The Miami Marlins are favoring a return next season by Opening Day starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez, whose season was cut short after only four starts by a tear in his right shoulder, reports Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, and the team will likely tender him an offer by the December 2nd deadline if his recovery from arthroscopic surgery has progressed to their satisfaction.
However, Jackson adds righty reliever Aaron Crow, who underwent Tommy John surgery before he ever got to pitch for the team this year, will probably be non-tendered.
The Marlins avoided arbitration with Alvarez last winter with a $4-million deal after the 25-year-old righty emerged as a pillar of the rotation in 2014, leading the team in wins (12), ERA (2.65) and ERA+ (141) over 187 2/3 innings and will likely be due a similar amount in his second year of eligibility next season. Since joining Miami prior to the 2013 season, Alvarez has a 17-17 record over 51 starts and 312 IP, throwing to a combined 3.23 ERA and 117 ERA+ while striking out 177, walking 67 and pitching a no-hitter. This year, he struggled to a 6.45 ERA over 22 1/3 innings sandwiched around two early trips to the disabled list before shoulder discomfort following a minor league rehab start and a subsequent exam revealed the tear.
The Marlins obtained the 28-year-old Crow in an off-season trade with the Royals that sent LHP Brian Flynn and minor league RHP Reid Redman to the Royals, but the former first-round pick was injured in spring training. A steady if unspectacular setup man in his first three seasons with K.C. (3.19 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a groundball rate consistently above 50%), his numbers slipped dramatically in 2014 to a 4.12 ERA, a 5.2 K/9 and 43.2% groundball rate -- all career worsts. Overall, his career line now carries a combined 3.43 ERA with a 8.0 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a 49.2% groundball rate over 233 2/3 career innings. His salary this season is $1.98 million.
Because Crow had never been injured before, Miami had hoped they'd scooped up a bargain simply in need of a change of scenery and some tweaking with two remaining years of team control, and before he got hurt in spring training he was pitching like they had, throwing to a 2.25 ERA over 7 appearances encompassing 8 innings in which he struck out 9 and held opposing batters to a .207 BA. Now, with a bullpen teeming with young relievers who have stepped up this year -- their pen currently sports the NL's 5th best ERA -- it sounds like the Marlins may prefer to cut their ties with Crow, who will be entering his third and final year of arbitration eligibility in 2016.