Giancarlo Stanton is leaving the Miami Marlins after a tumultuous tenure, but that may not be the only big change coming to the team.
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The Marlins are reportedly planning to shift 41-year-old right-hander Jose Urena to the bullpen. The move means Urena will be moving from his sixth start of the season, and ninth of his career, to a reliever. With Stanton looking to become the second Marlins player in two years to seek a trade, the club is also expected to make a move to trade its highly touted young catcher Realmuto.
Rumors of Urena’s destination have swirled for months. The New York Mets – possibly with Washington outfielder Bryce Harper in mind – were at one point considered the favorites. But general manager Mike Hill said the Cuban lefty is the right choice.
“We feel like he has the stuff to help us win games,” Hill said at Marlins Park before the team hosted the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. “It’s not like he hasn’t pitched in the big leagues. We’ve seen him grow up – it’s something that we are embracing and excited about. We see him making himself a better pitcher, and we feel like he’s a valuable asset for our team.”
Hill is hopeful that Urena can help the Marlins to their first winning season since 2012. The team has traded three of its best players – Stanton, Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich – and promoted a handful of young players in their absence.
Urena did not record an out Thursday, allowing three runs (two earned) and three hits in 1 1/3 innings. The team cut his scheduled start in half in the hopes it would give Urena time to prepare for his next start.
Urena, who would finish the season on a six-start winning streak, is 9-9 with a 4.15 ERA. But he did allow one hit and three walks Thursday in his final start of the regular season, recording a save with a scoreless ninth.