Jake Esch has a new place to call home. After spending the majority of his career in the minors with the Miami Marlins, the pitcher has been signed by the San Diego Padres and was assigned to Triple-A El Paso. Before signing Esch, Padres cleared space by designating fellow right-hander Cesar Vargas for assignment.
Because the Padres organization is depleted of pitching talent, the road to the majors may be short for Esch, who spent time last season on the Marlins’ main roster after August 31. He went to Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida, trying to make the major league roster that was deep in relief pitchers after free agency.
Despite being selected in the 2011 MLB Draft as a collegiate pitcher out of Georgia Tech, Esch has just 13 innings of big league experience under his belt, all of which came last season. The Marlins used Esch as a spot starter with the former 11th-round draft choice making three starts in 2016. He finished with a 5.54 ERA but has been known to possess a wide array of pitches, making him potentially intriguing despite a slower path toward the majors.
In the Marlins’ minor league system, the 27-year-old functioned as a starting pitcher from 2012 to 2016. His abundance of minor league experience mostly came with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns, where he logged more than 200 innings between the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
While he boasted more respectable ERAs there, Triple-A bats feasted on Esch in smaller sample sizes. He closed his 2015 Triple-A slate with a 5.40 ERA in 30 innings and finished his 2016 sample with the New Orleans Zephyrs at 5.70 in 23 innings.
The Marlins have reached an agreement with Vance Worley on a Minor League contract. Once finalized, the 29-year-old will join the rotation at Triple-A New Orleans. The move will fill the spot in created by Esch’s release.
Per MLB.com, Worley's deal is pending completion of his physical. The right-hander provides organizational depth with big league experience, and he can either start or be used in long relief.
Released by the Nationals on March 29, Worley has appeared in 139 MLB games with 85 starts. With Washington in Spring Training, Worley threw 15 Grapefruit League innings with a 4.80 ERA.