Henderson Alvarez opened the 2015 season as the Marlins' number one starter. It does not appear he will be on the roster next year.
The deadline to tender contracts was Wednesday at midnight, and the Marlins decided not to give Alvarez a contract. He spent most of last season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury which ultimately required surgery. But if he proves to be healthy by spring training, Alvarez will likely draw a significant amount of interest.
It appears to be contradictory. The Marlins need starting pitching but opted to trade away one of their most consistent starters over the last few seasons.
Money was likely not the issue here. Alvarez was not due for a significant raise, and even if he was, he would probably still turn out to be cheaper than any potential free agent option. The Marlins are known to be seeking starting pitching. If Alvarez was tendered a contract, perhaps only one starter would have to be added. But with Alvarez now a free agent, a pair of starters almost certainly needs to be added.
Alvarez, 25, pitched to a 6.45 ERA and 3.85 FIP over 22.1 innings with the Marlins last season. The fact the Marlins did not consider having him on the roster in 2016 likely indicates he is not expected to quickly recover from the shoulder injury. However, if he is able to, there is a chance Miami regrets allowing him to become a free agent.
If there was a chance Alvarez was going to be in the rotation next season, the addition of one top arm might have been sufficient since Adam Conley and Justin Nicolino have proven they can get outs at the major league level. Currently, the Marlins might be looking for multiple arms. Doug Fister, Yovani Gallardo and Wei-Yin Chen could all be possibilities for the Marlins to consider.
Miami acquired Alvarez is the large deal with Toronto in 2012, and the club viewed him as a number two starter since he was added to the roster. He pitched to a 2.65 ERA over 187.0 innings in 2014 and appears capable of being a front of the rotation arm, which is exactly what the Marlins are currently searching for.
Alvarez might not be healthy come the start of 2016. By not tendering him a contract, the organization will likely pursue multiple starting arms.