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- Miami Marlins: Justin Verlander to replace Jose Fernandez? - November 11, 2016
The Miami Marlins are close, so close that they may be one player away from a postseason trip. As it stands now, the Marlins are in need of another arm. Not just any arm but one that will lead a rotation.
With the news that the Detroit Tigers are fielding offers for Justin Verlander, the Marlins must act quickly and snatch up the former CY Young winner. With Jose Fernandez no longer with the team, the Marlins are in need of a starter that can give them 20 plus quality starts.
The rotation now will depend on Wei-Yin Chen with his dismal 5-5 record in 22 starts and 100 strikeouts. Chen was brought in to be the second starter but pitched more like a fourth or fifth option in the rotation. With Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton ready to begin the year injury free, the Marlins have just a good a chance as anybody to contend with the Chicago Cubs for the National League title.
But it takes more than home runs and stolen bases to win 85-90 games in MLB. If the Marlins are serious about being contenders then this is a no-brainer.
Management proved last season they are willing to shed the cheap label and pay for progress but any team that has won in the majors will tell you that winning starts on the mound.
Verlander has had his share of disappointments but that’s to be expected when you can tell early on that your team does not have the desire or the talent to contend. With this news, the Tigers are saying just as much. But the issue the Marlins may have is the Tigers asking price for Verlander’s services. Verlander tossed 227 innings last season with an ERA of 3.47 with 245 strikeouts (most since 2009). At 33, he still has plenty left to offer but it may not be with the Tigers. Verlander has won 173 games in his career and has fallen short of double-digit wins just once in a full season.
His veteran presence in the clubhouse alone should be enough to lift the spirits of a team that has suffered heartbreak on and off the field in a matter of weeks. With the NL East up for grabs next season due to the rebuilding the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are going through, not to mention the New York Mets and their unknown offseason plans, Verlander may be that spark the Marlins need to claim that top spot.
The Marlins are farm heavy and may have the young talent the Tigers are seeking. The Tigers will officially be in reset mode, much like the Marlins and Houston Astros were just a few short seasons ago. Sometimes letting go is the best possible solution for some teams.
A fire sale takes guts and an understanding that your time has passed. The Tigers have hit that point and are willing to let their two best players go but they will be looking to reload much like the New York Yankees did in 2016.
If the Marlins are willing to bite, they must do so knowing that this is an all-out assault on the playoffs.