Heading into the offseason, the Marlins were looking to add a veteran starting pitcher. And after acquiring both Dan Haren and Mat Latos in trades during last week's Winter Meetings, the club could be looking to move one of its starting arms. According to MLB Network Radio's Craig Mish, the Marlins appear to have made it clear Nathan Eovaldi is not in their long term plans.
It does not appear Nate Eovaldi is part of the @Marlins plans next season. Hearing trade likely.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) December 11, 2014
Eovaldi, 24, posted a 4.37 ERA and 3.37 FIP in 199.2 innings pitched for the Marlins last season. He made 33 starts, but had trouble with his command at times, most notably at the end of the season. Eovaldi's inability to throw strikes consistently led to the Marlins internally considering to remove him from the rotation towards the end of the season. Although removing him was an option, the Marlins chose to allow him to finish the year as a starter.
Since he was acquired in the Hanley Ramirez deal with the Dodgers, the Marlins have been optimistic with regard to Eovaldi's future. His power fastball has led several major league scouts to wonder if he would be better suited as a closer, and MIami was confident his slider and curveball would keep left-handed hitters off balance. Upon adding him to the roster, the Marlins appeared to be under the impression that Eovaldi would be a front of the rotation arm moving forward. But Henderson Alvarez has established himself as a more consistent starter and after adding a pair of veteran pitchers, moving Eovaldi would likely be the most logical option.
Haren has yet to decide whether he will pitch in Miami in 2015, although since he has made it clear he would like to remain on the West Coast, the chances of him starting for the Marlins may be slim. Even so, Latos should serve as the arm the Marlins need until Jose Fernandez returns next summer, and Brad Hand could be slotted into Eovaldi's spot if he is dealt.
The fact that the Marlins will consider moving Eovaldi is notable because of the numerous starting pitchers they have lost this offseason. Brian Flynn was sent to Detroit in exchange for Aaron Crow, Anthony DeSclafani was included in the Latos deal with the Reds, and Andrew Heaney was sent to Los Angeles in the Dee Gordon deal. Miami still has talented young starters, such as Justin Nicolino, but one of baseball's loaded minor league systems has lost several arms. Replacing Eovaldi may not be a challenge, but long term, losing him may force the Marlins to prematurely promote a prospect such as Nicolino.
Teams looking for starting pitching could consider Eovaldi, depending on Miami's asking price. In a deal that involved Eovaldi, the Marlins should be able to get at least one prospect in return. He has not had the most consistent of careers to this point, but the organization should take advantage of the potential upside if they decide to trade Eovaldi.