Urena is part of a Marlins rotation that has provided positivity in south Florida amid another season of losing. His ERA is 3.09 in May with a 1.19 WHIP as his numbers recover from a challenging start – Urena gave up 19 earned runs in his first four starts, leaving him with a 9.22 ERA.
Away from Madison Bumgarner, the starting pitching market this summer is pretty thin. Urena isn’t going to transform a team’s fortunes, but with the way he’s pitching of late, he can bolster the rotation of a contender.
Here are four teams that could be in the mix for the 27-year-old right-hander…
The question with Washington is whether they should be trading for players at all. Right now, it’s more likely they are sellers than buyers, but the composition of their roster, and the Patrick Corbin contract, means they could look to add before the trade deadline.
Currently eight games back of the second wildcard spot, the Nationals need to get some wins under their belt before they make any acquisitions. The backend of the rotation, though, would be a priority with the struggling duo of Anibal Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson currently on the injured list.
With Corbin, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Washington have a front three as good as any in the Majors. If they are to turn their 2019 around, the four and five spots need to be giving them a chance to win games.
Urena is drastically outperforming Sanchez and Hellickson, and could give a much-needed boost on the non-ace days.
New York Mets
Another National League East trade partner, the Mets’ need rotation help. The starting staff have had a poor start to the year after so much promise.
Their FIPs are around 3.50, however, which suggests potential improvement.
Steven Matz, when healthy, has got decent results, earning a 3.63 ERA. The lefty has missed starts, however, and he’s given up more than his fair share of hard contact.
Brodie van Wagenen made win-now moves in the winter. With the Mets still in with a shout of a postseason spot, he needs to address this team’s weaknesses before the deadline if the offseason’s work is to make sense.
The Brewers are a bit of a leftfield shout here. Their rotation is used differently to the Nationals and Mets.
Each starter has a short leash, and they are very rarely allowed near to the 100-pitch mark.
The way the team is managed means the starters are less important. A deep relief corps is the key, allowing Craig Counsell to hook his starter early on – they average just five innings per start, one of the lowest marks in the league.
Brandon Woodruff and Zach Davies have started the year well. Gio Gonzalez has been good in his six starts. Chase Anderson took Freddy Peralta’s spot in the rotation. Jhoulys Chacin has been solid enough, keeping the team in games.
There’s no dire need like the Nationals and Mets have, but Milwaukee are more competitive than either of the East teams. Urena is an option for them, and they may well give Miami a call if one of their starters gets injured.
Colorado’s rotation was the star of their 2018 season that ended in the Division Series against the aforementioned Brewers.
Their rotation ranks as one of the worst in baseball this season. At -0.8, the Rockies’ starters are 23rd in Baseball Reference’s wins above average by position. Kyle Freeland, who finished fourth in Cy Young voting last year, has been dealing with a blister and is having a difficult time on the mound, putting him in the 12th percentile for xwOBA.
The offence has improved, but the starting pitching is holding Colorado back – they’re fourth, 10 games back in the National League West and four games off the second wildcard spot.
German Marquez has been excellent this season, behind that the rotation has been pretty ugly, with Jon Gray the second-best starter, holding a 4.46 FIP and 4.52 ERA to go with a fifth percentile hard hit rate.
Urena is a gamble for any of these teams, and front offices will want to see more of his recent form before they make a trade, but he’s got to be on Jeff Bridich’s mind.