As pitchers continue to fall off the availability board, the Marlins could still find help for the rotation with the possible assets remaining.
Ivan Nova is a six-five, 250 lb. right-hander out of Palenque, DR. Now 10-seasons rich with major league experience, Nova has a career 89-76 record and a 4.32 ERA. His career 1.388 WHIP and 9.6 hits allowed per nine innings is a little high, but he only gives up 2.4 walks per game. That kind of control would be priceless to the Marlins.
Nova’s career ERA+ of 98 was nearly matched by his 97 figure last season, with the Chicago White Sox. Although it’s technically slightly below average, it’s a mark that bests every starter in Miami’s rotation save Sandy Alcantara‘s figure of 109. Nova’s not fading away either. His 2.1 WAR was the third best mark of his career, and would have only trailed three Miami players, Brian Anderson (3.8), Alcantara (2.9), and Miguel Rojas (2.4).
Jason Vargas started his professional and later major league career as a member of the Florida Marlins. Although he’ll be 37-years-old when Spring Training begins, he’s only two years removed from leading the major leagues with 18 victories.
Vargas has a career 99-99 record and a 4.29 ERA. His simple metrics are slightly better those of Nova, with a 1.322 WHIP, 9.1 hits and 2.8 walks surrendered per nine innings, and 6.3 K/9.
When I mentioned Rich Hill as a possibility on Twitter, I was informed that he was now 37-years-old, so hard pass. The truth is that he’s actually 39, and will turn 40 prior to Opening Day.
But Hill seems to be like one of those guys who just keeps putting up dominant numbers, year-in and year-out. Going into his 16th season, Hill struck out 8.1 batters per nine innings and logged a 1.357 WHIP over his first six years, never whiffing more than a batter per inning in any season.
In the nine seasons since then, Hill has struck out 10.8 per nine, and averaged 1.126 WHIP. It’s a pattern he held very tightly to in his age-39 season, with 11.0 and 1.125, respectively. He’s also been at ERA+ of greater than 100 in every season save three, and in each of the last six years consecutively.
Hill’s Achilles heel (Achilles Hill) has always been his durability. Used exclusively as a starter over the past five seasons, he’s hasn’t pitched more than 25 games in any of them, totaling 86 (an average of 17 starts per season). In fact, the only season in which he served as a starter and didn’t make a trip to the injured list was way back in 2007, when he was 11-8 for the Chicago Cubs.
Alex Wood didn’t pitch through the first five months of the 2019 season, only starting seven games last year. Still, he’s only two seasons removed from putting up a heady 16-3 record for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hill has a solid career 1.223 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, and 8.2 K/9.
Henderson Alvarez was inarguably the Miami Marlins ace starter in his last full season in the majors, back in 2014. He was 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA over 30 starts. Never a big strikeout pitcher, Alvarez’ stock-in-trade is his control. He only walked 1.6 per nine in that last season, his only all-star campaign.
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The Marlins cut bait with Alvarez after he started the 2015 season with four losses in his first four starts, and he didn’t resurface until making three starts for the Philadelphia Phillies two seasons later.
Last season, Alvarez pitched in minor league ball with the Fresno Grizzlies for the Washington Nationals, and went 1-4 with a 5.94 ERA. Still just 29-years-old, he may have resources yet untapped. As the Marlins are a more patient franchise now, would it not follow that maybe he gets a look in Spring Training at least?
Of these five, I think the one that has the most to offer a team like the Marlins is Rich Hill. Still a gamer, Hill can also provide the leadership that only comes with age and experience, and Hill has a lot of both.