With the July 31 trade deadline getting closer and the Marlins in last place in the National League, they’ll have to decide which veterans to jettison from their roster. One of them could be right-hander Jose Urena, who has drawn inquiries from “several teams,” per Marlins reporter Craig Mish.
A member of the Miami organization since 2009, Urena made his major league debut six years later and has turned into a fixture in its starting staff in recent seasons. Dating back to 2017, the first season in which most of his appearances came in the Marlins’ rotation, Urena has logged a team-leading 69 starts and 387 innings. The 27-year-old has pitched to a solid 4.02 ERA (but with a less impressive 4.64 FIP) with 6.37 K/9, 3.02 BB/9 and a 47.5 percent groundball rate since he became a permanent starter for the Marlins.
So far this season, Urena’s numbers look fairly similar to the production he managed over the previous couple years. Even though his 96 mph fastball velocity outdoes most starters’, Urena hasn’t had much success generating strikeouts. Among qualifying starters, Urena ranks fourth last in K/9 (5.98) and 17th from the bottom in swinging-strike rate (8.9 percent). Urena has offset those figures to some degree with the game’s eighth-best groundball percentage (52.4) and an above-average walk rate (2.76), helping him to a passable 4.30 ERA/4.35 FIP in 58 2/3 frames.
Urena clearly isn’t any kind of front-line option, though it does appear he’s a capable back-end starter. There’s value in that, especially considering Urena’s affordable ($3.2MM salary) and controllable. With two seasons of arbitration eligibility remaining, the Marlins don’t have to part with Urena this summer, but Mish reports that the rebuilding club may be open to it.