Milbrath agrees to terms with Diamondbacks

SPRINGFIELD — Five days after the 2019 baseball season, Springfield High School graduate and former Miami Marlins minor league pitcher Jordan Milbrath got his first taste of free agency.

His initial 7-year contract was up and the Marlins didn’t make an offer to sign him, so he went out and explored his options with the rest of Major League Baseball.

Milbrath’s free agency came to an end on Wednesday after he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He signed a minor league deal and at this point, he isn’t sure where he’ll end up once the season begins.

Milbrath’s only season with the Miami organization was last year and he made two stops. He began the season with AA Jacksonville, where he went 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA. He struck out 16 batters in 13 2/3 innings and Southern League hitters had a batting average of .191 against him.

His next stop was AAA New Orleans in the Pacific Coast League. There he went 1-2 with a 4.5 ERA and he struck out 72 batters in 65 2/3 innings. Those numbers might typically mean a late-season call-up, but Milbrath didn’t receive the call. The Marlins had five days to negotiate with Milbrath after the season ended but they decided to move on.

“Personally, you can’t offended by anything,” he said. “It’s a business decision, we tried to do the best we could with our business decision, too… I felt like I pitched well enough last year to earn a big league call-up and when I didn’t I didn’t get it, it didn’t frustrate me or anything but we just put the pressure on them and they just chose to not put me in the big leagues so they ended up losing me to free agents.”

He’ll head to Arizona in February (he has to report by the 16th) and will be given the chance to compete. He and his wife already found a place to live down there, so that’s one less thing to worry about. He can now focus his attention on building his arm strength up again.

“They want to see what they have and how healthy you are, all the medical tests that need to be done,” Milbrath said. “We’ll see, I’m just excited to get down there and start competing, hopefully I can start right in AAA and earn a major league spot.”

Milbrath’s career began with the Cleveland Indians in their organization in 2013. He was selected in the 35th round. He made it as far as Class AA with the Indians and he switched his delivery motion to sidearm in 2017 in Lynchburg.

The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the Rule V draft in 2017 but he was waived and returned to the Indians at the start of the 2018 season. In February of 2019, he was traded to the Marlins, where he spent all of last season in their minor league organization.

“What I’m really hoping to do is build off of what I was doing last year,” he said. “I’ve worked out all offseason, and most of this offseason I worked out not knowing if I was going to continue playing baseball or not. I’m glad something worked out, but I spent all offseason working out just like normal in case an opportunity came up like this. I just want to keep building on the numbers that I was building from last year and just try to prove to the Diamondbacks that I’m a good major league candidate for their bullpen.”