Tom Koehler optioned to AAA after finishing rehab

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Marlins appear to be hitting their stride with their starting pitching. After finishing his rehab assignment, the Marlins optioned Tom Koehler to AAA.

It appears all of the trade rumors surrounding Tom Koehler are true. The Miami Marlins sent a clear message that there isn’t any room for him with the Major League club at this time.

After finishing his rehab assignment in the minor leagues, the team chose to option Koehler to AAA instead of recall him to the Miami Marlins. They’ll likely be exploring trade options for him now that he is off the disabled list and can be moved.

It’s unclear what teams would be interested in trading for Koehler, or what the Fish would get in return.

For the majority of his Major League career, Koehler was regarded as an innings-eater type pitcher. Nobody expected him to win any Cy Young Awards, but he could be relied upon to go deep into the game and give you a chance to win.

He wasn’t doing that this season. Koehler was ineffective and was getting chased from the game early. In his last Major League start, he went only three innings while allowing eight runs.

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He was demoted to AAA following the game that night. The team later voided that transaction and put him on the disabled list with shoulder bursitis instead. After regaining his health, he made two appearances in the lower levels.

Many felt that the injury explained Koehler’s poor start. In eight starts this season, he was 1-2 with a 7.04 ERA. He logged only two starts with a game score over 50, and averaged a score of 42.

What the future holds

Unfortunately, Koehler didn’t light it up during his rehab starts the way the team would have liked. He made two appearances and struggled in both. In his first appearance, he went four innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. He struck out five batters and walked two.

Then an appearance at AAA with the Baby Cakes that went only 3.1 innings likely sealed his fate. Koehler allowed only one run, but threw a whopping 79 pitches to get through 13 batters. He fanned eight of them.

Koehler’s starts suggest that he might still be working himself back. The team would have liked to see him pitch to more contact and go deeper into games. Expect the team to be actively shopping him. A deal could come soon.

This means that the team is all in on Justin Nicolino at the Major League level. The lefty should be able to make his next start after missing his previous two with a bruised finger. He has pitched well in two of his three starts this year.

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If the team is able to get back an acceptable prospect, they’ll pull the trigger on a deal. Koehler’s $5 million-plus salary is way too high to keep at AAA for the rest of the season. The team likely wants a starting pitching prospect, or a reliever who throws hard and would be MLB ready soon.