Unsurprising to most Miami (Florida) Marlins fans, Ken Rosenthal had this to tweet yesterday:
"@Ken_RosenthalKen Rosenthal#Marlins‘ top priority is rotation. Team thinks Vazquez will retire. Johnson back as No. 1. Want two more to go with Sanchez-Nolasco. #MLB"
The team has been stressing the importance of starting pitching for a while now. Apparently the Marlins are looking for two more starters to join the trio of Josh Johnson–Anibal Sanchez–Ricky Nolasco. One option that I continue to stress the Marlins make a run after is C.J. Wilson. Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson are two more names out there on the market that could catch the Marlins attention. I do not see the Marlins signing Wilson and then having enough left over for Buehrle/Jackson. Wilson is likely to get a 5 year, $85 million contract. Both Buehrle and Jackson are expected to get an annual salary in the range of $10-12 million. With other needs as well, the Marlins are likley only to add one of those three pitchers, with my strong preference being Wilson.
Another option for the Marlins could be Paul Maholm. The Pittsburgh Pirates declined the option of Maholm earlier this off-season. Maholm would certainly be an interesting guy for the Marlins to take a look at. This is what Bradley Woodrum from Fangraphs had to say about his impending free agency:
"Apparently, the Pittsburgh Pirates may try to shop Paul Maholm in the hopes someone may find his ~$10M club option worthy of throwing a prospect Pitt-town’s way, but if not, he could make an interesting free agent target. Maholm has consistently beat his xFIP for the last three years and could potentially blossom with a strong defense and legitimate team around him."
Now I am not sure if the Marlins are a strong defensive team, but the case is certainly there that they are a legitimate team. Maholm would be a wise investment for the Marlins as he has had success in the past, he just had a hard time putting up numbers on a Pirates team that was never seeming to be going anywhere. Here is a quick glimpse at Maholm’s career numbers.
As seen in 2011, Maholm’s numbers seem to be right in line with his career numbers. Maholm is not a strike out guy, but he will not be walking a lot of batters either. He depends a lot on his defense behind him to make plays. Maholm is mostly a ground ball pitcher, with a career groundball/flyball ratio of 1.77. Maholm does not have a tendency to allow a lot of home runs either. Like Woodrum said, with the right team, Maholm has a chance to blossom into the type of pitcher that the Pirates expected him to be when he was drafted in the first round of the 2003 MLB draft.
With all this talk about adding two pitchers, it seems like the end of Chris Volstad as a Marlins is near the end right? Not necessarily, there maybe a chance the Marlins go ahead and pay Volstad his arbitration salary and keep him in the minors as depth for the starting rotation. Given Josh Johnson’s injury concerns, this would be a wise move for the Marlins. The Marlins would have him, Brad Hand, Alex Sanabia, and hopefully a healthy Sean West waiting in the wings at AAA in case of injury or bad performances. Rotation depth has been a major Achilles heel for the Marlins the past few seasons, hopefully it is not in 2012, or the chances of competing go down the drain.