The rebuilding Marlins reportedly aren’t inclined to trade any of their controllable starting pitchers, but that isn’t necessarily the case, according to president of baseball operations Michael Hill (via Joe Frisaro of MLB.com).
The Marlins plan to “explore” ways to improve, said Hill, who added: “I think you look at ways to get better. I think you look at where we are organizationally, and we’ve said our pitching is a little bit ahead of our position players.”
Specifically, the Marlins would like to add a middle-of-the-order bat to their lineup, Frisaro reports. Whether they’d be able to get that type of offensive piece for any of their starters is the question.
Although Miami’s a National League-worst 30-47 this season, its starting staff has been a legitimate bright spot. The Marlins’ rotation ranks a surprising sixth in the majors in ERA and a similarly encouraging eighth in FIP, and all of their prominent starters are controllable 20-somethings.
The Marlins haven’t gotten ace-caliber production from anyone, but each of Trevor Richards, Sandy Alcantara, Pablo Lopez, Jose Urena and Caleb Smith have logged respectable or better numbers over at least 12 starts apiece. Meanwhile, Jordan Yamamoto has been brilliant through three starts, Elieser Hernandez has done well during his first three starts this year, and the just-promoted Zac Gallen shut down the Cardinals in his five-inning introduction June 20.
One problem for the Marlins is that there are currently injuries spread throughout their starting group. The strikeout-heavy Smith has been out since June 7 with left hip inflammation, Lopez went down June 19 with shoulder inflammation, and Urena will be out until at least August with a herniated disc in his back. Smith and Lopez are reportedly progressing toward returns, however. Therefore, aside from Urena, any of the Marlins’ starters might end up in play around the July 31 deadline.
If you’re another team, acquiring one of Miami’s starters could mean adding a long-term solution to your staff. Richards, Alcantara and Lopez are all controllable through 2024, while Lopez and Hernandez are under wraps through 2023. Yamamoto and Gallen obviously come with even more control, having just emerged in the majors. So, whether it happens this summer or a bit down the line, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Marlins deal from their surplus of starters to improve a toothless offense that ranks among the majors’ worst. Aside from first baseman Garrett Cooper, third baseman Brian Anderson, outfielder Harold Ramirez and veteran stopgap infielder Neil Walker, they’ve struggled to get any production at the plate in 2019.