HomeMLB RumorsMarlins Option Max Meyer - MLB Trade Rumors

Marlins Option Max Meyer – MLB Trade Rumors

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The Marlins announced Monday that they’ve optioned right-hander Max Meyer to Triple-A Jacksonville. He’ll be the corresponding move for the previously reported activation of fellow righty Edward Cabrera, who’s been on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement. MLB.com’s Christina De Nicola first reported that Meyer would be optioned to open a roster spot for Cabrera.

It’s a surprising move, given the Marlins’ struggles and Meyer’s excellence through his first three turns. The former University of Minnesota standout, No. 3 overall draft pick and top prospect has been outstanding in his first big league action since returning from 2022’s Tommy John surgery. In 17 innings, Meyer touts a 2.12 ERA; he’s surrendered just four runs on 11 hits and three walks with 14 punchouts and a 48.9% ground-ball rate.

Heading into the season, Meyer wasn’t expected to break camp with a rotation spot. Spring injuries to Cabrera, Braxton Garrett and Eury Perez changed that calculus and put the 25-year-old Meyer back onto the rotation radar. Nothing he’s done this season takes away from his promising long-term outlook, but the Fish also plan to be mindful of his workload and limit his innings in his first year back from that UCL reconstruction procedure.

Be that as it may, the optics of the move aren’t great. The Marlins have only won three games this season, and Meyer has started two of them. He’s been both excellent and highly efficient, topping out at 91 pitches in his most recent start, which included six innings of one-run ball against a juggernaut Braves lineup. It’s easier to manage his innings at the minor league level, but given the overarching struggles of the Marlins’ big league roster, optioning one of their lone bright spots is tougher to justify.

It should be noted that it’s unlikely the decision to option Meyer was overly motivated by service time. He entered the year at 1.082 years of service, meaning he needed just 90 days on the active roster or big league injured list in order to reach two years of service and remain on track for free agency following the 2028 season. He’s picked up 17 days of service already, so unless the Marlins are planning to keep him in Jacksonville for as many as 95 more days this season, his free agent timeline will be unchanged. One would imagine he’ll rejoin the big league rotation sooner than later.

Miami certainly had other paths to consider when opening a spot for Cabrera’s return. Struggling top starter Jesus Luzardo was never going to be sent down, but reliever-turned-starter A.J. Puk has struggled mightily in his first three trips to the mound. Even if they understandably didn’t want to give up on that experiment yet, lefties Trevor Rogers and Ryan Weathers have both demonstrated worrying command issues.

A six-man rotation would also make some sense, creating an organic means of limiting not only Meyer’s workload but also those of Rogers and Puk — both of whom have innings concerns as well. Rogers pitched just 27 innings last season due to injury. Puk tossed just 59 1/3 innings last year while working as a reliever; his 66 2/3 innings in 2022 were his most since the 2017 season when he was still working as a full-time starter in the A’s minor league ranks.

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