Would the Marlins be in the market for a frontline starting pitcher?

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts against the Washington Nationals during the third inning in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Houston Astros reacts against the Washington Nationals during the third inning in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Despite the plan to add players at minimal costs to the team’s payroll, would the Miami Marlins seek a high-priced, top-line starting pitcher this winter?

Would the Marlins take a shot at trying to add a big-name front-line pitcher this offseason? And if so, does the move signal a change in how the front office will develop the future of the organization?

There has been so much talk about the Marlins being a small budget team playing in a market that is crying for a winning baseball franchise. It’s been 10 seasons since the team had a winning record and 16 years since the team made the playoffs. The organization has two World Series trophies in its existence but has struggled mightily in recent years.

Would Derek Jeter, Miami’s CEO, made a few concessions about needing to spend money to make the playoffs or at least inch toward a winning season, and add a Cy Young type of pitcher to the staff? With Free Agency looming and the winter to strengthen the roster, the Marlins need to do something to change their ways, including breaking one of the own cardinal rules.

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"“Signing free agents is at best, a risky proposition. You never know if you’re going to get another “prime” season from an established talent or a shadow of what that player used to be,” writes our own Kevin Kraczkowski.“Sometimes, it’s a question of feast or famine. These Marlins could do well to luck into a sweet deal in the free-agent market, but there are also hazards along the way.”"

This is all true, but when you open the vault and use capital on a pitcher who is expected to carry you further than you have been, the risk might be well worth it. Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith are a solid 1-2 combination for the Marlins. But add a veteran who is also dominant, and the 1-2-3 combination could be the difference in another 60-win season and approaching 80 wins in 2020.

If the Marlins decide to open the wallet this offseason, which starters would be on their shortlist? Here are three names to consider.

Madison Bumgarner – As Kraczkowski also added, “A four-time all-star with the Giants, Madison Bumgarner was held to 38 starts between 2017 and 2018 due to injury. He rebounded to lead the majors with 34 starts in 2019.”

He would instantly become the best pitcher the Marlins have had on their roster since Jose Fernandez in 2016. And with him, manager Don Mattingly has a true No. 1 ace where Alcantara moves to No. 2 and Smith to No. 3.

What I like about this move is the Marlins would be in the mix with potentially the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and multiple other teams for his services.

Gerrit Cole – The Yankees would certainly have an interest in Gerrit Cole as well. But he could also remain in Houston next season, especially if the Astros bring home another World Series ring.

Cole was 20-5 this past season with a 2.50 ERA in the American League which is insane to some degree. He has a 94-52 career record and is only 29 years old. He still might be even better as he moves into his 30s and would give the Marlins the potential of locking him up for three or four years.

Cole signed a 1 year / $13,500,000 contract with the Houston Astros, including $13,500,000 guaranteed. I don’t think $15-$16 million is out of the question. If the Marlins were to bring back Starlin Castro, that is what they would have to pay him. Why not use that kind of cash on one of the top five pitchers in all of MLB?

Zach Wheeler – This might be one of those situations where the Marlins take from one of their National League East rivals and make their own team better. Zack Wheeler, 29, was 11-8 last season for the Mets with a 3.96 ERA. He has 126 starts under his belt and could be a nice pick-up.

He could be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in this rotation. Wheeler signed a 1-year, $5,975,000 contract with Mets last offseason. He could be a player who signs with the Marlins for a two or three-year deal at a reasonable price ($15 million).

Wheeler might be more of a consideration than the other two I have mentioned.

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