The Marlins announced a number of roster moves today. Infielder Eddy Alvarez was optioned to the team’s alternate training site, Harold Ramirez was transferred to the 60-day IL, and Jose Urena was reinstated from the IL.
Alvarez, 30, was an medal-winning Olympian in a past life, but the former speed skater slashed just .189/.268/.216 in his first stint with the Marlins. While playing all over the infield, Alvarez managed to steal a couple of bases, but a strikeout rate of 39% slowed his offensive progress and relegated him to the team’s alternate training site for the near-term.
Ramirez only appeared in 3 games this year before a strained hamstring sent him to the injured list. The 25-year-old established himself as a useful player last season with a triple slash of .276/.312/.416. It wasn’t necessarily a standout season, but enough to get a look this season, had he been healthy. Ramirez’s future is probably as an extra outfielder because of his ability to play all three outfield spots. Starling Marte now mans the middle, and Ramirez doesn’t likely holster enough thunder to provide regular ABs in the corner.
The Marlins are on the verge of a playoff spot as of today, but they remain percentage points behind the Giants. Getting Urena back from the COVID-19 injured list should provide a boost to their pitching corps. The right-hander will step right back into the rotation today to take on the Braves. Urena has been a starter for most of his Miami tenure, though he was moved to the bullpen at the end of last season where he was used primarily to finish games.
Urena holds a 4.57 ERA /4.69 FIP for his career, but he’s usually been either a tick better or worse than those averages. The Dominican righty looked sharp from 2017 to 2018 over which time he went 23-19 in 59 starts with a 3.90 ERA. While he was able to outperform his FIP for each of those seasons, his fortunes reveresed last year when he put up a 5.21 ERA despite a marginally-better 4.74 FIP. His strikeout-to-walk numbers have shown modest improvement from his younger days, though the biggest jump came during the 2018 season when he posted 6.7 K/9 to 2.6 BB/9 for a 2.55 K/BB.
For now, at least, it appears Urena will fill out the rotation alongside Pablo Lopez, Sandy Alcantara, Sixto Sanchez, and Trevor Rogers. Assuming Urena can return to form, the Marlins suddenly boast a potentially formidable starting five. The remaining few weeks of the season provide a stretch of baseball that should test their mettle, as they have little more than three weeks to find their way past the Giants to earn their first playoff berth since 2003.