Miami is not prepared to guarantee Jarred Cosart a spot in the starting rotation, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
All off-season, the Marlins wanted to add a veteran starter and did so by signing Wei-Yin Chen in January. The club has expressed interest in adding another veteran arm, and the Cosart situation could be the reason why.
Cosart, 25, pitched to a 4.52 ERA and 5.12 FIP over 69.2 innings with the Marlins last season. He spent most of the 2015 season on the disabled list with vertigo symptoms, but appears to be in a position to compete for a rotation spot this spring.
When the Marlins acquired Cosart from the Astros before the non-waiver trade deadline in 2014, the organization felt he would be a consistent front end of the rotation starter. He pitched to a 3.69 ERA with Houston and Miami in 2014, but has yet to produce comparable results since.
Jackson notes the Marlins are open optioning Cosart to the minors to open the season if he is not in the rotation. However, since the Marlins' rotation could be considered the club's biggest weakness as spring workouts begin, Cosart pitching well and making the rotation would likely be ideal.
Cosart would pitch behind Jose Fernandez, Chen and Tom Koehler if he earns a spot, but if he doesn't, the Marlins do not have many options. Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, Brad Hand and David Phelps could all be considered. Nicolino and Conley might be better off opening the year in Triple-A, while Hand and Phelps are candidate to earn spots in the bullpen.
Miami has multiple non-roster invitees who could compete for spots, and among them is Chris Narveson, who has major league experience as a starter.
As long as he is healthy, Cosart should not have difficulty winning a rotation spot. But the fact the Marlins are open to having him start the season in the minors could reveal the organization's thoughts on his health situation.