Trading Tom Koehler provides little value for the Miami Marlins

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Miami Marlins have been linked to a number of trade rumors in the last two weeks. As the team struggles, the rumors continue to grow.

Total disclamer: The Miami Marlins are in all likelihood looking for someone who would be willing to deal for Tom Koehler. Of all the trades the team has been linked to recently, it is one of the few that probably is in the works. Many of the rumors are nonsensical nonsense, this one isn’t.

But just because it’s probably true, doesn’t mean it’s a wise trade for the Fish. Tom Koehler might not be the second coming of Kerry Wood, but he provides more value as a member of the team.

The Miami Marlins aren’t off to a great start, that much is common knowledge. Right now, it appears that they are chasing two rabbits: rebuilding and a wildcard spot. As the saying goes, if you chase two rabbits, you’ll lose them both.

Tom Koehler is currently on the disabled list. The transaction to move him there came after he was demoted to AAA. The team reversed the decision after an injury to his shoulder was discovered. At this juncture, it’s difficult to tell whether the injury is a reason, or an excuse.

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Koehler’s last Major League start was his worst of the season. He allowed eight runs in only three innings of work. He never looked comfortable on the mound. This year has marked a huge step back for the 30 year old right hander. Considered one of the Marlins few known commodities in the starting rotation entering the season, Koehler has floundered in 2017.

Trade speculation is to be expected. Several contending teams that are in need of starting pitching are believed to be interested. The Orioles, Mariners, and Tigers, to name a few. But with Koehler’s value at an all-time low, it makes little sense for the Miami Marlins to move him.

How to proceed with Koehler

What would the Marlins realistically receive in return for Koehler? Not much. Most of these teams would view him as a band-aid solution for the back of their rotation. He is arbitration eligible in 2018, then a free-agent in 2019. He isn’t a long-term answer for anybody looking to acquire him.

As such, the Marlins aren’t likely to receive the type of minor league talent they’d want in return. With a notoriously poor farm system, the Marlins would likely be cutting off their own hand in dealing Koehler.

In exchange for trading Major League caliber pitching, they’d receive prospects who would at best develop in to MLB average quality players.

Moving Koehler would be a knee-jerk reaction as a result of frustration. It doesn’t make any sense for the future of the franchise. He likely wouldn’t be with the team past next season anyway, but that would provide the Marlins time to drum-up some pitching talent elsewhere in the meantime.

The smart move would be to keep him around until the trade deadline. If his performance is still poor, and the team is obviously out of the playoff race, trade him. Teams will be more desperate to make a move and that might provide a better quality haul.

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Koehler might be moved whether it makes sense or not. It’s been a frustrating start to the year for the Miami Marlins. Already a quarter of the way through the season, time is running out to turn the year around. Frustration is setting in, but that doesn’t mean the team should start making moves for the sake of making moves.

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