Marlins Manager Mike Redmond recently said the rotation is not completely set yet, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, and David Phelps may be the reason why. The Marlins are expected to have Henderson Alvarez, Jarred Cosart, Dan Haren, Mat Latos, and Tom Koehler in their rotation, but Phelps has had a solid spring and could pitch out of the bullpen in 2015.
Phepls, 28, was sent to Miami in the deal that sent Nathan Eovaldi to the Yankees. He posted a 4.38 ERA and 4.41 FIP in 113.0 innings pitched last season, and has been competing for a spot in the rotation since the start of spring training. Koehler appears to have secured the number five spot, however Phelps may be a long relief option for the Marlins moving forward.
Since the start of Grapefruit League play, Phelps has pitched well, and his success continued in Lakeland against the Tigers on Wednesday. In five scoreless innings, Phelps only allowed a pair of hits. Miami has been able to get a good look at Phelps this spring, as he leads the club with 16 innings pitched and posted a 0.56 ERA over that span. He has struck out twelve but has also walked seven.
Koehler is expected to end camp in the Marlins' rotation, with Phelps likely pitching well enough to earn a roster spot. Phelps and Brad Hand are in similar situations, with both hoping to have won starting spots but instead expected to be long relievers. Hand is out of options, though, and is reportedly drawing interest from teams seeking starting depth. Both Hand and Phelps can make a spot start, which may be key as the Marlins await the return of Jose Fernandez this summer.
Hand entered last spring with the same uncertainty, and the competition is nothing new for Phelps, as he battled for a roster spot with the Yankees during each of the last three springs. He made 40 starts over that span, and has a fastball that at averages 90.4 mph.
Regardless of whether Phelps earns a roster spot, the Marlins have been notably impressed with his spring. If he has comparable success throughout the course of the season, he will add right-handed depth which could prove to be valuable for the Marlins as the season progresses.