It is no secret that the Miami Marlins need quality starting pitching depth. After an injury-riddled 2015 season, it became clear that there is a large drop-off in talent after Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart and Tom Koehler. Even though the likes of Adam Conley and Justin Nicolino were promising during their rookie campaigns, they are not yet polished enough to man the rotation on a regular basis.
With little minor league depth to execute trades for established starters, the Marlins will have to seriously consider the free agent market to significantly improve their rotation. This is where hiring a manager as soon as possible becomes critical.
The sooner the team hires a manager, the sooner (some) stability is restored in this organization, and the sooner the team can decide who they want to pursue. If the Marlins are able to secure Don Mattingly's services for the foreseeable future, they could grab the attention of one free agent ace in particular.
Zack Greinke made a very strong case to win the National League Cy Young award this year. With a 19-3 record and a 1.66 ERA, Greinke put up one of the best pitching seasons in recent memory. More importantly, he outplayed his teammate, and current NL Cy Young holder, Clayton Kershaw. Despite the fantastic season, Greinke looks set to opt-out of his deal with the Dodgers and test the open market this winter.
He could demand a contract worth over $100 million, which would probably be out of Miami's price range - unless they decide to really commit to the playoff race in 2016. This is necessary as the solution to Miami's rotation woes is not currently in the clubhouse. If the Marlins want to battle with the best the National League has to offer, they have to make a splash this off-season. Signing Greinke would do just that.
Zack Greinke will have plenty of options around the league, but signing his former manager from Los Angeles may earn the organization some brownie points with the 32 year-old. The Fish may not want to match the offers from bigger clubs such as the Giants, so any other advantage they can have in the race for his signature is important.
With Mattingly, Greinke and Jose Fernandez all in Marlins uniforms, the team would have a sense of direction and 1-2 rotation punch that could rival any team in the majors. Signing Greinke, or another free agent ace like David Price or Johnny Cueto, is a long-shot for Miami. However, they still have to try and pursue these types of players as it is the only way they can significantly improve the pitching of this team.
If Mattingly agrees to deal with Jeffrey Loria and the Miami Marlins, then his presence and past success could help attract big name free agents to south Florida. The Mattingly announcement could possibly come as soon as the day after the World Series ends (if it does, indeed, get wrapped up). If this were to happen, he would be put to work right away. A player of Greinke's caliber could be all it takes to send this team to the postseason. With Mattingly knowing him personally, the Marlins would have the leg-up on the competition.