According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Miami Marlins agreed to terms with free agent righty starter Edinson Volquez Monday night.
The deal is for 2 years and $22 million, not bad for a guy with World Series experience and a once upon a time All-Star nod to his name. Of course, he’s relatively affordable on account of his rather unspectacular 2016 season. After two years of maintaining a respectable ERA in the low to mid 3s, he put up an abysmal 5.37 this past year.
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But he pitched a lot of innings while doing so, something that has both been a constant throughout his career, and was also something the Marlins were heavily interested in adding to their 2017 rotation. In terms of plugging a spot, mission accomplished.
The big question though is whether or not this move is meant to be the move. If Volquez rebounds, and reproduces that 2014 to 2015 form, he could end up being the staff ace. However, his career average ERA is just 4.44, and that’s across twelve years in the bigs.
Those 2014 and 2015 campaigns comprise two of the three occasions where he actually posted an ERA under 4.00, with the other coming way back in 2008. Meaning, the odds are pretty good he ends up battling Tom Koehler for the title of third best pitcher, rather than challenging Adam Conley or Wei-Yin Chen at the top of the rotation.
Seeing the Marlins locking up one of the top free agent pitchers available though is certainly cause for celebration, and is a big step in the right direction. As for how brilliant the move really was though, that will depend on the next couple free agents they bring aboard.
If by the time pitchers and catchers report in February, Volquez is the second best new pitcher the team brought in, fans can feel good about the Marlins putting up a winning campaign next season. Trading for a higher upside starter, or signing a top flight reliever, would make that scenario a reality.
But if this signing is either only backed up by a Jon Niese type addition, or the announcement that Jose Urena is being given the fifth starter job, then this could just be remembered as a waste of precious financial resources.
Right now though ,making this deal before the Winter Meetings even start? Color me optimistic this move works out for Miami.