The Miami Marlins caused quite a stir at the 2015 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville by implying that they were not completely opposed to the idea of trading star young pitcher Jose Fernandez. They had also made it abundantly clear that they were looking to trade outfielder Marcell Ozuna. So what did the Marlins end up doing? They signed two right-handed pitchers to minor-league contracts with invitations to Spring Training. After the rumors of a huge splash, the Fish barely made a ripple.
Righty Dylan Axelrod has 59 games of major league experience, last appearing for the Cincinnati Reds for a brief stint in 2015. For his career, he has gone 9-15 with a 5.27 ERA in 34 starts and 25 relief appearances. He has struck out 6.45 per nine MLB innings pitched and walked 3.35 in that span. He showed some promise in his 18.1 innings with the Reds in 2014 though, pitching to a 2.95 ERA and striking out 9.82 per nine while limiting his walks to only 1.96 per nine. Axelrod is 30 years old and will likely end up in Triple-A to serve as depth in case a few Marlins starters get injured.
Another right handed-pitcher, Dustin McGowan has significantly more experience in the big leagues. The 33-year-old has appeared in 172 games, his first in 2005 with the Toronto Blue Jays. McGowan has made 69 starts and 103 relief appearances, racking up a 26-29 record and a 4.68 ERA. He strikes out 7.35 per nine and walks 3.90. He spent 2015 with the Philadelphia Phillies organization, tossing 23.1 innings for the Major League team and struggling to a 6.94 ERA. Like Axelrod, McGowan will likely serve as starting pitching depth at Triple-A.
If the Fish plan on competing in 2016, neither of these two pitchers should be on the Opening Day 25-man roster. However, in terms of minor league depth and guys who can come up and make an emergency start, they could have done worse. As depth signings, these two are fine, but if they throw on a Marlins uniform during the regular season, there could be issues.