Inbox: Would fixing Miami rotation be enough?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers fans' questions

July 13th, 2017

If this team had a good pitching staff, could you see the Marlins as contenders with everything else they have in place?
-- @RCKmak

Entering the season, the biggest question was the starting pitching. The rotation had its issues, posting a 5.00 ERA in the first half, which ranked 28th in the Majors. Marlins starting pitchers threw 444 2/3 innings -- second fewest in the big leagues. So you're right, the rotation didn't do its part to help this team contend.
Identifying the problem is one thing. The bigger question is how do you fix it? Trades are one way, as well as player development. Considering where Miami is in the standings -- 10 1/2 games out in the National League East and nine back in the NL Wild Card chase -- it is going to be tough to reach the postseason.
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With a stronger rotation, this core offense is a threat. But not sure you can realistically add the type of starting stability without a longer-term plan, which would, in my opinion, require the Marlins to part with some core position players.
Any chance Dillon Peters gets called up after he finishes his rehab?
-- @madrid3004

Ranked No. 4 by MLBPipeline on the Marlins' Top 30 Prospects list, Peters is battling back from a broken left thumb that required surgery in April. The 24-year-old is making strides, pitching in the Gulf Coast League as he builds back up. In his first two outings since the injury, Peters has given up one run in 6 2/3 innings. In his most recent outing on Monday, he tossed four shutout innings. At some point, either later this month or in August, he should be back at Double-A Jacksonville. A September callup to the Marlins is a possibility.

Are our current relief pieces, AJ Ramos and , enough to net a solid starting pitcher without having to break up the position players?
-- @ggoss729

There's plenty of interest from other clubs in both right-handers, with more than a dozen teams contacting Miami for each one. The Marlins certainly could net a good return for either or both, but chances are they would go for prospects as part of a rebuild. Ramos and Phelps are arbitration-eligible through next season, and they would qualify for free agency after the 2018 campaign.
Unless the Marlins get into contention in the next week, I expect one or both to be traded by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Keep this in mind: If they're dealt, it will be for prospects. Moving either of these two would be a sign the focus is on the future.
batting second has worked out, right?

The numbers certainly support the claim. Stanton was moved from the cleanup spot to second in the batting order on May 23, and since that date, the four-time All-Star has a slash line of .294/.389/.619, with 15 home runs and 28 RBIs. The Marlins are 25-18 with Stanton batting second. Manager Don Mattingly has repeatedly said he likes Stanton batting in that spot, so look for the slugger to remain there for a while.
Brian Anderson looked good at the Futures Game. How long before he comes up to The Show?
-- @nicolemaio8

Anderson looked right at home on Sunday in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park, going 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the United States' 7-6 win over the World squad.
The Marlins' No. 3 prospect according to MLBPipeline, Anderson is making strides at Double-A Jacksonville, and he is expected to be promoted soon to Triple-A New Orleans. Anderson, like Peters, could be a September callup. Some have asked if he would be brought up sooner if is traded. If that were to happen, the big league promotion would depend on how Anderson is progressing. He would have to really show he belongs, because there are already big league experienced options to play third base in and .