|So the Marlins discovered today that they had a couple of starters with bum wings in Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez, which is odd because both pitchers seemed fine all the way through spring training, but sure, whatever. To fill those rotation holes they called up organizational arm and pseudo-prospect Alex Sanabia. Did fellow org arm and pseudo-prospect Brad Hand, or someone like him, get the other open spot?
Don't be ridiculous. Instead the Marlins called up Jose Fernandez, the 20-year-old who's one of the best pitching prospects in the game and who also has yet to pitch in Double-A, and in fact has only a half-season at High-A on his resume. To be fair, it's a dominating half-season, but the decision still seems a little, shall we say, premature.
But wait, it gets better. Fernandez wasn't even on the 40-man roster, so in order to call him up they had to clear a spot on the 40, and did so by designating Zack Cox for assignment. You know, Zack Cox, the guy they got when they dumped Edward Mujica last year and the player who was supposed to be their third baseman of the future. He's never really done much to deserve that designation, it's true, but with Matt Dominguez ditched to Houston the club really has no one else in the pipeline who remotely fits the bill. So to fill a presumably short-term hole in the major league rotation in a season where they're competing for nothing but draft position, they risk losing a player who might eventually plug a gaping hole in the depth chart. Good job.
But wait! It gets better still. Chances are this callup won't impact Fernandez's arbitration clock, as the Marlins can always just delay his eventual full-time promotion to account for this part-time one (and don't think for one second they won't. This front office rates as a legitimate 80 in penny-pinching). No, the really silly part is that now that Fernandez is on the 40-man roster, they'll have to start burning option years to keep him in the minors. If Fernandez has a normal development curve that probably won't matter, as he won't need more than another year or two in the minors before he's ready for the big time. If, however, something were to derail that development curve (like, oh, I don't know, being called up to the majors way too early and getting shelled, thereby crushing his confidence) the Marlins could find themselves in a nice self-made pickle if Fernandez isn't ready but he's out of options.
Look, I'm rooting for the kid to do great, just like I'm rooting for Giancarlo Stanton to go on and have a Hall of Fame career. But this isn't even a case of the Marlins doing something which is bad for their on-field product but good for Jeffrey Loria's bank account. This is just a flat out dumb move, with no real discernible logic to it at all.
Head's up, Astros. Someone might just be gunning to lose more games than you this season.
Posted by Erik Siegrist at 3/31/2013 8:06:00 AM