Will Edward Cabrera get a chance to shine ... and play his way off the roster?
Even after a pair of trades and multiple injuries, the strength of the Miami Marlins organization remains their starting pitching.
Staff ace Sandy Alcantara had a down year...and still led MLB in complete games. Dazzling rookie Eury Perez flashed plenty of potential in his debut campaign, enough to make evaluators wonder if Miami might have a new staff ace on their hands before too long. Jesus Luzardo set a career high in reaching 200 Ks, and firmly established himself as a top of the rotation caliber starter himself.
Of course, Alcantara and Perez aren't available this postseason. Luzardo will get the ball for Game 1, and then hand things off to Braxton Garrett- arguably the MVP of the 2023 Marlins. After that? If necessary, Miami will be forced to turn to Edward Cabrera- one of the most polarizing pitchers in the majors.
One minute, he's piling up strikeouts in bunches. The next, he's walking everyone in sight. It's been a topsy-turvy, ying-yang season for Cabrera in 2023, and it's a theme that has followed him throughout his career. The most pressing problem for Kim Ng and the Marlins front office is that while he's still capable of turning in an outing every third start or so that reminds you why he was an elite prospect as recently as late 2021, Cabrera is also out of options. It's elite stuff, but far too inconsistent control.
Which brings us to a potential Game 3 of Miami's Wild Card series with Philadelphia, and the chance to make 29 other GMs start salivating. With talents like Max Meyer, Dax Fulton, and Trevor Rogers waiting in the wings, the Marlins are going to have some hard choices when it comes to filling out the 2024 starting rotation. And even with the lessons learned from this year's rash of injuries, and even with the prospect of potentially losing Alcantara to Tommy John surgery, Miami is probably going to be forced to deal away one more pitcher to help bolster the offense.
What Cabrera, and perhaps even Garrett, show over these playoffs will play a huge role in determining how those decisions play out.
So first and foremost, enjoy every minute of these playoffs Marlins fans. Yet that doesn't mean you shouldn't keep one eye on the future as well.