25 July 2010
The Florida Marlins started this week with a 9-8 walk-off win against Colorado on Monday and ended with a Wes Helms walk-off single in the 11th for a 5-4 win over the Braves. What was not mentioned there was the two other walk-off wins the Marlins had on Thursday and Friday to finish the week 5-2 and 7-3 since the All-Star break. Over that time the Marlins have not only been getting timely hitting but they have also been getting very good starting pitching (with the exception of Nate Robertson who was designated for assignment after a 10-0 loss to Colorado on Tuesday). The one negative for the Marlins this week has been the same negative that the Marlins have had the entire season, the bullpen. This week the Marlins bullpen blew 5 leads the Marlins had in the 7th inning or later, the worst performance being Saturday where a 5-2 Marlins lead became a 10-5 Marlins deficit.
The Florida Marlins are now back to .500 at 49-49 and are 8 games behind Atlanta in the East and 6 games behind San Francisco (who are currently playing Arizona) in the wildcard. While Marlins fans are happy with the winning and also idea of going to the playoffs still not out of the question, this has put the Marlins management in a very tough spot. With the non-waiver trade deadline coming on Saturday, no one really knows whether or not the Marlins are going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. The Marlins are about to take off on a sever game west coast trip to play four games in San Francisco and three games a in San Diego. If the Marlins get swept by the Ginats they will definently become sellers, but outside of that the Marlins could be anywhere from 2 games out of the wildcard to 9.5 games out depending on how many games the Marlins win and the other teams in the hunt do.
Teams have already contacted the Marlins about trying to trade for Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, Jorge Cantu, Wes Helms, Ricky Nolasco, and Leo Nunez. While the Marlins would most likely need to be blown away by an offer to give up Uggla, Nunez or Nolasco, the other could all be gotten if the Marlins feel as though they are no longer in contention, if for no other reason so that the Marlins would be able to promote Cameron Maybin and Logan Morrison. But if as long as there is playoff hope Marlins management maybe forced into becoming buyer by the fans, who would become extremely dissatisfied if a team seems to again try to pinch pennies rather then get the help needed to win. Marlins fans will be quick to remind team owner Jeffrey Lurie, who at the beginning of the year said that he expected the Marlins to be a playoff team, that the only reason why this team is not six, seven, eight, or nine games over .500 right now is because he refused to spend money on a bullpen this past off-season.
With the exceptions of Clay Hensley and Leo Nunez, the Marlins bullpen has been a mess, and has recycled the same bullpen guys from their farm system over and over again. Sure guys like Brian Sanches, Burke Badenhop and Jose Veras have all had good stretches, but they are not consistent enough to be considered reliable by anyone. Right now the Marlins have a lineup that can hit, a good playoff quality 1-2-3 starting pitchers in Johnson, Nolasco and Sanchez, but they will need to work on their bullpen if they want to make any kind of serious playoff push. Relievers Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg, Matt Capps, Octavio Dotel, and Kyle Farnsworth among others are all on the trading market and can be acquired for the right price.
The most likely scenario to happen maybe for the Marlins to trade away someone like Jorge Cantu and/or Wes Helms, then make a move for a left handed reliever, and then bring up Logan Morrison to either be on the bench, or he may play everyday at either 1st or 3rd with Gabby on the other infield corner. This way the Marlins will be able to do what they do best in selling off talent, but at the same time be able to tell fans ‘look we brought in someone for the bullpen’. While most fans will be able to see right through a move like this, it would at least be something from the Marlins ownership, who one of these days will need to spend some real money. No matter what happens however, one thing that we do know is that this Marlins teams is fighting strong and will do whatever they can to force managements hand.
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