Free Agent Rankings: Starting Pitchers (1 of 3)
By Chris Logel
Now that we have completed our review of the free agents that man the field, lets shift our attention to the ones that take the hill. The brightest spot for the Marlins this past year would definitely be their starting rotation. Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, and even Jacob Turner to some degree, performed above their expectations and gave the Marlins hope for an excellent future pitching staff. With even more good arms in the minor leagues, Miami looks to be in good shape pitching.
So why would they even consider bringing in a free agent pitcher at this point?
I can think of a few reasons why this could be beneficial. To begin with, some pitchers will be low risk, high reward. Ehsan Kassim, senior editor at Marlin Maniac, outlined why the Marlins could be interested in Phil Hughes, who is one of those type of players.
The Marlins can also use some of those talented young arms to bring in some better hitters through trades. That would be easier if there were a solid veteran or two that could take their place.
Let’s look through the pitchers to see if any make sense for Miami:
Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
Considering we devoted nearly a thousand words to Phil Hughes earlier in the week, I will keep this short and sweet. There are quite a few reasons why I see a potential fit between Hughes and the Marlins, not the least of these, is a change of scenery. Some players have trouble in certain markets. Look at A.J. Burnett. He had a fine career in Miami, yet really struggled in New York. When he switched to Pittsburgh he had a great year. Some people don’t handle the New York market well, and Hughes could possibly be one of those guys. A fresh start may be all that he needs.
Hughes is still a young pitcher who has shown talent. I think he would be a great addition to the Marlins in the bottom half of the rotation. If we could get him on a one year contract for around 6 million, I would do it.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 7/10
Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
An interesting free agent is Gavin Floyd. Floyd, a former Chicago White Sox pitcher, underwent season ending surgery early in 2013, not exactly optimal heading into free agency. Prior to the injury, Floyd has been ranked in the top 10 for starts, quality starts, wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts since 2008.
Other than this last season, he has been durable and productive, yet Floyd isn’t one of those sexy names that everyone likes to dream about their team signing. The Marlins need to be looking at these types of guys, because they are often targeted mid-season by teams making a playoff push.
If the Marlins sign Floyd and he provides half of a season of quality starts, the Marlins may be able to flip him for a minor league bat or two. That would be a great scenario that the Fish need to be pursuing. I anticipate Floyd receiving a 3 year contract in the 30 million dollar range, certainly worth the risk.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 5/10
Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
The most coveted pitcher on the market is certainly Matt Garza. When healthy, Garza has pitched very well, never posting an ERA above 4.00 in any full season. While some think of Garza as slightly injury prone, I just don’t get it. He has had a couple of small injuries the last couple of years, but prior to that, he was certainly a workhorse and someone you could rely on.
He occasionally struggles with command, but makes that up with a serviceable strikeout rate. He has good velocity on his fastball and is a low number 1 to high number 2 starter in the rotation.
Being viewed as a top prize means big money. Garza will be getting a 5 year deal that I think could be worth as much as 70 million dollars. That likely means that the Marlins will be priced out of the Garza sweepstakes relatively quickly, if they are even interested. I can’t see Miami making a serious play for Garza. I expect a big market to pony up the cash for him, with the Orioles as a potential sleeper.
Likelihood of Becoming a Marlin: 1/10
With so many free agents, we will be splitting the rankings into multiple posts, so check back often to see how the rest of the class could fit with the Marlins. Make sure to download the Fansided app on the right side of the page to stay up to date with all of the Marlins news and analysis.