Improving on a 57-105 season shouldn’t be very difficult.
The Marlins will begin the 2020 season with a variety of options available for the rotation. Spring Training remains to be played, and free agency is never really done, but we can kind of suss out what the Opening Day rotation will look like in 89 more days.
Being on the 40-man roster is no guarantee that a player will break camp with the parent club. Not being on the 40-man roster makes the odds longer, but players have surprised before. Jon Berti was the latest non-roster invitee to flourish after a strong spring.
On the Marlins current 40-man roster, starting options include Sandy Alcantara, Edward Cabrera, Robert Dugger, Jarlin Garcia, Jorge Guzman, Elieser Hernandez, Jordan Holloway, Pablo Lopez, Humberto Mejia, Nick Neidert, Sixto Sanchez, Caleb Smith, Jose Urena, and Jordan Yamamoto.
Of the 14 players listed above, count on Cabrera, Guzman, Holloway, Mejia, and Sanchez to begin the season either with the Triple-A Wichita Wind Surge in the Pacific Coast League or with the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League. Further, consider Garcia and Urena as bullpen arms. That leaves seven others to fight for five spots.
Alcantara, as the clear ace of the staff after a strong final two months of the 2019 season, has the inside track on Opening Day starter. After that, things become slightly muddy.
Free agent starters have become harder to come by. The current crop is topped by former Marlins starter Andrew Cashner. Ivan Nova, Jason Vargas, Tom Milone, Rich Hill, Matt Moore, and Homer Bailey are the last viable options available.
Barring an acquisition of one of these free agents, who will begin the 2020 campaign as the “starting five?”