Timing led to cutting ties with Turner
PITTSBURGH — Cutting loose a promising 23-year-old right-hander is never an easy decision. But where the Marlins are in the here and now, the organization felt it had no other choice but to designate Jacob Turner for assignment on Tuesday.
Still with time to make up ground in the standings, the Marlins felt an urgency to make a difficult move.
Even though it may be a long shot, the Marlins still have playoff aspirations. To stay in the race as long as possible, they are looking for those who give them their best chance.
Because Turner is out of options, the club felt the time was now to move in another direction. So Turner was designated, and lefty Brian Flynn was called up from Triple-A New Orleans.
Don’t look for Flynn to make the start on Saturday at Cincinnati. The Marlins have yet to announce who will get the nod that day, but expect it to be Brad Penny.
Of course Penny is not part of the club’s long-term future. But the veteran has pitched in playoff chases before. He’s a former All-Star, and you may recall, he won two games for the Marlins in the 2003 World Series.
Penny may not ultimately be the answer to help the Marlins reach their playoff goal this year, but he will bring a veteran presence to a young staff. Penny also may wind up logging valuable innings down the stretch, which will ease the work load of the rest of the staff.
If the Marlins were completely in rebuilding mode, like a year ago, the club absolutely would have stuck with Turner. In 2013, when the club finished up 62-100, the front office had more patience. The season was about development and seeing what players could do.
In that scenario, then you ride it out with Turner and see how he performs.
Right now, Turner’s tenure with Miami basically ended because he was out of options, and the club was out of patience. Forced to either retain him on the 25-man roster or let him loose, there was no middle ground to allow the right-hander to go down to the Minors to polish up his game.
The Marlins tried Turner in the bullpen and rotation. He struggled in both roles.
Frankly, Turner was rushed to the big leagues at age 20 by the Tigers. He was dealt to the Marlins a year later in a trade that is now even more unpopular with Marlins fans. Turner, Flynn and Rob Brantly came to Miami in 2012 for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.
Bad deal? Absolutely.
In those situations, you can do a couple of things. You can hang on and hope, or you can cut your losses, and move forward.
Miami, too, moved Turner quickly to the big leagues, speeding up his service time clock.
Not every high school talent is ready to be in the big leagues two or three years after they graduate. Turner found himself in that situation.
The lesson the Marlins have learned from pitchers like Turner is to give their other prospects more time to develop.
That’s why this season we’ve seen Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani promoted from Double-A to Triple-A. Both made their big league debuts this season, and both showed they needed more seasoning. So they are back at New Orleans.
In years past, the Marlins had a philosophy of promoting pitchers directly from Double-A to the big leagues. It worked with Dontrelle Willis and Josh Johnson. It wasn’t as successful with Scott Olsen, Chris Volstad and others.
The objective of the organization now is to stop developing at the big leagues, and focus on winning. To achieve that goal, bold moves are sometimes made along the way.
— Joe Frisaro