LOS ANGELES -- Carlos Lee may not be just a rental, after all.
A free agent after the season, the 36-year-old intends to play in 2013. The veteran first baseman is represented by the Wasserman Media Group, which recently contacted the Marlins, indicating its client is open to returning. There is mutual interest, but negotiations haven't begun.
The Marlins obtained Lee from the Astros on July 4 for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen. At the time of the deal, the Marlins were hoping to make a strong bid at contending for a playoff spot. But four days after Lee was brought in, Giancarlo Stanton underwent surgery on his right knee, and he missed a month.
The Marlins slipped in the standings, and at the end of July, they pulled off four trades in an effort to retool for 2013.
Lee has been a steady middle-of-the-lineup presence, batting .272 with two homers and 30 RBIs in 45 games since the deal was made.
There is a chance Logan Morrison could switch to first base next year, but foremost he has to show he's healthy. Morrison is out for the season with a right knee inflammation.
LeBlanc back to 'pen as Turner stays in rotation
LOS ANGELES -- To make room in the rotation for a couple of rookies, the Marlins are sliding Wade LeBlanc back to the bullpen.
Manager Ozzie Guillen said on Friday that 21-year-old Jacob Turner will remain in the rotation, taking over LeBlanc's spot, which comes up next on Wednesday against the Nationals at Marlins Park.
Turner and fellow rookie Nathan Eovaldi project to be staples in the rotation for the next few years. Both are expected to have inside tracks to win spots in Spring Training.
"Right now, we're going to keep the kid [Turner] in the rotation, and we're going to put LeBlanc in the bullpen," Guillen said. "Then, maybe, depending how we pitch, go with a six-man rotation. It depends on how those guys are going. It depends if we're going to need them.
"We want to see those two kids throwing, and that's the reason we're doing it that way, because we want to see them."
Turner is one of the most highly touted prospects in the game. The right-hander was acquired from the Tigers on July 23 as part of the Omar Infante/Anibal Sanchez trade.
Turner made his Miami debut in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader at Arizona. He suffered the loss, giving up three runs in six innings.
The Marlins obtained Eovaldi from the Dodgers on July 25 as part of the Hanley Ramirez trade. The 22-year-old started on Friday against his former team.
LeBlanc, meanwhile, is a 28-year-old who has impressed since Spring Training. The lefty has been caught in the numbers game before. He didn't make the Opening Day roster, and when he joined the club on July 1, it was as a reliever.
LeBlanc made 11 appearances in relief, posting a 1.15 ERA in those outings. He replaced Carlos Zambrano in the rotation, and is 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts. LeBlanc suffered a hard-luck loss in Game 2 at Arizona on Wednesday, giving up three runs (two earned) in seven innings.
The Marlins could go with a six-man rotation, making LeBlanc a starter again, beginning on Aug. 31, when the team has a string of 13 straight games. However, that may not be the most practical option, because LeBlanc would again have to build up to throw multiple innings after he was asked to scale back.
Guillen added that the organization is high on LeBlanc, who is expected to be a frontrunner to make the 2013 roster.
"We've loved that kid since Spring Training," Guillen said. "Is he going to be on the team? Yes. Where? We've got to wait and see how that thing works out in Spring Training."
Ozzie, Marlins making final evaluations
LOS ANGELES -- With 36 games left, the Marlins are seeking to win as many games as possible down the stretch of a disappointing season.
They're looking to avoid a last-place finish for the second straight year. So there is incentive to perform. For many players, it is a critical final stretch in terms of whether they fit into Miami's plans for 2013.
Manager Ozzie Guillen says he doesn't need to see the final 36 games to determine who can play at a high level or not.
"I already know who can play and who cannot," Guillen said. "To me, I don't need to go to scout school to know who is good or not. ... I'm almost 30 years in the big leagues. I know who can play in the big leagues and who can't play in the big leagues or who is not ready to play in the big leagues. Or who had a bad year or a good year -- that's another thing."
The Marlins feel they have the pieces to build around for next year. They anticipate a rotation that will include Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Ricky Nolasco and possibly Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Turner.
Making dramatic turnarounds are common for all clubs. Guillen said he predicted the White Sox, his former club, had the makings of a strong season under new manager Robin Ventura.
"That happened last year with me," Guillen said. "I said, 'Hey, if you keep those guys, they just had a bad year for me. That's it. Even when I left, I said that. Look at them now: They're playing the way they should be playing. It's about talent.
"We've got to sit down, look at the talent and be realistic about the talent that we have."
Giancarlo Stanton, who is from Sherman Oaks, Calif., has purchased tickets for about 50 family members and friends for each of the three games this weekend at Dodger Stadium.
Former Marlins third-base coach, Jeff Cox, who was also on Guillen's staff with the White Sox, visited the team on Friday. Cox, who lives in the L.A. area, is not coaching in the big leagues. He was sporting long hair and a long white beard.