Tom Koehler has been a stalemate of the Marlins' rotation for three years now. Although his numbers might not jump off the page, he has provided this ball club with some quality performances, such as his eight-inning, ten strikeout effort in the win over the Brewers last night.
The 29-year-old only allowed two runs and scattered four hits and two walks to lower his ERA to 3.99 on the season. Koehler has once again anchored this rotation as he looks set to lead the team in innings pitched for the second straight year. Although sometimes plagued by inconsistency, Tom Koehler can look like an ace on occasion, which could make him a valuable commodity next season.
After a dreadful spell of injuries to the rotation this season, the Marlins will be active in trying to court a starting pitcher to come to Miami via free agency. A big name arm like David Price or Johnny Cueto is what Marlins supporters are hoping for, but this will be difficult given the financial situation of the team. Acquiring two number two or number three starters may be hard enough, so the Fish could be leaning on Koehler again to fill the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation.
Koehler is about to become arbitration eligible for the first time, but his salary will be much cheaper than most alternatives on the open market. With Jose Fernandez, Henderson Alvarez and Jarred Cosart being the only experienced starters on the current roster besides Koehler, the team would be relying on an unproven player to toe the rubber every five days if they do not add two quality arms.
Adding two quality arms may be slightly optimistic, but even if the Fish could pull that off they could still use Tom Koehler to fill-in for injuries over the course of the season. With Alvarez a doubt for Spring Training, the organization has even more reason to sign him for 2016. Plus, with how this season has gone, the club must realize that as much pitching depth as possible is needed if a team is hoping to make the playoffs.
Tom Koehler has once again proved that he is a dependable and durable starter, which is more than can be said for some of the other rotation pieces Miami has. He provides a veteran presence in the clubhouse, and he has shown that he can record quality starts during the stretch-run of the season with five months of baseball already in the books. The Marlins are making "sweeping changes" throughout the organization, but one thing doesn't need to change: Tom Koehler's team.