To the typical diehard Marlin fan, you may think that the starting rotation is all taken care of.
The projected starting rotation in 2011 features Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad, and Alex Sanabia.
The back end of the rotation is a question mark because Sanabia could struggle and Volstad might be inconsistent, therefore calling for the need to skip a start at times.
Nolasco, Sanchez, and Johnson have all had injury-riddled pasts so it would be safe, at least on the surface, to have an insurance policy.
Recommendation: The Marlins acquired Nate Robertson from the Detroit Tigers right before Opening Day in the hopes of having a left handed veteran to even out the right-handed dominated starting rotation.
The experiment didn't work out but the Marlins can do better. Heck they missed out on signing Jon Garland for a cheap buck but he went to San Diego where he has been pitching pretty well.
So you're asking yourself what are the other options on the free agent market for the Marlins to pursue as an insurance policy?
If the Marlins wanted left handers, which they would more than likely covet, Jorge De La Rosa and Ted Lilly are two names who are free agents this winter.
I'll even throw in Jamie Moyer for good measure who has pitched flawlessly at Sun Life Stadium.
In 65 2/3 innings (10 starts), Moyer has a 8-2 record with a1.64 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and .204 opponent batting average.
Other cheap options can include Brandon Webb and Justin Duchscherer who can come in at around $4-5 million plus incentives if they perform well.
Webb hasn't pitched fully since 2008 making only a single start in 2009 before being shut down with a shoulder injury. Webb might be a hybrid, making stints between the rotation and the bullpen easing Webb back to a starter.
Justin Duchscherer missed the entire 2009 season with shoulder and back problems coupled with depression. He pitched five starts this season before falling to the injury bug again. Duchscherer had a 2-1 record with a 2.89 ERA with the Athletics this season.
If you wondering what more expensive options remain, former Marlins Carl Pavano and Brad Penny figure to get paid as a starter and not a reliever, perhaps $8 million and above.
No way the Marlins target Cliff Lee even though having him would give them a better rotation than Philadelphia. The Marlins can get back on the map and shock the baseball world if they were to sign him, considering his poor play with the Rangers, he may come down a bit in asking price.