We will know more on Ziegler in a couple of days. He underwent an MRI a couple of days ago, and he's dealing with a back issue. He is hopeful to pitch sometime this week.
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What options do the Marlins have to get some pitching? You can't win without good arms.
Solidifying the rotation will be among the biggest offseason topics for the front office. Edinson Volquez, who started on Opening Day, had Tommy John surgery and may miss all of 2018. Wei-Yin Chen has missed substantial time due to a left elbow issue the past two seasons.
Going the free-agent route in the offseason is very risky and costly. Jake Arrieta of the Cubs and Carlos Carrasco of the Indians are pending free agents, and each will likely be seeking more than $100 million.
The best way to find pitching is to develop your own. We've seen it this year, as Jose Urena has made great strides while becoming the club's best starter -- 13-6 with a 3.61 ERA. Dan Straily came as advertised after being acquired from the Reds. Adam Conley took a step backward this year after a solid 2016, but he can bounce back. Rookie Dillon Peters is getting a chance this September.
Trades can also be expected in the offseason to acquire pitching prospects.
Was calling up Brian Anderson and Dillon Peters just for big league experience, or are the Marlins planning on them being on the roster from here on out?
Nothing is guaranteed in the big leagues. Just because the two are September callups doesn't automatically mean they will be on the Opening Day roster in 2018. Anderson combined for 22 home runs and 81 RBIs between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season. The 24-year-old third baseman is showing he belongs in the big leagues right now, and he has a bright future. But his status depends on Martin Prado, who has missed most of the season with hamstring and knee issues. Prado is signed through 2019, and if healthy, he will be the regular third baseman in '18. Anderson likely would be sent to Triple-A New Orleans to play, rather than be on the bench behind Prado.
Peters, keep in mind, missed a few months this year due to a fractured left thumb. He's pitching well now, but he may also need more Minor League seasoning in 2018. That said, the lefty could win a rotation spot next Spring Training and be on the Opening Day roster.
With rumors of the new ownership group slashing payroll, are we looking at another 5-10 years of rebuilding?
There is already speculation that the new ownership group, headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, plans to cut payroll. At this point, no one really knows the direction they are seeking. MLB is still in the process of approving the sale of the club, which could be finalized in October.
I expect some type of rebuilding, which would mean a lower payroll.
The question would be: How much of the core is the club willing to trade? There is a lack of organizational depth, which has caught up to the Marlins in September, as they went from being one of MLB's hottest clubs to now fading.
To me, the focus shouldn't be on payroll as much as direction. If there is a clear vision to accumulate as many quality players as possible -- up and down the system -- then do it, but stay the course. The past few years, the organization has changed direction every year -- and sometimes in midseason. If they go young, try to build it right, without interruption.
As much as I don't want to see Giancarlo Stanton traded, I'll accept it as long as we get value in return. I also think that if Stanton is traded, to stay competitive you need to keep the other big bats in the lineup -- Justin Bour, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Your thoughts?
-- Gary R., Rochester, N.Y.
I will say it now, because it will be mentioned in the upcoming weeks and after the regular season ends in October. What's next for Stanton will be one of, if not the biggest MLB offseason trade topics. The slugger's salary jumps to $25 million in 2018, and if the Marlins are building more toward the future, it makes little sense to retain him -- especially when you consider that he can opt out after the '20 season.
Stanton's MVP-caliber season has created a trade market, and unless Miami is fully committed to keeping the slugger, then this offseason is the time to shop him. Keep in mind, he has a full no-trade clause. But if the team rebuilds or deals a few core players like Ozuna, it will be hard to get progressively better in 2018. So I'd believe Stanton would be agreeable to a trade.