The Miami Marlins felt the need to make a midseason move to acquire veteran talent to the team. The Fish were still in the midst of a longshot Wild Card run to the playoffs, and they had suffered a seemingly back-breaking injury to top pitcher Henderson Alvarez at the time. The Fish were already down Jose Fernandez thanks to an elbow injury, and despite the success of some of the team's rotation, there was some turmoil at the back end of the staff. Miami did not trust Andrew Heaney to put up a good performance after a flawed four-start run with the team. The same could be said of Anthony DeSclafani, who had similar problems.
Enter the Marlins' front office at the trade deadline. The team made a controversial move in acquiring starting pitcher Jarred Cosart from the Houston Astros, along with utility man Enrique Hernandez and a minor leaguer in return for 2013 first-round draft pick Colin Moran and former top prospect Jake Marisnick. The deal was controversial because, despite Miami's thoughts on the back of the rotation, the team had significant starting pitcher depth, especially when you looked further down to the Double-A level. At the same time, Miami had significant position player depth problems, and trading the team's latest first-round pick and their best position player prospect seemed like a stretch. This is especially true when you trade them for a player with questionable results like Jarred Cosart, who had struggled since arriving in the majors.
All of the signs pointed towards Miami having made a bad move at the deadline. But as soon as Cosart arrived in Miami, things began to look rosier. In five starts in the first month of his career in south Florida, Cosart put up a 1.64 ERA and a 2.74 FIP with good ground ball numbers. It seemed Cosart had reigned in his control issues and started pounding the strike zone, which is a necessity if you are going to pitch for this team. The combination of strikes and ground balls made a strong first impression.
Cosart's numbers tailed off in September, and there is a question as to whether August was merely a mirage. The Fish are hoping that Cosart can maintain the strike zone control he showed in his first month as a Marlin, but so far, the experiment has worked. Miami has a talented back-end starter with good tools in Cosart right now.
The other part of the trade got less time to work but still may be an intriguing player. Enrique "Kike" Hernandez is a utility player who can man both up-the-middle infield positions and can shift to either corner outfield or center field. In some ways, he is a throwback to the Alfredo Amezaga and Emilio Bonifacio days, but Hernandez came with some batting accolades as well. His 2014 season in Triple-A was undeniably strong, as he hit .337/.380/.508 (.387 wOBA, 129 wRC+) and got a call-up from the Astros. Miami saw an early strong performance in the majors and jumped on a chance at a guy who does not strike out much (12.1 percent career in the minors) and has the patience to draw a walk (9.0 percent in majors in 2014).
Hernandez was not great for Miami, but his versatility should earn him an extended look next season. The Marlins should consider him part of the open competition for second base, and the team might be smart to try him at shortstop as well to at least push Adeiny Hechavarria. Hernandez is unlikely to be a star, but he has a chance at being a big league regular, and the Marlins were right to include him in the trade.
The Fish got two intriguing players in Cosart and Hernandez in the trade, and they only lost a player in Moran who still has question marks at the plate. Moran may never develop decent power, and his ability to draw walks thanks to his fantastic plate discipline may have been overstated. In return for his promise, the Fish got what may be around league-average play from a starting pitcher on the relative cheap for the next five years.