Marlins not anticipating major moves before Deadline
Club confident with new direction after big turnaround followed early season troubles
MIAMI -- The Marlins may have a reputation for wheeling and dealing, but despite being in last place, the organization is perfectly content staying the course.
So with Wednesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching, the club isn't anticipating making any major moves. Yes, something could simmer and come to fruition, but it is not likely to include any core players.
The casual fan may look at the 40-63 record and conclude major changes are needed. But the Marlins have seen a dramatic turnaround since opening 14-41 in April and May.
"We're really not that far away, and that's a good sign," manager Mike Redmond said.
The way the Marlins are looking at the Trade Deadline is that they've already made their big trade for the month.
On July 6, they dealt Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers for three pitching prospects.
Dealing Nolasco was anticipated because the 30-year-old is eligible for free agency after the season, and he didn't factor into the club's plans for 2014.
Other clubs clearly are contacting the Marlins, but the squad isn't in its traditional selling mode.
"We have a lot of good young players that people are interested in, but we're interested in them also," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said the night Nolasco was dealt. "We kind of see now what we can become, and it is exciting. The phones will be open. We're by no means taking the rest of the month off. There could be more deals."
The Marlins find themselves in an entirely different situation compared to 2012, when in late July they made three significant trades. They moved Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers for a deal that included Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly and prospect Brian Flynn. A couple of days later, Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate were sent to the Dodgers in a package that included Nathan Eovaldi.
And on July 31 of last season, Edward Mujica was traded to the Cardinals for infield prospect Zack Cox, and Gaby Sanchez was sent to the Pirates for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, who no longer is in the Miami organization.
This July, teams have inquired about some of Miami's relievers.
Pretty much every contending team in need of bullpen help has already been told closer Steve Cishek and lefty Mike Dunn are not available. Several other clubs have inquired about veteran Chad Qualls, a free agent at the end of the season.
Chances are, even Qualls will not be dealt.
The Marlins are leaning towards retaining the right-hander, barring a team overpaying for the right-hander, who has done a solid job in a setup role.
Why not deal Qualls? It's pretty simple. The Marlins are looking to win as many games as possible in the second half. If the team was in a downward spiral right now, their thinking likely would be different.
With young pitchers like Jose Fernandez, Eovaldi, Turner and Henderson Alvarez all throwing well, the organization doesn't want to see winnable games slip away due to inexperienced relievers.
So if the return for Qualls isn't something worth the Marlins' while, then they are perfectly satisfied with keeping the veteran through the end of the season.
The biggest name on the Marlins repeatedly mentioned in trade speculation is Giancarlo Stanton. Each day brings another report with the 23-year-old slugger's name attached.
It's been reported that the Rangers and Pirates are calling regularly, and they repeatedly are told the same thing -- no.
The bottom line with Stanton is he isn't available, not now and not in the offseason.
Stanton will qualify for arbitration for the first time in 2014, and his salary will jump into the neighborhood of $6.5 million or perhaps another half million more.
Whatever the exact figure will be is affordable for the Marlins.
Besides, the club already has said publicly that it plans on approaching Stanton about a significant multi-year offer. Even if he doesn't accept it, the Marlins are willing to retain the slugger through at least the start of 2014.
Quite simply, the Marlins need Stanton's power.
The Marlins aren't planning on being active in the free agent market for a power hitter, so retaining Stanton is a high priority.
Candidates who could be moved are reliever Ryan Webb and outfielder Justin Ruggiano. But that isn't automatic either of them will be dealt.
The Marlins are building around pitching. It's been the strength of the team this season.
"I'm getting a lot of compliments," Redmond said. "Everybody is saying, 'Hey, these guys aren't that far away.'"