Should Marlins go after Chapman?
SAN DIEGO — All offseason the Marlins have made it very clear they are seeking a top of the rotation starter. The ideal candidate is an All-Star caliber pitcher who can eat up innings and keep the club in the playoff picture until Jose Fernandez returns around the All-Star Break.
It’s a reach for the sky wish, and one not easily attainable. Arizona lefty Wade Miley would fit the bill, and he still may wind up in Miami. But the trade return will be painful, most likely meaning the Marlins would have to part with their top prospect, Andrew Heaney.
This much is known, the Marlins are exploring a number of different scenarios. They’re open to creative thinking. So much so that they are considering converting newly acquired reliever Aaron Crow into a starter.
Perhaps the Marlins have learned something from Crow’s former club, the Kansas City Royals.
A main reason the Royals reached Game 7 of the World Series is because they had arguably the best bullpen in the game in 2014. Not many clubs could match their seventh, eighth and ninth inning trio.
Since finding the ideal starter isn’t easy, perhaps the Marlins should consider building a super bullpen. If they are leaning that way, Aroldis Chapman would be a logical option.
We don’t know if the Marlins are thinking this way, but what is clear is the Reds are open to trading Chapman, their fireball-throwing lefty closer.
Cuban-born, Chapman would be an immediate fan favorite in Miami. He also would make the entire pitching staff better.
The fact he is 26, and doesn’t reach free agency until 2017 means he could be with the Marlins at least two seasons. Entering his prime, he also is affordable. In 2015, he is set to make $5 million after collecting 36 saves and striking out 106 in 54 innings last season.
If the Marlins do acquire Chapman, then what happens to Steve Cishek? Teams have checked in on Cishek’s availability. Like Chapman, the 28-year-old is entering his second year of arbitration.
Cishek likely will have his salary raise to close to $6 million.
How to resolve Cishek’s situation could be simple. They could trade him for either a starter or a power bat. Or they can keep him, and use him in the eighth inning.
Cishek in the eighth and Chapman in the ninth would give the Marlins one of the top back ends of any bullpen in the National League. You’d have two proven closers. Cishek also has the personality to accept whatever role he is given, without grumbling.
The seventh inning candidates would be Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris, Carter Capps and Chris Hatcher. Immediately, Miami’s bullpen would become the envy of the league.
A powerhouse bullpen could be the answer to their starting pitching search, becuase the team would be able to shorten games. If the starters can keep the team in the game for five or six innings, Miami will like its chances to come out with a win.
It just may work out where Miami’s best chance to improve its rotation is by dramatically strengthening its bullpen.
— Joe Frisaro