After an off day, the Miami Marlins opened a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
José Ureña took his third loss in three starts, allowing four earned runs in five innings. He gave up eight hits and struck out four, also walking three batters while getting 51-of-91 pitches in the strike zone for the Miami Marlins. But that wasn’t the worst of what the Marlins had in store on a Tuesday night in Cincinnati.
The Marlins were shut out on four hits, the first seven innings of which were tossed by former Miami Marlins pitching prospect Luis Castillo. The 6’2″, 26-year-old right-hander walked one, struck out eight and allowed only two hits. For Castillo, along with since-returned Austin Brice and speedy outfielder Isaiah White, the Marlins also collected since-departed Dan Straily. But that wasn’t the worst of what the Marlins had in store for us on a Tuesday night in Cincinnati.
The Miami Marlins struck out a dozen times in total versus Castillo and reliever Michael Lorenzon. JT Riddle whiffed three times, Curtis Granderson and Brian Anderson struck out twice each, and five other Marlins got in on the act with swings-and-misses on Tuesday night. That was also not the worst of what the Miami Marlins had in store for us on an April Tuesday night against the oldest still-operational professional baseball team.
No – and you could probably guess this from the title of the article – the worst that we Miami Marlins faithful had to endure in this game was the continued enforced use of a pitcher that clearly has nothing left to give at any level of competitive baseball.
Wei-Yin Chen slowly and inexorably deflated the Marlins fanbase as we came to realize, more-and-more as time went on, that he was not the pitcher that Michael Hill thought he was when signed from the Baltimore Orioles through free agency. The terms of the deal are well-tread and well-read – a five-year, $80 million deal. For these last two seasons, he’s owed $42 million.
The $20 million Chen will earn in 2019 is far-and-away the highest salary of any Miami Marlins player, and accounts for nearly 30 percent of the payroll. In itself, that is not enough incentive for a thinking front-office to continue giving him reps at the highest level of baseball in the world. The Marlins have enough talent knocking at the door from triple-A New Orleans and double-A Jacksonville to back-fill the roster spot with a player who could excite and incite the fanbase (looking at you, Zac Gallen and Jose Quijada).
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In the just-completed game, Chen surrendered four home runs and watched his earned run average balloon to 24.75 on the season. When it was all said and done, he had allowed 10 earned runs on seven hits, two walks, an HBP, and an error over only two innings. Chen’s WHIP is now 3.750, his opposing batting average is .455, and although four innings is still a small sample size, His 125 total pitches would, under a closer-to-average pitcher, amount to eight or nine innings.
The Miami Marlins front office should take a good look at the projected utility they would gain by keeping Chen employed versus giving that roster spot to a pitcher who may, in time, come to be a bonifide major leaguer. Chen is clearly not worthy of such a spot at this point.
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