33-year old Clay Hensley may have just signed a minor league deal to provide depth for the Cincinnati Reds during spring training, but the right-hander was one of the NL’s best relievers only two seasons ago with the then Florida Marlins – good enough to take over the closer’s role late in the season, even.
Fighting for a job as minor league depth probably wasn’t what Hensley envisioned for himself going into 2013, but such is the employment volatility of a MLB reliever, and especially one with an injury history like Hensley’s.
The soft-tossing swingman missed 54 games due to a rib injury and shoulder problems, and never recovered the form that he showed prior. Asked to start in place of the injured Josh Johnson, Hensley showed initial promise with a three-start stretch that saw him give up just five runs on 17 innings, but wound up struggling in that role before finishing one of the worst seasons of this career back in the bullpen.
In the off-season, the Marlins’ one-time closer was unceremoniously DFA’d.
He wasn’t much better last season with the San Francisco Giants, as he showed flashes of his 1.5 fWAR 2010 in April and July, but was never consistent enough to sustain either run. A third DL stint in two seasons did not help his case, either.