Entering Spring Training, it appeared Jarred Cosart and Adam Conley would emerge as the favorites to win the final two spots in the Marlins' rotation. At this point, it looks like the pair will join Jose Fernandez, Tom Koehler and Wei-Yin Chen.
Miami has not officially announced its starting rotation, but when it does, one thing will be for sure: Fernandez will be the team's second starter behind Chen in order to enable the club to better monitor the number of innings he tosses in 2016.
At the beginning of camp, it appeared Brad Hand, David Phelps, Justin Nicolino, Edwin Jackson and Conley would battle for the final spot in the rotation. But since Cosart was plagued by vertigo-like symptoms last season, the Marlins did not guarantee him a starting job from the outset.
The Marlins were able to evaluate both Nicolino and Conley toward the end of last season, but it was Conley who had more success this spring. Nicolino, on the contrary, was recently opted to Triple-A New Orleans, where he will open the season.
Conley pitched to a 3.76 ERA over 67.0 innings with the Marlins in 2015. His 1.98 spring ERA over 9.2 innings will likely be good enough to earn him a starting job.
With Conley joining Chen as another lefty in the rotation, the Marlins could open the season with a pair of left-handed starters in the rotation for the first time over the last few seasons.
While Conley had to earn a job, Cosart likely just needed to prove he was healthy. And he did just that.
Over 9.2 spring innings, Cosart did not allow a run and posted nine strikeouts. The Marlins acquired him to be an efficient middle of the rotation option. They are likely still waiting for consistent production.
If Conley and Cosart pitch in the rotation, Hand and Jackson could see time in the bullpen. The Marlins will likely decide how they want their bullpen to look over the next few days.
Conley and Cosart appeared to be the favorites early. Expect both to open the season in the rotation.