The Marlins could trade righty Tom Koehler and lefty Brad Hand to an unknown team, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reports (Twitter links). Justin Nicolino is being promoted to make his big-league debut while starting in Koehler’s place today. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweets that Koehler is dealing with neck and back pain, however, so Koehler’s scratch might not suggest a trade is imminent.
The 28-year-old Koehler, in particular, would likely be a somewhat attractive trade target for a team seeking starting pitching. He has a 3.76 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 this season, and, today’s neck and back issues aside, he’s generally proven to be a durable innings eater. He’s also cheap and team controlled — he isn’t eligible for arbitration for the first time until after this season. The Marlins’ rotation currently features Koehler along with Dan Haren, Mat Latos, David Phelps and Jose Urena, although the team is preparing for Jose Fernandez’s return early next month, and Jarred Cosart is finishing a rehab assignment after missing a month due to vertigo.
The 24-year-old Hand has spent most of his big-league career so far bouncing back and forth between starting and relief. He’s had difficulties pitching mostly in relief this year, with a 5.97 ERA, although his peripherals are somewhat better, at 6.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. He’s out of options and was the subject of trade rumors in Spring Training.