The Marlins bolstered their roation on Monday by signing right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez to a two-year deal worth $22 million.
With Andrew Cashner joining the Rangers in free agency and the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez, the Marlins were in need of starting pitching, and turned to Volquez as their first option. Volquez is not a top-of-the-rotation guy, but there weren’t many aces in this weak free agent class.
Although it is not an exciting signing, the 33-year-old should be slated into the No. 3 or No. 4 spot in the Marlins rotation. Even after a concerning 2016 season in which he pitched to a 5.37 ERA and 1.55 WHIP with the Royals, Volquez is still a solid starter who has given good innings throughout his 11-year career.
As far as the rest of the rotation after Volquez, it could be a toss-up. Wei-Yin Chen and Adam Conley should be ahead of Volquez in the rotation, and Tom Koehler could be ahead of him too, placing him in the No. 4 slot.
After those four, the No. 5 spot could be up for grabs. Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino are solid in-house options for that spot, but both guys are still young and unproven pitchers. David Phelps is another option on the current roster, but Phelps has been very important for the Marlins in the bullpen, and Don Mattingly shouldn’t move him from that relief role.
The front office could also look elsewhere in the free agent market for the Marlins’ final starter. Doug Fister, who is coming off of a solid season with the Astros and shouldn’t cost less than $12 million per year, could be a good option for Miami.
For the 2017 season, the signing of Edinson Volquez should help to piece together a Marlins starting rotation that could have some struggles along the way. But, the second year on the deal means that Volquez will be around to possibly see the Marlins bolster the rotation in 2018, in which he could be just a No. 5 starter that completes the starting staff.
In both cases, the signing of Edinson Volquez is a good one that helps the Marlins’ starting rotation. If Volquez can pitch to or close to the numbers he put up in 2014 (3.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP), he will turn out to be a smart, and relatively cheap, signing for the Marlins.