Tom Koehler may not be a starting pitcher for much longer. The Marlins are weighing their closing options, and according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, Koehler can be placed in the bullpen once the Henderson Alvarez is healthy.
Once Jose Fernandez returns from the disabled list, the Marlins will have a crowded rotation. David Phelps took Alvarez's starting spot when he was placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation but could return to the bullpen. Phelps is a versatile option and could provide the Marlins with late inning relief depth. He could also serve as a long reliever, and as a result, he will likely remain on Miami's roster even after Alvarez is activated.
Koehler is an intriguing option because he may thrive in multiple roles. He posted a 3.81 ERA and 3.84 FIP in 191.1 innings with the Marlins last season and could benefit from a move to the bullpen. He has posted a 4.62 ERA and 5.19 FIP in 39.0 innings to this point in 2015 and is striking out 6.46 per nine innings.
Although Koehler may not have the velocity of some successful closers, his ability to consistently command his pitches would likely help him thrive in such a role. If he does not close, Koehler can also serve as the club's seventh or eighth inning option. The Marlins' bullpen has had difficulty holding leads at times and adding another option to complement Mike Dunn and Bryan Morris could prove to be beneficial.
In the event that Koehler is asked to move to the bullpen, the Marlins could give prospect Justin Nicolino an opportunity to start until Jose Fernandez returns. Nicolino continues to have success in Triple-A and may be called upon at some point this season.
A.J. Ramos will likely receive most of the opportunities to close in the immediate future, but if Cishek continues to struggle, Koehler may be an option. The Marlins have some starting depth and using Koehler to fill an area of need could prove to be beneficial. Koehler is versatile and the Marlins can take advantage of that moving forward.