The Marlins have one of the league’s most pitching-heavy rosters, with an established group of young starters and some more well-regarded prospects nearing big league readiness. With the team expected to look for upgrades both behind the plate and in the outfield this winter, the Fish have seemed speculative candidates to make one of their controllable arms available to bolster other areas on the roster.
Miami’s at least debating that possibility, as Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports (on Twitter) the team is considering whether to trade one of their arbitration-eligible hurlers this offseason. Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López and Elieser Hernández are each controllable through 2024 via arbitration, and Morosi suggests the Marlins could be open to moving someone from that group.
Alcantara would seemingly have the greatest appeal on the trade market, but it’s also possible Miami could make him off limits. There’s reportedly been optimism about their chances of working out an extension with the All-Star hurler, who was one of just four pitchers to eclipse 200 innings this past season. Alcantara, who is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz for a $4.5MM arbitration salary, worked to a stellar 3.19 ERA despite that heavy workload, inducing grounders on over half the balls in play against him.
López has been one of the league’s steadier, more underrated hurlers over the past couple seasons. Going back to the start of 2020, the right-hander has a 3.26 ERA/3.21 FIP across 160 innings. Only projected for a $2.5MM salary, López’s resume should pique the interest of plenty of pitching-needy clubs. But his status could be complicated a rotator cuff strain in his throwing shoulder that cost him essentially the entire second half of 2021. López landed on the shelf in mid-July and didn’t return until the final day of the season, when he tossed 1 2/3 innings in a deliberately brief start.
Hernández is coming off an injury-impacted season of his own. The righty missed two months early in the year with biceps inflammation, then suffered a quad strain in his first start back that cost him another two months. He made eleven starts altogether, posting a 4.18 ERA with quality strikeout and walk numbers but an extremely high home run rate. He’s projected for a $1.4MM salary.
With all three pitchers likely to have bargain salaries in 2022, general manager Kim Ng and her staff needn’t feel any immediate financial pressure to move Alcantara, López or Hernández this winter. But it’s little surprise the Marlins are at least considering that course of action, since trading one of those starters looks to be the most straightforward way to acquire controllable position player talent. Even if Miami moved one of the aforementioned trio, they’d still have Trevor Rogers, Sixto Sánchez, Jesús Luzardo, Edward Cabrera, Braxton Garrett and Zach Thompson among their big league ready rotation options, with top prospect Max Meyer on the doorstep as well after a dominant season in Double-A.