Fresh off of our "Six Low-Cost Position Players the Miami Marlins Should Target in Free Agency," this article is intended to address the Miami Marlins' most pressing need: starting and bullpen pitchers.
Thankfully, there are a number of quality starters available in the free-agent market. While stars like Shohei Ohtani, Blake Snell, and Aaron Nola are up for grabs for the highest bidder, each is almost certainly out of Miami's price range. Particularly when you consider the Marlins' multiple offseason needs.
Where should Marlins executives focus their free-agent efforts?
The Fish need to add 2-3 starters and multiple bullpen arms before 2024's Opening Day. One of these should be a starter in the tier above the options listed below. However, as the club seeks to round out a postseason-worthy rotation, they should strongly consider the following "bargain bin" options.
Disclaimer: Each player mentioned includes only players with an annual projected market value of less than $10 million (according to Spotrac).
#6: James Paxton, SP
The oft-injured veteran proved to be a solid end-of-the-rotation starter in Boston last season. Paxton bounced back from Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2022 season and pitched to the tune of a 4.50 ERA, 101 strikeouts, over 96 innings of work.
The longtime Mariner did carry a high ERA, he was much more effective early in the season, before seemingly wearing down as the year progressed. Now that he has a full season of work under his belt, he should be in a prime position to improve on that mark in 2024.
Paxton always carries a high injury risk. But, after losing ace Sandy Alcantara for the 2024 season, the Marlins need several supplementary arms. While a player like Paxton should not be their top pitching addition, his $9.5 million annual projected market value makes him a solid candidate as 5th starter or depth piece.