In the wake of Steve Cishek‘s crumbling before their eyes, the Miami Marlins have made the executive decision to explore other closer options. While internal candidates exist in the forms of Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos and Bryan Morris, the team is reportedly also tinkering with the idea of bringing in an external arm. Free agent Rafael Soriano, who was linked to the club for much of the offseason, remains a possibility and the Marlins seem to be giving him a hard look right now.
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Another rumored acquisition could be Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. The aging Phillies are clearly mailing it in this season–they continue to employ Grady Sizemore as a starting outfielder, after all–and they really have no need for a $13 million salary in the bullpen weighing down a roster which has no chance of competing in 2015.
Corey Seidman of CSN Philly suggests that the Marlins would be a nice fit for the 34-year-old who owns a 1.35 ERA and 3.01 FIP in 13 games for the Phillies this year.
In his 11th major league season, Papelbon is still an effective closer who would give the Marlins some much-needed stability in the back of the bullpen. The problem is his hefty salary. Miami has smartly locked up some if its core pieces to rather team-friendly contracts, and the 2015 team salary is already looming above the $60 million range, which is a lot for the cash-strapped club. Not only would he be ridiculously expensive, he would be the highest paid Marlin on this year’s roster, and I’m not sure the front office is willing to stack that much more money on the books.
The Marlins would probably have to give up at least a couple prospects to get the deal done. The team dealt much of its farm this winter to win now, so why not go all in, says this blogger. The Marlins are 15-19, Steve Cishek having blown two of the last three games in the ninth inning, and are still very much on the brink of contending. The National League East is wide open, although the Washington Nationals are starting to find their groove, and the Marlins have sold the farm to contend this season, so why not pursue Papelbon?
If the Marlins do patch up the closer role externally, Rafael Soriano would probably be the smarter, somewhat cheaper option. But it’s clear that something needs to be done. The Marlins can’t afford to keep losing leads in the ninth inning.
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