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MLB trade rumors: Tigers scouting Miami Marlins starting pitchers

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Jose Fernandez returned to action for the Marlins on Thursday. Coincidence? Probably.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers have historically been very active at the trade deadline under president and general manager Dave Dombrowski, and this year looks to be no exception. Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Tigers have "scouted and done preliminary work" on the Miami Marlins' available starting pitchers. The Marlins have a 34-46 record and are 10 games back of the Washington Nationals in the NL East, and are already expected to be in sell mode over the next month.

Heading into today's game with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Tigers once-vaunted starting rotation had a 4.29 ERA, tied for ninth in the American League (it has since gone up). They also rank ninth with a 3.97 xFIP and are 10th with a 4.10 FIP. Their 17.9 percent strikeout rate is the fifth-lowest in the league, and while they are walking fewer batters than most teams, their strikeout-to-walk ratio is in the middle of the pack.

In other words, they're not very good. As a group, the Marlins have not been much better. They have a 4.16 ERA and 4.18 FIP, both of which rank ninth in the National League. Their strikeout rate, a paltry 16 percent, is second-to-last in the league, and they have a 2.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

There are some interesting pieces, though. Mat Latos, who was acquired by Miami from the Cincinnati Reds on the same day the Tigers traded for Alfredo Simon, has a 3.62 FIP and 2.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 68 1/3 innings. His 5.27 ERA is largely due to an awful outing in his first start of the year; since then, it is down to 4.39. Latos, like Simon and David Price, is a free agent at the end of the 2015 season.

The Marlins also acquired Dan Haren on that fateful December day, but after once threatening to retire if he was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers, he may not be a very attractive trade piece. Haren leads the Marlins staff with 99 innings pitched in 16 starts, and has a 3.45 ERA and 3.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He is also a free agent after the season ends.

If the Tigers are looking for cost-controlled talent, there are still plenty of options available. Henderson Alvarez is currently on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, but he is coming off an All-Star season in 2014. His 2.65 ERA in 187 innings didn't quite match up with his 3.58 FIP, but he did have a career-best 3.36 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Jarred Cosart is a former top-100 prospect who has struggled since arriving in Miami, but he is under team control through the 2019 season. Rookies Justin Nicolino and Jose Urena probably wouldn't come cheap, but they are attractive options as well.

One name that likely will not come up on the radar is Jose Fernandez. Sidelined for over a year due to Tommy John surgery, Fernandez made his 2015 debut on Thursday. The 2013 National League Rookie of the Year allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out six.