It is widely known that the Marlins have failed to put together a solid rotation from top to bottom for the past few seasons. In 2016, Miami’s starting pitchers were actually middle-of-the-pack, posting a combined 4.32 ERA, which was good for 12th in the majors.
However, that includes 182.1 innings of 2.86 ERA ball from the late, great José Fernàndez. Taking that into consideration, Marlins starters struggled last season overall, despite the emergence of Adam Conley.
In an attempt to rectify the situation, the Marlins front office signed veteran free agents Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke earlier this winter, and acquired right-hander Dan Straily from Cincinnati this past week.
The nuances of the trade involving Straily have been extensively covered here on FishStripes, but the ramifications of the deal have not yet been covered in-depth from every angle. For example, Jose Urena's days in Miami could now be numbered.
Urena is out of options and, therefore, if he does not win a starting spot in Spring Training, he will have to be designated for assignment if he is not needed elsewhere on Miami's 25-man roster. That means going through waivers, and Urena has enough potential that being claimed by another team is more than likely.
Statistically, Jose Urena endured a fairly terrible 2016 season, as he finished the year with a 4-9 record to go along with a 6.13 ERA across 12 starts. Looking past the numbers, though, reveals that consistency was Urena's undoing, and at 25 years of age, there is plenty of room for him to develop and improve.
Barring any injuries, the first four pitchers in Miami's rotation in 2017 will seemingly be Wei-Yin Chen, Volquez, Conley, and Tom Koehler. That leaves Straily, Locke, Urena, Justin Nicolino and possibly Jake Esch all fighting for the final spot.
One would have to think that unless his Spring Training performances are dreadful, Straily will have the inside track just because of how much the Marlins gave up to pry him away from the Reds (while Straily is coming off the back of a career year in 2016, many think that the deal was tipped in Cincinnati's favor).
Jose Urena may not become a future ace for the Marlins, but he could still hold some value further down the line. Young arms are starting to become a rarity in Miami's system due to the rate that prospects are being traded away, and Urena is a home-grown pitcher who has shown glimpses of above-average talent over the past season.
The Marlins may be forced to miss out on Urena's true potential due to last week's trade, and it would be a bitter pill to swallow to see another former Marlin come back to bite the team while playing for another club.