The Miami Marlins are keeping pace in the National League East division race. They come into the day trailing the Washington Nationals by just 2.5 games for first place in the division and 3.5 games out of the second wild card spot.
With the team being within striking distance at this point in the season, the Marlins front office has done its due diligence on trying to upgrade the team. The loss of Jose Fernandez for the season has made the starting pitching go from a strong point to a weakness as of late.
The recent struggles of the rotation, particularly the issues with the bottom of the rotation, the Marlins have begun identifying pitchers they could bring into help the team. A surprise name that the Marlins are rumored to be scouting that came up last week was David Price.
The Cardinals have been watching the Rays closely recently, the Giants and Dodgers (whom many around baseball consider the favorites for Price) at times. The Braves, especially after Gavin Floyd‘s injury, seem like a possibility, and maybe there’s a surprise candidate, such as the Marlins, who also were scouting Price on Friday. Among other AL teams, the Angels, A’s and Indians seem likely candidates.
The price for Price is likely going to be hefty, as he is likely to be pursued by teams with deeper organizational depth than the Marlins now have. Also making matters tough will be the Marlins are going to be unwilling to part with top prospect Andrew Heaney.’
For that reason, the Marlins should look at another intriguing name, one that could be had for a lot less.
Brandon McCarthy, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is a name that the Marlins should look more seriously at, as the trade deadline nears. McCarthy could be had for a lot less than Price, but even his market is beginning to heat up.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the following about the market for McCarthy.
Brian Kenny will love this: #DBacks’ McCarthy drawing trade interest despite 1-10 record. ERA is 5.38, but FIP is 3.99. Plus: 80Ks, 18 BB.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 25, 2014
On the year, McCarthy owns an ugly 1-10 record, something I have a hard time believing the Marlins backwards front office will look past. His ERA of 5.38 is hardly inspiring as well.
However, McCarthy’s peripherals paint a completely different picture and show that he is primed for a turnaround in the near future.
He has made 16 starts this season, throwing 97 innings. He has averaged 6 innings per start, something that the Marlins have lacked from their 5th spot this season. McCarthy owns a 4.07 FIP and a 2.98 xFIP for the season, is walking less than 2 hitters per game (1.67), and striking out a career high (7.42) per nine innings.
McCarthy’s LOB% is at 64.7%, which is well below his career rate of 70.4%. His BABIP (Batting Averge on Balls in Play) is also at a career high mark of .339, which is well above league average. Going forward, ZiPS projects a .314 BABIP for the rest of the season, which should help his numbers regress towards his FIP.
One other factor that luck has not helped McCarthy with his home run to fly ball ratios. The 21% mark on the season is double both his career average and the highest mark he has had in a full season of pitching. Regardless of if this regresses to his career mark, a move to Marlins Park would be extremely beneficial to his numbers.
As Rosenthal pointed out in his tweet, McCarthy is owed a hefty $4.5 million for the rest of the season. For the right return, the Diamondbacks could likely eat a good part of that.
Either way, Marlins GM Dan Jenning recently told Jim Bowden that Loria is willing to open up the checkbook for the trade deadline:
Dan Jennings just told us that Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria told him he is willing to “open the checkbook” at the trade deadline XM 89
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) June 22, 2014
Looking over McCarthy’s numbers one time, McCarthy is destined to regressed towards the peripherals that he has posted in the 2014 season. If the Marlins front office is wise, they’d jump on McCarthy and bolster their pitching staff before they waste any more outings on their young prospects that may not yet be ready for the big leagues.