The Miami Marlins are searching for pitching help, both starters and relievers, and have reached out to the Tampa Bay Rays about right-hander Jake Odorizzi according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.
Miami (37-34) has lost two straight and is currently in third in the East division — five and a-half games behind the Washington Nationals. The Marlins have scored the 10th fewest runs in the majors but there are growing concerns about their pitching staff.
Miami’s pitching staff ranks in the middle third of the majors in several categories. The Marlins are 13th in ERA (4.02), tied-for 20th in quality starts, 18th in WHIP and 13th in batting average against (.251). Their starters have yet to throw a complete game, and despite having the second most saves in the majors, their relievers are just 17th in save percentage (70.27).
Staff ace Jose Fernandez has been one of the best pitchers in the game this year. The 23-year-old is coming off a sterling performance against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night where he threw seven innings of one hit ball while allowing no runs. He also had seven strikeouts and walked two batters. Fernandez received a no-decision as the Braves tallied three runs off the Marlins’ bullpen to grab a 3-2 victory in 10 innings.
Fernandez is 9-3 on the season with 125 strikeouts and a 2.57 ERA. The hard-throwing right-hander currently ranks in the top-10 in the National League in wins (sixth), strikeouts (third), ERA (seventh), WHIP (eighth), and win percentage (eighth).
Wei-Yin Chen has not even come the close to being the kind of pitcher the Marlins thought they were getting after signing the 30-year-old to a two-year, $28 million contract. Chen is coming off a two and a third-inning performance against the Colorado Rockies (June 18), where he was shelled for six runs on seven hits while also walking two batters. The lefty has surrendered 15 runs on 23 hits, including seven home runs, over his past three starts.
Chen is 4-2 on the season but owns a 5.22 ERA and has only thrown 79.1 innings in 14 starts. He has also given up 87 hits on the season and 1.9 homers per nine innings.
Tom Koehler has recorded five straight quality starts and now has eight quality starts in his 14 games. The 29-year-old allowed just two hits and struck out six but also walked six in a 2-0 victory over Colorado on Sunday. He is 6-6 on the season and has a 3.92 ERA but even more concerning is his 44 walks, which is the second most in the NL.
Adam Conley (3-4, 3.92 ERA), Justin Nicholino (2-4, 5.17 ERA) and Jared Cosart (three starts, 7.98 ERA and 15 walks) have had problems themselves.
Closer A.J. Ramos and setup man David Phelps have been really good in the late innings for the Marlins though Phelps blew the save in the loss to the Braves Tuesday. The blown save was Phelps’ third in his last eight appearances and fourth of the season.
Miami has also gotten good performances from Kyle Barraclough as well as Dustin McGowan, Mike Dunn and Nick Wittgren. Depth is an issue as several of the Marlins’ other relievers have thrown several sub-par innings.
Odorizzi has been solid for the Rays so far this year, posting a 3-3 record with a 3.63 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19. The 26-year-old is coming off his best outing of the month against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, allowing four hits along with one run while striking out eight in six innings.
Odorizzi is a power pitcher with five different pitches in his repertoire – four-seam fastball, cutter, slider, splitter, and slider. He does struggle with his control on occasion.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the Marlins are adamant about not trading any of the players currently on their major-league roster to improve their pitching staff. Rosenthal added that Miami has received calls about the availability of outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich.
Ozuna is off to the best start of his four-year career. The 25-year-old is hitting a team-high.321 and leads the squad with 15 home runs along with 43 runs batted in. He ranks fifth in the NL in batting average, 10th in home runs, 10th in runs (44), sixth in slugging percentage (.565), and sixth in on-base percentage (.938).
Yelich is on pace for a career year, hitting.316 with six homers and 35 runs batted in. The 25-year-old also has a.404 on-base percentage and.495 slugging percentage.