If Brad Hand makes the Miami Marlins' rotation, the organization might struggle before long.
As Spring Training formally begins, the Marlins' rotation is all but set. Jose Fernandez will open the season as the club's ace and Wei Yin Chen appears to be slotted behind him.
Tom Koehler will likely be the Marlins' third starter, leaving a pair of rotation spots open. Miami will have a handful of names compete for the spots, but Jarred Cosart could easily win one of the starting jobs.
Cosart spent most of the 2015 season on the disabled list with vertigo symptoms, and the Marlins are reportedly not set on guaranteeing him a spot in the rotation. Assuming he remains healthy and is effective this spring, Cosart should open the season in the majors.
For the final spot, the Marlins have options. Edwin Jackson is expected to work with pitching guru Jim Benedict, and if Benedict alters Jackson's delivery, he could emerge as the favorite to be the fifth starter. Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley remain options.
David Phelps has proven he can pitch out of the bullpen but could also be a valuable starting option. Chris Narveson is among the non-roster invitees who could be looked at.
Hand has had his opportunities in the past and has been unable to take advantage of them. If the Marlins end up giving Hand a spot in the rotation, which at this point seems unlikely, they could find themselves in need of pitching depth relatively quickly.
Hand made 12 starts last season but also saw time as a reliever. Over 93.1 innings, he pitched to a 5.30 ERA and 4.08 FIP. The Marlins have given Hand an opportunity to win a starting job since 2011. But he has not had success.
At 25, Hand is out of options, which is why there is a good chance he will be pitching out of Miami's bullpen in 2016. He could be used as a starter this spring, but would the Marlins be open to using Hand as a starter over other veterans or prospects?
The short answer is maybe, only because of circumstances. What if Nicolino and Conley struggle? What if Benedict is unable to help Jackson thrive as a starter? What if Cosart opens the season in Triple-A?
Spring Training tends to answer a lot of the "what if" questions. But if Hand is in the Marlins' rotation, there is a chance the club struggles in 2016.