Miami opted not to carry Rule 5 draft pick Andrew McKirahan on its 25-man roster, and on Monday it may have become clear why. After being claimed by Atlanta before the start of the season, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, McKirahan has been suspended 80 games for use of PEDs.
Sources: #Braves left-hander Andrew McKirahan suspended 80 games for PEDs. Rule 5 pick from #Cubs. Claimed on waivers from #Marlins.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 20, 2015
McKirahan, 25, was selected by the Marlins in December's Rule 5 draft. He saw time in both Single and Double-A in 2014, and struck out 7.9 hitters per nine innings. In 36.1 innings in Single-A, he posted a 0.99 ERA and 2.76 FIP. In 28.2 innings in Double-A, he posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.50 FIP. The Marlins did not express a preference with regard to the ideal number of right or left-handed pitchers they wanted to carry in 2015, but Miami opened the season with Mike Dunn and Brad Hand serving as the two left-handed options out of the bullpen.
The lefty's test was conducted before he was acquired by the Braves, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, however the results were not made clear until Sunday. Bowman adds that McKirahan had used a cream throughout spring training, and even speculation could have resulted in the Marlins exploring other left-handed options to place on their major league club.
Miami's bullpen has been used consistently throughout the first two weeks of the season, but both Dunn and Hand have been efficient. McKirahan has never pitched above Double-A, and a lack of experience may have also led to the Marlins allowing him to be claimed.
McKirahan has traditionally had a reverse-platoon split, and if the Marlins chose to keep him on the roster, the bullpen may have lost a key arm. While it is hypothetical, if he made the club, McKirahan's suspension may have hurt the bullpen of what is a 3-10 team two weeks into the season.
The Marlins chose to give McKirahan a chance by selecting him in the draft. But given the consequences from PED use, Miami will likely benefit from allowing the Braves to claim him.