The Miami Marlins have struggled to sustain positive momentum as they race to the final NL Wild Card spot. The franchise has been locked in a battle with teams like the Giants, Reds, Cubs, and Diamondbacks as each seeks to punch their ticket to the 2023 MLB postseason.
However, during this time, the Marlins have unfortunately proven to have a major Achilles heel: their bullpen. While the club attempted to solve this issue through a trade deadline deal for veteran reliever David Robertson, their closing situation is as murky as ever.
Despite a solid effort posting 2.05 ERA and 14 saves with the New York Mets, the MLB journeyman has floundered during his brief time in Miami. An abysmal 7.20 ERA and 1.70 WHIP have forced the Marlins to pivot back to incumbent options to close out games.
Unfortunately, the rest of the bullpen hasn't faired much better in end-of-game situations. While AJ Puk has flashed glimpses of electric stuff at times this season, he too has a sub-par 4.15 ERA and just 15 saves in 21 opportunities.
Current closer Tanner Scott has been the best of shaky options, with a 2.55 ERA. Yet, he has been inconsistent in his 9th-inning opportunities.
Typically, there is very little that can be done to fill needs at this point in the season. However, a recent roster purge by the Los Angeles Angels has opened the door for clubs to bolster their roster post-trade deadline.
All of the players released by LA will be coveted assets with multiple suitors. And to be honest, Miami would benefit by adding any/all of these talents to the depth chart. However, one player, in particular, could make an impact in the aforementioned bullpen situation: veteran reliever Matt Moore.
The veteran has carved out a valuble role for himself as a reliever over the past few seasons. He dominated to the tune of a 1.95 ERA across 74 innings of work with the Rangers in 2022. This season, he has been equally efficient, posting a 2.30 ERA across 43 innings.
While Moore has limited experience as a closer, he represents a second opportunity to elevate the need that Robertson has failed to address. At the very least, he could be a valuble, late-inning, asset that would allow manager Skip Schumaker to employ a closer-by-committee with both Moore and Scott.
Moore also carries value as a potential leader in the clubhouse. A former World Series champion (2013), Moore would join a very young roster with minimal big-game experience. He would be a welcome addition to players like Jorge Soler and Yuli Gurriel, who also bring a championship pedigree to the table.
While the tandem of lefties would constitute a non-traditional closer situation, there is no more obvious path toward correcting the bullpen woes than by adding an established arm like Moore. He should be the #1 waiver claim for GM Kim Ng and the Marlins' front office.