The Marlins have been linked to rotation upgrades for the majority of the summer, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald adds Rich Hill’s name to the list of potential targets for the Fish. Additionally, Jackson notes that the Marlins continue to show interest in Tampa Bay right-hander Jake Odorizzi and San Diego lefty Drew Pomeranz.
Of course, as Jackson notes (and has pointed out in the past), the Marlins are thin on enticing trade chips due to a lack of impact prospects in the farm system. Miami’s prospect depth took a further hit a couple of weeks ago when the club picked up Fernando Rodney in a trade that sent promising Class-A right-hander Chris Paddack to the Padres.
While Hill certainly doesn’t have a lengthy track record of health or the type of dominance he’s displayed since last September, he’s arguably the top rental pitcher on this summer’s trade market and should command a rather strong return. He’s pitched to a 2.25 ERA with 10.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate in 76 innings. He did miss the month of June with a strained groin, and he’s already pitched more Major League innings in 2016 than he did in 2013-15 combined. However, given his strong performance and modest $6MM salary — to say nothing of a report from FOX’s Ken Rosenthal that Hill could potentially be extended by a new club — Hill is a lock to draw widespread interest. That’s not great news for the Marlins, who would likely have a tough time topping the offers of rivals with considerably deeper farm systems.
Jackson writes that in the absence of a trade to acquire a starting pitcher, the club could turn to right-hander Jarred Cosart, who was formerly one of the top prospects in baseball and was hoped to become a key piece of the Miami rotation. Instead, Cosart has persistently struggled in the Major Leagues and was demoted to Triple-A earlier this season. He spent a month on the minor league DL with an oblique strain and has pitched to a combined 4.02 ERA with 5.7 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9 in 47 innings between Triple-A and a brief rehab stint in the organization’s lower levels this year.
If not Cosart, the Marlins have veteran righty Jeremy Guthrie pitching for their Triple-A affiliate, though he’s struggled with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate this season and has surrendered 15 runs in 15 innings with the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate. Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino are other rotation options, as can be seen on their depth chart. For the time being, the Marlins have Jose Fernandez, Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley and Tom Koehler lined up to make their first four starts out of the break. Miami doesn’t have the luxury of an off-day next Monday, which would’ve allowed the team to skip the fifth spot in its rotation and extended the club’s window to pursue outside additions.