Braxton Garrett giving Miami Marlins plenty of options in 2023

MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 23: Braxton Garrett #60 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the second inning at loanDepot park on September 23, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 23: Braxton Garrett #60 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the second inning at loanDepot park on September 23, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /
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Braxton Garrett is finally having his breakthrough season, and it’s giving the Miami Marlins some unexpected options for 2023.

Best pitcher for the Miami Marlins in 2022? Easily Sandy Alcantara.

Filling out the top three though? That’s actually a pretty big debate, and something only the most attentive and diehard of Marlins fans would be able to do successfully. Because one of the names that unquestionably belongs in that group…is Braxton Garrett.

That wasn’t a typo. Through 79.1 IP, Garrett has a better ERA (3.52) than Pablo Lopez and Jesus Luzardo, more strikeouts (81) than Edward Cabrera, and a better WHIP (1.16) than Lopez and Trevor Rogers. His career WAR? It’s 1.1. His 2022 WAR? 1.2 And per MLB’s Christina De Nicola, he just put up the best thrown strike percentage of his career in last night’s win over Washington. Without question, this has been the best year of his career, and the breakthough effort he has been looking for since the Marlins drafted him 7th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft.

In truth, the Marlins had probably just about given up on him coming close to realizing the potential expected from that kind of investment. But the fact that he’s done this? It couldn’t have come at a better time for Miami.  Garrett proving that he has the potential to be an above average back of the rotation starter, at worst? That sets up a ton of interesting possibilities for the offensively starved Marlins.

First off, the option with the fewest hoops. With six above average starters and five rotation spots, why not bump someone into the bullpen? The Marlins have had some serious late inning issues in 2022, and turning a player already under contract into a late inning option in 2023 would be a heck of a lot cheaper than entering a bidding war for a big name free agent. Particularly since the team is already going to need to do that for at least one hitter. The preference would likely be Garrett in that scenario, but a case could be made for Cabrera and Luzardo as well.

Secondly, the Marlins could simply trade him. Garrett’s value hasn’t been this high since the day they drafted him, and the club needs plenty of help elsewhere. Garrett won’t fetch the team an All-Star on his own, but he could headline a package that would prompt a pitching needy team to part with an MLB ready prospect. That, or a surplus veteran that would be a massive upgrade by 2022 Marlins offensive standards.

Lastly, the most exciting possibility. Why not just commit to Garrett as a rotation option from the jump, and trade one of their more highly regarded pitchers? Garrett won’t get them a reigning All-Star, but Lopez absolutely would. Tack on a lesser prospect, and the same would be true of Cabrera, Lopez, and Luzardo. Another name to watch here could be Dax Fulton, whose value could be at it’s peak following a dominant season in AA.

Granted, the Marlins were always going to have to deal pitching to upgrade their 2023 roster, with or without Garrett’s breakout. But the more options Miami has to trade, the better off they’ll be, and that’s something that has proven essential after losing Max Meyer to Tommy John and Sixto Sanchez to whatever continues to vex his shoulder. Garrett being good means that the Marlins can confidently deal from their pitching surplus, and still expect to enjoy a starting pitching advantage in 2023.

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Very few things have gone right for the Miami Marlins this season. Consider Braxton Garrett one of them.