The Miami Marlins have made it well known that they want another Major League-quality starter on their rotation. Of course, the rotation is already fairly deep in starting pitching, with Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, Jarred Cosart, and Tom Koehler at or close to league average and Jose Fernandez returning to the roster by midseason. But Miami thinks another starter should be involved, and the team has been searching the trade market for a potential name. Someone in whom the team had interest at the trade deadline this past season is still available, as the Marlins are still intrigued by Arizona Diamondbacks lefty Wade Miley. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported this initially.
Earlier this season, Miley was a name listed among trade deadline candidates for the Marlins, as the Fish were interested in adding a lefty to the roster. Miley is nothing if not durable; in each of his first three full seasons in the league, he has thrown more than 190 innings. His rookie season was an impressive one, as he posted a 3.33 ERA and 3.15 FIP en route to a four-win campaign. At the time, he looked like a future piece for the Diamondbacks.
The last two seasons have not gone as well. Miley topped 200 innings both years, but his ERA went to 3.55 and then to 4.34 this past season. He posted identical 3.98 FIPs in each of those seasons, but did them with entirely different approaches. This past year, he struck out more batters and walked more as well, trying to delve further out of the strike zone to get hitters to chase. He is inducing more whiffs and worse contact as a result. If you remove the home run component, his statistics look greatly improved.
The problem is that Miley gives up a lot of home runs, even with an increasing ground ball rate over the past two years. A large part of that is Chase Field in Arizona, as Miley has a horrific time giving up long balls there. For his career, he has allowed 38 homers in just over 300 innings at home while only 26 homers in 330-plus road innings. Neither home run rate is probably real, but moving to an easier park that allows fewer home runs should fit nicely for Miley, just as it did for Henderson Alvarez after he moved from the Rogers Centre to Marlins Park.
Miley is slated to make $4.3 million this season in his first year of arbitration and would be under team control until 2017. He probably would make somewhere along the lines of $22 million over his time in arbitration, and right now he looks like close to a league average starter with upside in a move to Miami. The issue for the Fish is that they already have at least two guys who are very similar in Cosart and Eovaldi, plus a litany of other prospects like Andrew Heaney who could be big-league ready now. Miley is not likely to be a four-win pitcher with the Fish next season, so the question of why the Marlins should acquire another arbitration-eligible league average pitcher is a relevant one.
For a more significant upgrade, maybe the team could justify a move. But while Miley would be a nice fit in Miami, the need for another starter of his caliber just is not there.