With free agency already in full swing, the Miami Marlins may look to add a veteran pitcher to the rotation.
If the Miami Marlins are going to get serious about moving out of the National League East cellar, the front office needs to consider adding a veteran to its starting rotation.
It’s not rocket science to look at the current pitching staff and see youth, strength, and weakness rolled into a roller coaster ride that has no stopping point. Balance is an issue as is finding five healthy arms to make it through a season. Aside from Sandy Alcantara, who started the 2019 season as the team’s fourth starter, Miami had to plug and play with different players on the mound throughout the year.
Another campaign in 2020 with the same results will test Don Mattingly’s resolve and the front office to possibly make a change. The pitching staff is supposed to be Miami’s strength, but unless the depth in the minor leagues is able to come through, I believe another 100-loss season could be on the horizon.
Finding a veteran arm or two for the back end of the rotation appears necessary.
My colleague Joshua Sadlock of FanSided.com pointed out, the Marlins don’t have high-priced contracts to deal with, but aren’t not looking to spend tons of money either. It remains to be seen whether Derek Jeter and Michael Hill will reverse their course of action and open up the vault to bring in a quality veteran starter.
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"“The Marlins won’t spend money in free agency this winter if they don’t have to, but they have only $34 million guaranteed to six players for next season,” he writes. “They’ll have to do something this winter to be able to field a full 25-man roster. Miami will look for a few cheap veterans who might prove to be valuable on the trade market by the middle of the year.”"
One name that Sadlock proposes the Marlins take a long look at is Clay Buchholz, who spent last season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
If the 35-year-old wants to continue to pitch, Miami is a landing spot that can benefit from his presence.
The Marlins have the arms to fill a rotation and then some. Determining where everyone fits is the issue. Caleb Smith will be the No. 2 starter. If Pablo Lopez can stay healthy, he could fit at No.3. After that, there is plenty of discussions to be had. Robert Dugger showed promise but did not earn a win last season. Elieser Hernandez was a part-time starter who is available for the bullpen as well. Jordan Yamamoto was brilliant in his first four starts and then came back down to earth and suffered an arm injury as well.
For those reasons alone, Buchholz may make more sense than other pitchers the staff here at Marlin Maniac have discussed recently. Also, Sadlock believes there are free-agent pitchers who would consider a move to the Marlins despite the team’s rebuilding project and lack of postseason potential, including Buchholz.
"“The Marlins can effectively serve as the landing spot for veteran players who don’t necessarily care about playing for a winner and just need a job…,” he adds. “The right-hander was 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts as recently as 2018.”"