The turnover in the starting rotation has been massive. With several projected starters no longer on the active roster, the Miami Marlins should give rookie Jarlin Garcia a shot.
The Miami Marlins demoted starter Tom Koehler to the minor leagues earlier this week. Following a start in which the Houston Astros battered him around, Koehler needed a reboot. At some point, we will see the big righty back with the pro-club. But for the time being, questions linger.
How the Marlins choose to handle their starting rotation will largely determine how they finish out the month of May. After consistently struggling to net wins this month, no stone should be left unturned. That could mean throwing an inexperienced, but promising young left-hander into the fire.
Jarlin Garcia has been better than many anticipated out of the pen this season. In a strictly relief role, Garcia has made 14 appearances and touts a sub-3.00 ERA. He has 12 strikeouts in 12.1 innings of work, and has only allowed one home run during that time. The original plan was to slow-play his transition into the rotation, but few things have gone as planned this season.
Koehler’s demotion set off a series of rosters moves intended to help jumpstart the team with some fresh blood. This included activating recent waiver claim Christian Colon, and recalling reliever Brian Ellington, and starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne.
Colon and Ellington and solid pickups that should help bolster the teams depth. Despaigne, on the other hand, has never put together much success at the Major League level.
The Cuban righty has already made one appearance this season and it didn’t go well. The Mets appeared to be taking batting practice while Despaigne was on the mound, and he only lasted 4.2 innings. With no other starters currently on the roster, it appears that he will be filling in for a while.
Better options exist
Hopefully this isn’t the case. If the Marlins brought Despaigne up for long-relief/mop-up duty, then he is well suited for his role. If they are hoping to get quality starts out of him, fat chance. In four years of pro service, Despaigne has amassed a 4.90 ERA, and -1.8 WAR. He isn’t turning into Livan Hernandez anytime soon.
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The Marlins have nothing to lose by sliding Jarlin Garcia into the starting rotation. It’s not as if they’d be asking him to do something that he hasn’t done at other levels of professional baseball. In the seven years of minor league ball that Garcia has logged for the Marlins, he has appeared in 111 games; 89 of those have been starts.
The way this year is going, nothing should be shut down without consideration. Despaigne was already given a chance to start this season, and he did little to inspire confidence. He left balls up in the zone and looked overmatched by an average Mets lineup. Jarlin Garcia might not be the answer, but Odrisamer Despaigne is definitely not the answer.
If the Marlins are going to struggle, they might as well learn something while they’re at it. Even if Garcia fails, it doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t start in the Major Leagues. It might mean he isn’t ready yet and needs more time. If so, then on to the next plan not named Odrisamer Despaigne.
If the Miami Marlins want to turn the season around, it is going to take some creativity. Give Garcia a start against a middling Oakland A’s team at the end of the road trip; set him up to succeed. His performance warrants an opportunity.