37
  • BB/9: 4.19
  • WHIP: 1.40

but in 2017, things started to fall apart (his strikeout rate regressed to 6.31 K/9 and his HR/9 ballooned to 1.67 [in his previous two seasons, his HR/9 was under 1.00] as his ERA rose to a startling 6.14. The following year (2018), the Marlins decided to convert Conley to a reliever. His numbers did improve by a quite bit…

2018

  • IP: 50.2
  • ERA: 4.09
  • K/9: 8.88
  • BB/9: 3.20
  • WHIP: 1.09 (lowest/best in his career)
  • HR/9: 0.89
  • SwStr%: 14.5 (up 4.9% from 2017)
  • Fastball velocity: 95.7 mph (up 5.8 mph from 2017)

The New York Yankees and Houston are two teams that could potentially be interested in acquiring Adam Conley. The Marlins would presumably be open to parting ways with Conley. Here are a number of compelling reasons why:

  • He has no minor league options (might not want him to take up a 25-man-roster spot over a talented/raw player whom the Marlins want to see more from) remaining
  • They have two other LHPs who are likely to pitch out of their bullpen in 2019: Wei-Yin Chen and Jarlin Garcia
  • He’s already 28 years old

New York Yankees

The Yankees could really use another experienced southpaw reliever. Other than Aroldis Chapman, their probable closer, they don’t have much in terms of depth (of LHPs in the pen). Here’s what they could conceivably give up in return for Adam Conley…

New York Yankees trade RHP Luis Cessa and LHP Stephen Tarpley to the Miami Marlins for LHP Adam Conley

Luis Cessa, 26-years-old, struggled in 2018 with the Yankees (5.24 ERA in 44.2 IP), but his peripheral stats provide a glimpse of hope…

  • K/9: 7.86
  • BB/9: 2.62
  • FIP: 3.74
  • xFIP: 3.84

With Cessa being out of options, it makes sense for the Yankees to look to move him. He could pitch full time out of the Marlins’ pen. His AAA stats are also promising (2.73 ERA in just over 25 IP).

26-year-old Stephen Tarpley has yet to be a given a chance to establish himself as an MLB caliber relief pitcher (only 9 major league IP on his resume); however, he performed exceptionally well in AAA and could take on a role similar to that of the one Conley had (with the Marlins)…

  • IP: 34
  • K/9: 10.06
  • BB/9: 2.91
  • ERA: 2.65

Another team who could be interested in Conley is the Houston Astros.

Houston Astros

Even more so than the Yankees, the Stros could really use another LHP in their pen. At that the moment, Cionel Perez is the #1 on the depth chart. As impressive of a showing he put up in 2018 as a 22-year-old, I’m uncertain that Perez is ready to assume that role at this time. Regardless of Perez’s readiness, Conley would enable the Astros to better cater to matchups (one additional LHP in the bullpen) and would improve the depth of their pen overall. Here’s what the Astros have to offer…

Houston Astros trade UTL Tony Kemp to the Miami Marlins for LHP Adam Conley

Here’s what Jeff Zimmermann had to say in regards to Tony Kemp:

He was an stolen base/batting average player coming through the minors with little or no power. Over the past two seasons, he’s seen his power tick up to non-zero levels with 10 homers in 2017 and six last seasons across all levels. Part of the power bump is from pulling the ball 49% of the time. Additionally, he has a great eye posting walk rates over 10% and strikeout rates under 20%. His career major league stats (470 PA) of .245/.327/.359 with 7 HR and 12 SB is a great snapshot of his profile.

(Jeff Zimmerman)

Ultimately, Kemp (who has no minor league options left) has no clear route to regular PT with Michael Brantley, George Springer, and Josh Reddick locking down the 3 starting spots in the OF (top prospect Kyle Tucker is on the horizon) and Jose Altuve manning 2B.

The Marlins on the other hand could play Tony Kemp all around the diamond, especially at LF (in place of Austin Dean, who has minor league options left). Although Dean hit well in AAA last year (.345 AVG in 109 games played), he really struggled in the MLB (.221 AVG in 34 games played). The Marlins could look to platoon Kemp (who hits lefty) and Dean (who hits righty), or they could simply opt to start Dean in the minors and move from there.

Thanks for reading.

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