Miami is looking to add a veteran arm to its starting rotation, and to this point in the offseason has been linked to Justin Masterson, Jason Hammel, and Wade Miley. But according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who also confirmed Miami's interest in the trio, the Marlins may also be after Brandon Morrow and Francisco Liriano this offseason.
Add these names to the short list of free agent pitchers of interest to the Marlins: Francisco Liriano (7-10, 3.38 for Pittsburgh) and Brandon Morrow (42-43, 4.28 in eight seasons for Seattle and Toronto).
Among all of the free agent starters, Liriano could be attractive to some low budget teams considering he made just $1 million last season. In 2014 with the Pirates, Liriano posted a 3.38 and 3.59 ERA and FIP, respectively, and logged 162.1 innings while making 29 starts. Despite the fact that Pittsburgh's inconsistent offense led to a 7-10 record, Liriano might accept a two or three year deal in an attempt to get a larger contract moving forward.
In the context of Miami's rotation, Liriano would fit well. He is a veteran left-handed option, and would likely even out a predominantly right-handed Marlins pitching staff. If Andrew Heaney makes the rotation out of spring training, Liriano may still be just the second lefty, assuming Brad Hand lands a spot on the roster by serving as the long man out of the bullpen.
While his 9.70 K/9 and 4.49 BB/9 rates in 2014 kept the Pirates competitive in most of his starts, among Liriano's best major league seasons was his 2013 campaign, during which he posted a 3.02 ERA and 2.92 FIP in 161.0 innings.
Liriano has been consistent with regard to the number of innings pitched throughout his career, and might be inexpensive and valuable to the development of Heaney and consistency of Miami's starting rotation.
Toronto declined Morrow's $10 million option for 2015, making him a free agent. He may be a more expensive option when compared to Liriano, however the fact that Morrow spent most of 2014 on the disabled list with a torn tendon sheath should make him more affordable.
In the 33.1 innings Morrow was able to toss last season, he posted a 5.67 ERA and 3.73 FIP. Morrow's last full season came in 2012 with the Blue Jays, during which he posted 2.96 ERA and 3.65 FIP in 124.2 innings (21 starts). Walks have plagued Morrow throughout the course of his career, although his 2.96 BB/9 in 2012 might be the best indication of his potential when completely healthy.
Miami could take a chance on Morrow, but he may not be the club's primary choice. Should Morrow struggle to find the strike zone or stay healthy, the Marlins would be back where they are now, looking for an arm to fill a rotation spot.
Wade Miley Update
Jackson reported the Marlins' interest in Miley last week, and while he noted Arizona may not be tempted to trade him because of a lack of starting pitching depth, the Marlins might be willing to include Nathan Eovaldi in a potential deal.
The Marlins, seeking a veteran starter, also have discussed tradingNathan Eovaldi or a quality pitching prospect to Arizona for left-handerWade Miley (38-35, 3.79 in 3 1/2 seasons).
Eovaldi struggled at times in 2014, and while they did consider taking him out of the rotation at one point towards the end of the season, the Marlins appear confident he can become more consistent in 2015. Several teams are reportedly high on Eovaldi, and while trading a starter for another starter may appear illogical, Miley might be more durable moving forward.
Including Eovaldi alone in a deal may not be enough, in which case keeping the former Dodger and looking elsewhere to add an arm would likely be the most beneficial.