The Miami Marlins are 41-35, currently holding a National League Wild Card spot and only three games behind the Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East. They have been this successful despite losing All-Star, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove second baseman Dee Gordon to an 80-game suspension and seeing franchise player Giancarlo Stanton go through the worst slump of his career. Perhaps most surprisingly, they have been this successful despite guys like Justin Nicolino (5.17 ERA) and Paul Clemens (6.30 ERA) taking starts in the rotation.
The Marlins have a true ace in Jose Fernandez and decent complementary middle-of-the-rotation options in Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley, and Tom Koehler. The bullpen had its struggles to open the season, but has actually been a strength lately. The glaring hole on this team has been the fifth starter in the rotation. The Marlins have been rumored to have interest in starters like Bud Norris of the Atlanta Braves and Drew Pomeranz of the San Diego Padres. As the month of July approaches, there are sure to be more pitchers made available for the Marlins to have interest in. Either way, the team knows they need to improve the rotation, and yesterday they signed a starter with 91 career wins.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins agreed to terms on a minor league deal with right-hander Jeremy Guthrie. He will report to Triple-A New Orleans and could join the Marlins rotation soon if Clemens continues to struggle.
Guthrie made his debut in 2004, appearing in six games out of the bullpen for the Cleveland Indians. For his career, he has appeared in 305 games, 272 of those as a starter. He’s 91-108 with a 4.37 ERA. He has pitched for the Indians, Orioles, Rockies, and Royals. He had been a Royal since 2012, and last season posted an 8-8 record with a 5.95 ERA. He had been pitching for the Padres Triple-A team this season, going 3-5 with a 6.60 ERA in 60 innings pitched.
Guthrie is certainly not the answer to the rotation issues the Marlins have been having, but on a no-risk minor league contract, he’s worth a shot. Worst case scenario, he can be depth in case of injuries and may help in long relief out of the bullpen. Optimistically, he may find some of the stuff he had a few seasons ago when he posted fWAR values above 2.