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Marlins likely to add free agent pitchers after Henderson Alvarez injury

The Marlins announced on Tuesday that Henderson Alvarez was having season-ending shoulder surgery. What kind of effects does this have on the club currently and in the future?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It is hard to pinpoint many occurrences that have gone right for the Marlins this season. From injuries to inconsistencies at the plate and on the mound, the Fish have floundered to the second worst record in the majors as the schedule is set to turn to August.

Tuesday was just another example of something going wrong and more bad news for the Marlins in 2015.

The club announced that Henderson Alvarez was going to have season-ending arthroscopic surgery performed on his right shoulder. Alvarez had been on the disabled list since May 22 with right shoulder inflammation, which was the fourth time in the past three seasons that he had experienced that injury.

Alvarez was scheduled to begin his rehab assignment soon and return to the majors by August, but his rehab was pushed back after he started experiencing soreness. This prompted the club to schedule a visit with Dr. James Andrews on how to treat the injury, which ultimately turned out to be surgery.

The news puts an end to an otherwise frustrating season for Henderson Alvarez. He was penciled in as the fill-in ace with Jose Fernandez still on the shelf coming into the season. This was after an All-Star season for Alvarez last year, in which he boasted a 12-7 record to go along with a 2.65 ERA. As a result of an ailing shoulder, all Alvarez had to show for this season was two trips to the disabled list, an 0-4 record, and a 6.45 ERA.

If one were to make a list ranking all of the Marlins assets, in terms of value, Alvarez would definitely be near the top of that list. As a result, his shoulder surgery definitely has an impact on the club in some form. Currently it does not have any effect at all, as the Marlins sit 12 games out of first place in their division and approach the Trade Deadline as sellers looking to collect value on expiring contracts. So Alvarez's injury should not have an effect on the fates of Mat Latos and Dan Haren. Both pitchers, especially Latos, are more than likely to be traded regardless of whether Alvarez was returning to the rotation or not.

Beyond this season is when Alvarez's shoulder surgery starts to have an effect on the club. Dan Jennings told reporters Tuesday that Hendo's timetable for a return is unknown at this point and he did not know if he would be back by Spring Training. Even if Mat Latos or Dan Haren are traded, both pitchers are on expiring deals and both are unlikely to return to the Marlins. So looking ahead to next year's rotation, the Marlins would only have Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart, and Tom Koehler if Alvarez was not ready by the start of the season.

Alvarez's surgery is a signal with regard to how much help the starting rotation is going to need next year. Just as they did this year, the Marlins are expected to try and be competitive next season. If that's the case, the club is going to have to be aggressive in their attempts to upgrade the rotation. Luckily for the Marlins, this upcoming free agent class has a number of quality pitchers with names such as David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman, Yovani Gallardo, Bartolo Colon, A.J. Burnett, and Jeff Samardzija set to hit the open market.

Last year the Marlins were aggressive in upgrading their areas of weakness. It will be interesting to see what effect Henderson Alvarez's surgery has on their plans of reshaping the starting rotation.