Ever since Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez went down with Tommy John surgery, Miami's rotation has flucuated, and more change may be coming to one of the younger staffs in baseball. Nathan Eovaldi's wife is expecting to deliver a baby any day now, and with yesterday's off day coupled with Thursday's scheduled day off, the Marlins are in a position to make changes moving forward.
Tom Koehler will pitch Tuesday night against the Rangers in Texas, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald notes, but aside from that, the rotation is unclear. Jacob Turner is expected to start on Wednesday night, but Marlins Manager Mike Redmond told reporters Eovaldi could pitch Wednesday depending on the status of his wife.
With Monday off, both Eovaldi and Turner would be pitching on regular rest should they take the mound in Arlington on Wednesday night.
The rotation questions could lead to the anticipated promotion of prospect Andrew Heaney, who turned in another quality outing on Saturday night.
Add it all up, and the Marlins aren't entirely sure how their rotation will shape up this coming week. Or they're sure and they're not telling anyone.
Throw in the fact that it's now possible for the Marlins to safely call up Heaney from Triple A New Orleans without risking Super 2 status, and it muddles the picture even further.
Heaney went six innings Saturday for the Zephyrs, allowing a run on five hits over six innings. He struck out nine while walking one. He has now made four starts for New Orleans, going 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA. Overall this season, he is 7-2 with a 2.47 ERA while striking out 79 in 76 2/3 innings.
Miami sent Heaney to Triple-A New Orleans to determine if he could get experienced hitters out, and he has proven he can do so with consistency. The Marlins' top pitching prospect could make his major league debut on Friday or Saturday night when the team returns to Marlins Park.
Should the Marlns decide to let Heaney have one more start in Triple-A, he would likely be promoted when the Marlins host the Mets.
Miami's starting staff, even after losing Fernandez, has been efficient, and adding Heaney would make it that much better. Henderson Alvarez and Eovaldi have both stepped up, and Tom Koehler has been a solid number five option.
Whenever Heaney is promoted, he will likely be placed on an innings limit, much like Fernandez was last season. With Fernandez getting hurt, the limit may be a bit more extreme, and Heaney would be facing a notable jump considering he tossed just 95 innings last season.
Although Kevin Slowey or Anthony DeSclafani (with a roster move) could always make a spot start, the Marlins may be in the ideal spot to promote Heaney with a week full of rotation uncertainty.