Miami already lost Giancarlo Stanton for the rest of the year, and the Marlins may be without Nathan Eovaldi for the rest of the season, but for a different reason. Eovaldi has been inconsistent, and the Marlins have yet to announce a starter for Sunday afternoon, which is when Eovaldi's spot will come up again.
In an interview with MLB.com, President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said Eovaldi needs to get better moving forward.
Eovaldi is 6-12 with a 4.48 ERA and 3.43 FIP in 186.2 innings pitched. At several points throughout the year, Eovaldi has had difficulty locating his offspeed pitches, and opposing batters have taken advantage. 63.1 percent of Eovaldi's pitches in 2014 have been fastballs, and while his K/9 rate (6.41) has remained consistent, batters are averaging .320 on balls put in play, up from .286 last season.
Heading into the season, Eovaldi was Miami's number two starter and complemented Jose Fernandez well in 2013. But with Eovaldi's inconsistencies, including a four and a third inning outing against the Mets on Tuesday, Henderson Alvarez quickly became the anchor of the Marlins' rotation.
Miami has yet to make a decision, and will take Eovaldi's workload into account. The 186 innings are the most Eovaldi has thrown in his young career, and Miami made it known earlier in the week it is closely monitoring the load of each pitcher.
If Miami decided to shut Eovaldi down for the year, Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani could receive an opportunity. Heaney had difficulty in his first major league stint but is in the Marlins' long term plans and could be in the starting rotation as soon as next year. The Marlins are still trying to find a role for DeSclafani, who may be better suited as a reliever.
Scounts and baseball officials have suggested placing Eovaldi in the bullpen and making him a closer. He does have the velocity to have success closing games, but the Marlins, especially with Steve Cishek's progress, aren't prepared to entirely take him out of the starting rotation.
"A lot of times when you think of starters moving to the bullpen, it's when there are short glimpses with velo, and then it falls off," Hill said. "It's not a falling off situation for him. There are probably some mechanical issues with him that we need to address. "
Eovaldi is a candidate to bounce back and pitch well in 2015. And the Marlins will need an effective Eovaldi to help lead a rotation featuring Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez moving forward.