Adam Conley doesn’t mind the changes the Miami Marlins made with both its rotation and its bullpen in the offseason. Less than a month before spring training begins in Jupiter, Florida, the Marlins’ third starter in the rotation believes the moves made like a game of chess will undoubtedly help the ball club succeed in the new year.
The loss of Jose Fernandez forced management to acquire more arms to stabilize a rotation that dealt with injuries and poor outings during the season. The lack of a solid fifth starter also forced management to sign Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke in free agency and trade for Dan Straily from Cincinnati.
"We knew that with the passing of Jose that there was going to be a hole in the rotation," Conley said via MLB.com. "We needed innings eaten up so the 'pen isn't overused. Obviously, having our starter going deeper into games allows you to use the great bullpen that we have appropriately. If we do that, we're going to win a lot of games."
Conley could benefit from the changes, as he will be asked to do more, pitch deeper into games and hold leads. Conley was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 32nd round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft out of Olympia High School in Olympia, Washington. He did not sign and attended Washington State University. He was then drafted by the Florida Marlins in the second round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft.
Conley made his professional debut for the Gulf Coast Marlins that year. He started the 2012 season with the Greensboro Grasshoppers and was promoted to the Jupiter Hammerheads during the season. He played the 2013 season with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns. He started 2014 in Triple-A for the New Orleans Zephyrs.
Conley made his Major League debut on June 10, 2015. He showed he could dominate hitters as he was pulled while pitching a no-hitter in April of last year against the Milwaukee Brewers on the road with two outs in the eighth inning. The bullpen would go on to blow the no-hitter and the shutout in the ninth inning.
"Overall, I think these were moves that were necessary, and moves I'm excited about," Conley said. "I can't wait to meet the new guys. I'm happy they're part of the Fish. I think we're going to win a lot of games and have a talented club."
Conley, Volquez, Wei-Yin Chen and Tom Koehler are believed to have secured rotation spots. Straily is also considered to be a front-runner, but the team has said Locke could earn his place in the rotation in Spring Training.