The Marlins have been a popular team so far this offseason, targeting high-end free agents like Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Ryan Madson, and Mark Buehrle. While they’re busy trying to lure free agents to their new ballpark in Miami, they also have decisions to make about some players they currently employ. Juan Carlos Oviedo‘s situation is rather unique, but 25-year-old righty Chris Volstad is a more traditional non-tender candidate.
Now four-plus years into his big league career, Volstad has made at least 29 starts for the Fish in each of the last three seasons. During that time he’s pitched to a 4.88 ERA in 499 2/3 innings (88 starts), relying on ground balls (49.9%) rather than strikeouts (5.87 K/9). Volstad does a decent job of limiting walks (3.03 BB/9), but he’s struggled against left-handed batters (.278/.342/.465 against) and tends to be pretty homer prone (1.24 HR/9) despite the ground ball tendencies.
The Marlins may have telegraphed their intentions for Volstad when they declined to invite him to their new uniform unveiling earlier this month. Our projects peg the right-hander for a $2.6MM salary next season, his first time through the arbitration process. Volstad figures to be affordable enough that the Marlins might not have to non-tender him before the December 12th deadline, they could probably find a trade partner. Baseball America ranked him as Florida’s top prospect as recently as 2008, and he’d remain under team control through the 2014 season.
At the moment, the Marlins’ rotation figures to include Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, andAnibal Sanchez. They’re making a play for Buehrle and have kicked the tires on C.J. Wilson, and there’s a non-zero chance that Javier Vazquez will return. Brad Hand and the recently acquired Wade LeBlanc are in the mix as well. If they deem Volstad expendable, he shouldn’t have much trouble finding a new team for next season. It’s just a question of whether he gets to choose his next club, or if the Marlins will choose it for him.