Phillies’ NL East rival out of the running early after more devastating injury news

The loss of Eury Pérez is just the latest piece of bad news for the Marlins' rotation.

Miami Marlins starting pitcher Eury Pérez is the latest injured starter for the Philadelphia Phillies' NL East rival
Miami Marlins starting pitcher Eury Pérez is the latest injured starter for the Philadelphia Phillies' NL East rival / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't like the Miami Marlins had a realistic shot at winning the NL East this season, even with their new stadium rules. But with the latest injury news out of South Beach, it looks like they might have a hard time even repeating as an NL Wild Card this season. The Philadelphia Phillies' division rivals have had a horrific spring regarding the health of their starting rotation.

The most recent pitcher to go down is the electric Eury Pérez. According to the Miami Herald's Jordan McPherson, the 20-year-old experienced elbow soreness after leaving his most recent outing on Wednesday, March 13, with a broken fingernail. A day later, the Marlins announced that the young phenom would begin evaluation and testing immediately, per's Christina De Nicola.

It took more than a week, but we finally have news. According to Craig Mish and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Pérez has been diagnosed with elbow inflammation and will begin the season on the 15-day IL. He'll be out for several weeks but won't need surgery at this time.

Last season, Pérez threw 91 1/3 innings for Miami, who had to manage his workload because he was so dominant in his initial stint in the majors. He finished the year with a 3.15 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 108 strikeouts.

The Marlins rotation looks like an infirmary this spring

As one of the most hyped young hurlers to debut last season, the budding superstar Pérez was slated to help prop up an already decimated Marlins rotation. They're still without 2022 NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcántara, who underwent Tommy John surgery last fall.

This spring, starters Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera both hit the shelf with shoulder problems. While neither appears to be out for an extended stretch, they won't be ready for Opening Day. Garrett, 26, threw almost 160 innings last year with a 3.66 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Cabrera, 25, tossed just under 100 innings with a 4.24 ERA and 118 strikeouts.

The Marlins' rotation was supposed to be one of the best, most promising starting staffs in the major leagues, but as FanGraphs' Michael Baumann puts it, "they just can't use it right now." Since Alcántara went down, it has been one piece of bad news after another.

NL East will be a gauntlet for even the best rotations

Competing in the NL East was already going to be a slog for the Marlins, with the juggernaut Atlanta Braves looking for their seventh division title in a row. The Phillies are coming into the season healthy and ready to continue where they left off last year. Plus, the New York Mets shouldn't be the pushovers they were a year ago.

Miami still has Jesús Luzardo at the top of the rotation, and while they seem to have found a possible gem in A.J. Puk, they'll limp into the season with one less stud arm with Pérez now out of the picture. Roster Resource has Trevor Rogers, Ryan Weathers, and Bryan Hoeing rounding out the Marlins' Opening Day rotation.

That's not exactly a who's who of starting pitchers, especially when they'll be compared against two of the top three projected rotations in baseball.

The Phillies project as the second-best starting staff (16.5 fWAR), while the Braves project as the third-best (16.3 fWAR), according to FanGraphs. The Miami starting five will also have to contend with the Braves' top-projected lineup (5.36 runs/game), while the Phillies are no slouch at 4.78 runs/game. For reference, the Mets are projected to score 4.66 runs/game.

While it looks like it will be a tough start for the Marlins rotation in 2024, watch out for 2025 — they could make some serious noise in the NL East.