The Miami Marlins won’t look to unload any of its young pitching depth prior to the MLB season – just yet.
Just because the Marlins have a wealth of pitching depth, it doesn’t mean the front office will upload the cupboard anytime soon.
First, letting go of any of the team’s top pitching prospects goes against everything at the front office has done to build this organization from the ground up. Second, because of injury concerns not only with the Marlins but across Major League Baseball, keeping as many young arms on staff ensures consistency.
The Marlins need plenty of that as they look to take a major leap forward during the 2020 season. The only way they’re going to do that is through solid starting pitching.
Joe Frisaro of MLB.com was asked about the possibility of several younger pitching prospects and starters being used as trade chips prior to the start of the season. Frisaro points out, as I have pointed out, making moves like that would not be beneficial for this franchise.
“When you have controllable and talented starting pitching, it’s wise to retain it,” Frisaro writes. “Yes, the Marlins moved Zac Gallen ahead of the Trade Deadline last July 31 to get Jazz Chisholm. And the organization insists that the only reason it parted with a high-end, controllable starter like Gallen was because it received a projected big league regular shortstop in return.
“Generally, though, it is the smarter play to keep the starting pitching you have, because the price to acquire it via trade, or the cost of free agents, tends to be high.”
It really starts with players who are already in trenched in the rotation. Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, and Pablo Lopez figure to be the top three starters. After that, there is a mad scramble to claim spots three, four and five. The front office and coaching staff are blessed with rising stars who not only could make the roster but could be both consistent and dominant once they make the leap from the minors to the Major League level.
And from what we’ve seen so far in the first six games in the Grapefruit League, these youngsters are hungry to make a lasting impression. That not only makes the decision difficult with regard to who stays and who goes, but it should put a smile on CEO Derek Jeter’s face knowing he has pushed the right buttons and made the right moves the past two seasons.
The topic of trading pitchers could also become a hot topic once again concerning Smith. As Richard Justice of MLB.com wrote, the New York Yankees aren’t doing anything to replace the injured Luis Severino, but that might change. He lists the Marlins and Smith as a potential player Brian Cashman, New York’s general manager, would consider making a deal for.
The Marlins would first have to agree to part ways with their No. 2 starter. But a dialogue between Cashman and Jeter could happen at some point. If anything, it would test the waters.
“Caleb Smith is 28 years old and about to become eligible for salary arbitration. He’s also coming off a breakthrough of sorts in 2019, with 28 starts, 153 1/3 innings, a 4.52 ERA and a 26.0% strikeout rate,” Justice adds.
“Smith, who was drafted by the Yankees in ’13 and made his MLB debut with New York in ’17 before being dealt to Miami in November of that year, is more of a back-end option.”