The Marlins know that there is a lack of star talent available on the starting pitching front this winter, so they are keen to find a diamond in the rough for an affordable price. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro has added another potential name to that list:
Jeff Locke has spent his entire six-year career at the major league level with Pittsburgh, and actually made his debut against the Marlins as a 23 year-old back in 2011.
Locke enjoyed his best season in 2013, when he went 10-7 with a 3.52 ERA over 30 starts to go along with an All Star nod. Since then, though, his numbers have steadily declined to the point where he was removed from starting duties down the stretch this past season.
Overall, 2016 was a year to forget for the southpaw; both Locke’s WHIP (1.53) and K/9 (5.2) were the worst he has produced since his four starts as a September call-up to end the 2011 season.
While a repeat of his 5.44 ERA in 2017 would not lead the Marlins to the playoffs, Locke would provide Miami with more pitching depth which, more importantly, could just keep David Phelps in the bullpen.
That will be crucial to the success of this pitching staff next season, as losing Phelps to the rotation could quickly lead to the overuse of Kyle Barraclough, A.J. Ramos and possibly Kenley Jansen/Aroldis Chapman, and the idea of an elite bullpen would evaporate in a heartbeat.
If the Marlins sign Jeff Locke, the deal would not make many headlines. However, what it would do is provide the club with another arm which has experienced success in the past. Locke’s career numbers may not be dazzling, but that does not mean that he would not be able to produce solid numbers if he were to sign with Miami.