The Miami Marlins final roster seems to be coming together quickly, as we have just a week until the regular season starts. Earlier today, the Marlins requested outfielder Reed Johnson‘s request to be released and optioned Preston Clairbone to Triple-A.
On Monday evening, the team made another roster move, placing left hander Andrew McKirahan on waivers.
On the last day of the winter meetings, the Marlins scooped up McKirahan, in hopes he could be a Rule 5 success, in the same vein as Dan Uggla was for them before the 2006 season. McKirahan would have had to stick on the Marlins 25-man roster all season, or be offered back to the Cubs.
According to Clark Spencer, the Marlins placing McKirahan on waivers means another team can claim him. If he goes unclaimed, he will then be returned to the Cubs. The chances of him making it through waivers aren’t that good. Some team will look to add a talented 25-year left-handed reliever.
I’m not 100% sure of the rules, but I think the Marlins strategy here is to try to work out a trade for McKirahan, so they don’t lose him for nothing at the end of the day.
Personally, I would liked to see the Marlins deal Brad Hand instead and give the 25-year old a shot. We know what Hand is at this point and he’s unlikely to reach the artificial ceiling the Fish have placed for him.
McKirahan posted a a 3.45 ERA and a 3.50 FIP in 28 2/3 innings in Double-A last year. This after he posted a 0.99 ERA and a 2.76 FIP in 36 1/3 additional innings in High-A.
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For the spring, McKirahan had a 3.00 ERA in 9 innings of work with 6 strikeouts and just 3 walks.
Brad Hand on the other hand does have major league time, posting a 4.42 ERA and a 4.76 FIP 195 1/3 innings of career work. He had a 3.97 FIP in the second half of 2014, which could be a major reason why the Marlins still believe in him, despite nearly 200 innings of below league average pitching.
Personally, I think the Marlins would have been better suited to try to keep McKirahan and trade Hand, but the team obviously didn’t opt to do that. Maybe the offers for Hand were so underwhelming the team felt they were better off keeping him?
Anyways, it will be interesting to see how the McKirahan situation plays out. It’s highly unlikely he makes it through waivers without being claimed. The bottom feeding National League teams will have first dibs at him.