Are the Miami Marlins taking a chance on their starting rotation before its young arms are ready to produce with consistency?
It appears the Miami Marlins are jumping into the deep end for the 2019 season.
This might be a 180-degree turn from what CEO Derek Jeter and the organization has been preaching since the former New York Yankees star took over the day-to-day operations of this team.
The mantra from the beginning of this rebuild has been a slow and steady process, bringing players up through the minor-league system and producing a winner which may take another two or three years. Now, with a younger rotation and a lack of power in the middle of the batting order, Miami is hoping to turn the corner by out pitching teams instead of out hitting them.
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It’s like a pro football team that doesn’t have a good defense and hopes it can outscore opponents before the clock runs out.
I’m a bit concerned about this philosophy. I have bought in to what Jeter and President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill has been preaching this off-season. While watching the team during its 11-game winning streak, I too have a belief this rotation and pitching staff will be better than advertised, but it still may be a year away. Releasing Straily eliminates a veteran presence this team still needs.
With the bullpen still questionable because we aren’t sure what we are getting yet, these young arms are going to be asked to give this ballclub six or seven innings per outing. That’s a lot to rely on. Fans can only hope that new Marlins pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Jr has a plan in place that won’t overstress these arms early in the season.
That’s why the addition of Sergio Romo becomes key to the success of this staff in 2019. If the veteran can help settle the bullpen down from what it was last season, I like the Marlins chances of winning more than 70 games.
Jose Urena will take the mound on Thursday and be asked to lead this quintet. He now goes from starter and ace of the staff to leader by default. If he is able to master all three jobs, he could have an All-Star season.
Sandy Alcantara becomes the No. 2 starter. His control and consistency must improve immediately. The rest of the rotation, with Trevor Richards, Pablo Lopez, and Caleb Smith, give manager Don Mattingly consistency and improved velocity of the season.
It sounds great as fans read this story and hear the hype, but production is what will keep them coming back out to the ball park. If the Marlins gambled and succeeded, then this pitching staff will be very good. We will forget the questionable decision the organization made with Straily.
If the team filters, and these arms don’t deliver, then we will be discussing this move for the entire season and beyond. That’s something the organization does not want to dwell on.