The Miami Marlins are set to have a good number of potential starting pitchers on their roster, and that brewing logjam began once Jarred Cosart returns from the disabled list on Thursday night. He did not pitch but was reinstated on the roster, but he has also not been listed as a rotation member this week. Justin Nicolino and Tom Koehler were listed as the starters in the upcoming series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Sunday starter has yet to be announced. But if the news from June 24 is any indication, Cosart may be in the pen at least to start.
There were some concerns about Cosart's final Triple-A rehab start, during which he walked six batters and struck out six. The team feels he was robbed of some calls, but they are clearly taking it lightly on him and may transition him slowly to the rotation, perhaps as early as the next go-around.
This sounds like a reasonable attempt for the Marlins to try and see what they have in some of their other starters. The team will have Nicolino work against Brett Anderson against Los Angeles and will likely line up Jose Urena against Zack Greinke in the series finale. This will afford them two more looks at these relatively important prospects before they decide which one to replace in the rotation. The good money is on Urena to be replaced, as he has almost walked as many batters as he has struck out in his 37 1/3 innings so far with the big league club. Nicolino did the same in his only start so far, but he also won the game via seven shutout innings, so there is a chance the Marlins will want to see more of him and opt to send Urena to the pen and eventually back to Triple-A.
The truth is that neither starter is probably ready for the majors yet, which is all the more reason for Cosart to eventually retake his starting spot. He himself has struggled this year, having faced home run problems for the first time in his career. His strikeout and walk ratios remain the same, leaving an overall ugly picture. However, he is just 25 years old and Miami committed a top-100 prospect in Colin Moran to get him, so the Fish are very invested in his success. It is still difficult to see where Miami will conjure some whiffs, as Cosart has the same problems for which Nathan Eovaldi was eventually traded.
Still, giving Cosart a few confidence-building bullpen outings before reinstating him next week is not a bad idea, and it does allow the Fish time to evaluate Nicolino and Urena with more big league innings. In a season where the team is not going anywhere fast, this kind of tinkering is most certainly reasonable.