The Miami Marlins have struggled to cope with a lack of starting rotation depth over the past few years, and injuries to starters have often derailed seasons all by themselves. This year, though, may just be different.
If it was the build up to any other season over the past five years (at least), seeing that a newly-acquired pitcher, and possible important rotation piece, had been shut down this early into Spring Training would have sent major alarm bells ringing.
The jury is still out on whether Miami’s off-season was a resounding success or not, but it is not unrealistic to think that the majority are in agreement that the team did a good job at obtaining a level of pitching depth which has not been seen in the organization for a number of years.
The Marlins added Edinson Volquez, (the now injured) Jeff Locke, and Dan Straily to the rotation mix which already included Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley, and Tom Koehler. Then there is Justin Nicolino, Jose Urena, David Phelps (in emergency situations), and possibly Jake Esch, who can all start for Miami as well.
All in all, that makes ten pitchers with big league starting experience on the roster, a number which will work in Miami’s favor over the course of a long season. Of course, none of the players mentioned above are going to win the Cy Young award in 2017, and starting pitching performances are probably not going to be pretty at times, but there is strength in numbers. If that fails, the Marlins can turn to their equally deep bullpen.
It is hard to remember a time when the Marlins had this many pitching options, both in starting and relief roles. The team has suffered from the injury bug a lot since the turn of the decade, but Miami looks primed this year to deal with whatever the season throws its way.
Lacking a true number one pitcher may be more of an issue this season than depth, but as long as every pitcher, reliever or starter, is ready when called upon, the Marlins have a legitimate shot at securing their first winning season since 2009.
What Miami’s pitching lacks in super stardom, it makes up for in options. Who knows, with the right combination of arms working together, the Marlins may just surprise a few people with how dependable and competitive they can be.