One year removed from the PR disaster that was the 2013 off-season, the Miami Marlins have made some understated moves this off-season. So far they have added veteran position players Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones, Rafael Furcal, and Casey McGehee.
Should the Marlins try to follow that plan on the pitching side of things? Should they try to add a veteran starter to a rotation that will be keyed by NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez? Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes that it is unlikely that the Marlins go that route:
"There is always a chance to sign a veteran starter to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, but I don’t see that as a high priority…Granted, the rotation is young, but it’s pretty solid. I see perhaps the fourth and fifth spots being a competition with Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler as the incumbents, and probable front-runners to win spots for the season opener. You have to ask yourself, is a veteran on the market right now a better option than Koehler?"
Koehler went 5-10 with a 4.41 ERA last season. His 4.28 xFIP puts him just a tad worse than your league average starter. So to answer the question posed by Frisaro, Koehler is likely about the same pitcher as any low-cost veteran guys on the market. The rest of the rotation will be filled out with starters who are 23 and younger and posted sub-4.00 ERAs in 2013: Jacob Turner, Nathan Eovaldi, and Henderson Alvarez.
It is difficult to imagine the Marlins being in the mix in the NL East in 2014, as the top of the division will be crowded with the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. But beyond this season, it very well may be that the impeccable player development folks for the Marlins will once again bail out their inept owner.