The Miami Marlins will have some tough decisions to make with their pitching staff, especially which veterans remain with the ballclub.
The old adage used to be that good hitting trumps good pitching. The Miami Marlins have a solid nucleus of young pitching talent with young bats that still must develop. It may be another long season in 2019 before both components find some harmony.
The Marlins pitching staff should have many of the same familiar faces and a few additions from their farm system. But what is not known, yet, is which veterans will remain in the sunny confines of South Florida and which will find new homes to start the 2019 season.
The front office does have some tough decisions to make concerning Dan Straily, Wei-Yin Chen and Jose Urena for next year. With the influx of young arms, it does not appear likely all three will wear Marlins uniforms moving forward.
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Here is a breakdown of how this could shape up.
When Straily was on, he was very good. There were times, many times this season when the batting order failed to offer run support. Straily is clearly the veteran of this team and offers stability. However, there was talk about playoff contenders – Milwaukee and Oakland – showing interest in him at the MLB Trade Deadline.
Injuries this season plagued him, which could lessen his trade value.
"“Straily opened and closed the season with injuries. A right forearm strain landed him on the disabled list in April, and a strained left oblique sidelined him in the final weeks,” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes.“Straily finished the season making 23 starts, and logging 122 1/3 innings, going 5-6 with a 4.12 ERA.”"
Straily, who gets a pay increase in 2019, figures to part ways with this pitching staff this offseason.
He is the biggest enigma the Marlins have on their pitching staff. Chen was lights out at home and dismal on the road. I have jokingly said if he only pitched at Marlins Park, he could be a Cy Young candidate.
The Marlins would take that offering as well.
The albatross that becomes part of this decision is a contract that weighs this organization down. Per spotrac.com, Chen signed a 5 year / $80,000,000 contract with the Miami Marlins, including a $13,000,000 signing bonus, $80,000,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $16,000,000. He is set to make $20 million this coming season.
There is no way the team can trade him and that hefty deal. The 33-year-old, who has had multiple injuries since signing a free agent deal, has to find consistency on the mound. I also think there is a chance he can become an effective long reliever, but the price for his pitching will hurt this ballclub.
Urena picked the right time to get hot. Other than J.T. Realmuto, there is no other veteran player on this roster who means more to the organization. Maligned for being too wild and hitting batters, Urena has become a more consistent pitcher and the undisputed ace of this rotation.
It could pay off for him this offseason.
"“Urena enters arbitration for the first time in 2019, and he is expected back to front the rotation,” Frisaro writes. “Urena finished 9-12 with a 3.98 ERA. In his last seven starts, he was 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA.”"
While Marlins management knows they have young arms that still need to develop and have shown flashes of brilliance, having someone at the top of the rotation who can dominate and eat up innings is a great luxury to have.
Like I stated before, on other pitching staffs, Urena is the fourth or fifth starter in the rotation. Here in Miami, he is the No. 1 starter out of necessity.