What will the Miami Marlins do to improve a bullpen that had issues converting saves last season and had a 4.97 ERA, which was 26th in the Majors?
I’m not so sure the bullpen won’t be the biggest concern this offseason for the Miami Marlins, but it will certainly be one of the most pressing issues in free agency.
What the Marlins plan to do with their pitching staff also will be closely watched by those of us covering the team, looking to see if another veteran arm is added to the rotation, which pitcher may not be part of the starting five, and if there is a trade or two involving any of the young arms for a hitter or another prospect.
Miami has what can best be described as the start of something better than good, but not great just yet. It will still take time and maturity of the staff to show its full potential. And as Derek Jeter and the front office has asked, patience will be necessary to see the fulfillment of the plan the organization has for the future.
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I personally still believe it is two years away before fans and the front office sees the necessary movement in the standings to give everyone a true sense of hope.
"“The Marlins anticipate having a stronger rotation in 2020, with prospects like Sixto Sanchez, Edward Cabrera and Nick Neidert getting closer to being big-league ready,” writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. “If those pitchers progress as anticipated, the rotation should be the strength of the club. And the organization wants to give them as much bullpen assistance as possible to help close out games. The Marlins converted 27 of 49 save opportunities. They have to improve in that area.”"
Does that mean it happens internally or will the franchise seek an arm or two, or even three to help with that process?
If the coaching staff determines there will be new faces in the rotation, with Neidert being the one most likely to move up after Spring Training, who moves? Elieser Hernandez split time in the rotation and in relief. He will most likely start the season from the bullpen. I’m not sold on Robert Dugger being an every-day starter, just yet. He may go back to Triple-A Wichita to begin the 2020 campaign.
There has been some talk that Sergio Romo may want to return to Miami this offseason, which could solve the closer role for this team. There are others to consider. I believe Jarlin Garcia should get a crack at a late-inning role. Ryne Stanek and Jose Urena are also options.
The one player to keep an eye on is Drew Steckenrider, who has been injured the majority of this season. If he is healthy, he becomes a major “player” in how the bullpen situation plays out.