Sitting just a game out of first place in the NL East, the Miami Marlins have developed some confidence in their ability to make a run in the division and could be open to augmenting their starting rotation with the addition of a veteran arm before the trading deadline. The organization is committed to giving their young arms a chance first, however, but making a move for some outside help is a possibility that hasn’t been taken off the table just yet, according to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro.
The team has already started to make some moves to shakeup their roster, beginning with a handful of transactions on Monday.
Miami designated a pair of pitchers for assignment on Monday – right-hander Kevin Slowey and left-hander Randy Wolf. Wolf, who they had signed just over a month ago, has already cleared waivers and elected free agency according to a separate Tweet from Frisaro. Replacing the pair in the rotation will be left-hander Andrew Heaney and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani, two of the organization’s top young arms who both began the year at Double-A.
DeSclafani had been called up briefly by the team earlier this season, making two starts in mid-May (including outpitching Paul Maholm and the Los Angeles Dodgers in his MLB Debut) following the team’s loss of Jose Fernandez for the season to Tommy John surgery before being optioned down to Triple-A. He’s made 12 starts on the year in the minor leagues, posting a 3.92 ERA and 1.212 WHIP over 64.1 IP.
Heaney, however, is the prized prospect of the organization (all three of the major pre-season prospect rankings had him at #30 or higher in all of baseball) and he’s dominated every level throughout his minor league career. In 13 appearances (12 starts) this season he’d pitched to a 2.47 ERA, 1.096 WHIP, and 9.0 K/9 through 76.2 IP. He’d also gone undefeated (3-0) through his first four starts at Triple-A and will make his MLB Debut on Thursday against the New York Mets.
Further adding some depth, the team also signed former Marlin Brad Penny to a minor league deal on Wednesday (per Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald). The 36 year old hasn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012 but looked strong enough in a recent workout that the Marlins opted to give him a chance. He’ll begin in the minor leagues and has an opt out clause in his contract if the team doesn’t recall him prior to July 31st.
Should Miami look to make a move before the deadline it is unclear who they might target. The club has been linked to both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, but neither appears to be a likely candidate and the Marlins will presumably favor a player who would be under team control beyond next season. As Frisaro notes, they are also not likely to move one of their top young arms – Heaney, DeSclafani, or Justin Nicolino – in any deal. He does note that Derek Dietrich, an infielder with some limited power, could be a potential trade chip in any deal. The organization does appear to have depth in the outfield as well – with Jake Marisnick, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna fighting for playing time alongside Giancarlo Stanton.