On the surface, this would seem to be as inconsequential as a trade can be. The Marlins traded 31-year-old righthander Tom Koehler, a starting pitcher with a 7.92 ERA, for Osman Gutierrez, a 22-year-old righthander with a 7.85 ERA with low Class A Lansing.
But the Blue Jays are sitting on the periphery of the American League wild-card race (they came into Saturday three games back for the second wild-card spot even though they are four games under .500 and last in the AL East). And if Koehler can regain the form he’s shown before this year, he can provide back-of-the-rotation depth.
For the Marlins, it’s a deal that brings back a high-risk-but-high-reward arm for a pitcher who would be a non-tender candidate when the season ends.
BLUE JAYS ACQUIRE
Tom Koehler, RHP
Koehler came into this year as a very reliable back-of-the-rotation starter. The 18th-round pick out of Stony Brook in 2008 earned a spot in the Marlins rotation in 2013. Since then he’d proven durable with about league-average results. All of that fell apart this year as he missed time with a shoulder injury. He’s shown the same velocity as he did during his successful season, but he’s struggled with fastball command. Because of that, he’s proven much more hittable and eventually was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans. He’s pitched better there, giving some hope that he’s righted what’s been a disastrous season-his ERA is second-worst among all pitchers with 50 or more innings.
|New Orleans (AAA)||1||1||1.67||7||6||0||37.2||30||4||13||55||.213|
Osman Gutierrez, RHP
Gutierrez received the largest bonus out of Nicaragua in 2011, signing for $210,000. He’s been a slow-mover since, as he didn’t make it to the States until 2015 and didn’t reach full-season ball until this year. Gutierrez’s first taste of the Midwest League has not gone well. He’s been prone to the big inning-on three different occasions he’s failed to get out of the second inning. But when he puts it all together, he can be quite impressive.
Gutierrez struck out 10 and walked one in seven shutout innings in an outing at Bowling Green in early August, giving a peek at what he can do at his best. He has a 92-97 mph fastball and a power mid-80s slider. His changeup is still erratic, which helps explain why he has allowed a 1.000 OPS against lefthanded hitters this year. Gutierrez will be Rule 5 eligible if not added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, but considering his stat record, he’s not exactly a big candidate to get picked, even if he has a big fastball.