As previously reported in a Monday night post on the Miami Herald's Fish Bytes blog, Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey will be moved to the long relief. This news shouldn't come as a surprise for Marlins fans for two specific reasons.
1. Slowey has been extremely inconsistent his great April start.
2. There are are simply better options with Nathan Eovaldi's recent return and the planned comeback of Henderson Alvarez, who is currently rehabbing down in the minors.
Both of those explanations definitely have some sort of validity. In the first few weeks of the regular season, Kevin Slowey was one of the brighter parts on an otherwise rough start to the 2013 season.but his performance seemed like more of a mirage than reality when you look back at this post from May 1st.
Since his seven-inning shutout against the Phllies on May 5, he has been below replacement level in a majority of his starts. That could possibly be attributed to the fact that he's a fly ball pitcher who is bound to get into multiple issues even when he's playing against some of the worst offenses in baseball (i.e Mets, Diamondbacks and Dodgers). With his tendencies as a fly-ball pitcher, Slowey also likes to stay mainly in the strike zone rather than switching it up, and that could lead to some quick outs that can help your pitch count or quick and efficient hits that would easily make manager Mike Redmond reach for his phone to call up the bullpen.
Slowey has a relatively low to average pitch-count which would work better in his new role as a long reliever. While there are issues with opposing batters zoning on his pitches, it should be less of an issue if he only has to work two to four innings in long relief.
Slowey's replacements in the starting rotation should be Nathan Eovaldi, but Henderson Alvarez is on his way to return as well. Both of these two pitchers are in the beginning stages of their big league careers and are both products of the "fire sale" that happened towards the 2012 trade deadline and 2013 off-season. While there were both once looked at as solid products, they both have had their fair share of struggles in their short big league careers.
Both Eovaldi and Alvarez might not be that much better than a replacement level Kevin Slowey but you still have to look at the grand schemes of the team's future. Injuries or trades aside, these two pitchers are likely looked at as future pieces in the Marlins ever growing rebuilding puzzle. They probably will never be at the level as Jacob Turner or Jose Fernandez but that doesn't mean that there won't be a role there for them as solid end of the rotation or long relief pitchers.