8/6/2013 6:42 P.M. ET
Stanton not making excuses for recent woes
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- With clarity and conviction on Tuesday afternoon, Giancarlo Stanton assessed his frustrating season.
You don't need to remind the Marlins' slugger that he is 1-for-20 over his last six games, and batting just .245 with 13 homers and 34 RBIs on the season.
The 23-year-old is not making excuses or offering any alibis.
"I haven't shown up to play, all season," Stanton told MLB.com. "And that's the most frustrating thing in the world. I've probably had two 15 at-bat stints where I've played OK, and that's it -- all season. All [darn] season."
Don't misinterpret Stanton's candor for him saying he hasn't cared or properly prepared.
"Read it exactly how it is. I haven't shown up to play," the slugger said. "Did I prepare less? No. Did I care less? No. It just hasn't been there. As the person that I am, and how prepared as I am, that's unacceptable."
The Marlins may have the worst record in the National League, and much has been made about the overhaul of the roster from a year ago to now.
None of those distractions has hindered Stanton's desire to succeed. Neither has trade speculation weighed on him.
And while there have been numerous reports that teams were ready to make "substantial offers" for Stanton, the bottom line is before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Marlins told other clubs that the slugger was unavailable. No firm offers were actually discussed.
As an organization, the Marlins are planning to approach Stanton after the season about a multi-year contract. Whether he is willing to listen or accept still has yet to be determined. He may opt to go year to year in arbitration and wait for free agency.
Stanton is arbitration-eligible in 2014, and he would qualify for free agency after the 2016 season.
The Marlins are hoping to build around the slugger for the next couple of seasons.
Clearly, the club is counting on Stanton providing big production in the middle of their lineup.
"It seems like he's had a tough time getting it going," manager Mike Redmond said. "He seems to be able to sustain his at-bats for a few games, but he hasn't had that long stretch where we feel like he's locked in. It looks to me like he's a little out of whack and just missing some balls."
In his fourth big league season, Stanton has already established the reputation of being one of the premiere power hitters in the game. He has 106 home runs in 441 games.
"I've said this all year, he's such a big part of our lineup," Redmond said. "We need him in the middle of that order. Hopefully, he will not only get some big hits [Tuesday], but throughout this whole road trip. We're going to need him."
The Marlins have 52 games remaining, and the solution to Stanton's slump is simple.
"Work, work and work," Stanton said. "That's why this game will smack you in the face sometimes."
Power arms bringing the heat in Marlins' rotation
PITTSBURGH -- Matching power with power is the fastest way the Marlins anticipate getting back into contention.
Miami's strongest area is power arms in their rotation.
Jose Fernandez and Nathan Eovaldi, specifically, boast big-time power fastballs.
While Fernandez, who turned 21 last week, has gained more notoriety, Eovaldi actually right now boosts the highest average fastball velocity of any starting pitcher in the Major Leagues.
According to the FanGraphs web site, Eovaldi's average fastball is 96.2 mph, which is a few ticks ahead of Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole, who ranks second at 95.9 mph.
With his fastball being such an effective pitch, Eovaldi is throwing it 71.4 percent of the time, FanGraphs says.
"I think to win, you've got to have some power arms," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I really believe in that."
As a player, Redmond was part of the Marlins' 2003 World Series title team, which featured a number of hard-throwers, including Josh Beckett, Brad Penny and A.J. Burnett, who missed most of that season due to injury. But in '03, Dontrelle Willis was a rookie left-hander who at the time was throwing his fastball in the 93-95 mph range.
When Redmond was with the Twins, his teams went to the playoffs, but had trouble advancing.
"The years I was with the Twins, we didn't have power arms," Redmond said. "We had more finesse pitchers, guys who threw 89-90-91, and they logged the 200 innings a year. They were good. But we never had enough to beat the Yankees or the Red Sox [in the playoffs]."
A rookie sensation, Fernandez's fastball averages 94.8 mph, and Tom Koehler is sitting at 93 mph.
Henderson Alvarez has touched 98 mph this year, but his fastball averages 92.5 mph, and Jacob Turner is at 91.8 mph.
"I think to match up against the good teams, you've got to have power," Redmond said. "We did it in 2003 with Beckett, Penny, all those guys. We had power. So when we went in against good teams, we could out-pitch 'em.
"I think that's important. We definitely have those guys, and those pieces. Now, we've got to let them go, and let them learn. There are going to be bumps in the road. You never know from year to year. It's an adjustment. Eventually the league is going to adjust to Fernandez and he's going to have to adjust. The same with Eovaldi, and all those guys."
Solano looks to establish himself as big league regular
PITTSBURGH -- On a youthful Marlins squad, Donovan Solano does have experience on how to finish a big league season.
As a rookie in 2012, the second baseman picked up the pace after the All-Star break, batting .292 in the final couple of months.
The 25-year-old has had his ups and downs this year. He's batting .254 on the year with two homers and 16 RBIs. In his last 12 games, however, he has 10 RBIs.
"I don't think about this being the last part of the season," Solano said. "You need to think about, 'Keep going, and work hard.' The only thing you can think about the season is finish strong.
"You never know what is going on tomorrow. You have to put 100 percent and do the best you can in the game, and let it go. Whatever happens, happens. That's all you can do."
At stake for Solano is establishing himself as a big league regular, instead of being regarded as a utility player.
As the Marlins plan for the rest of the season and for 2014, they are tentatively considering Solano at second and Derek Dietrich (now at Double-A Jacksonville) playing third base. Or Dietrich could wind up at second and Solano could move to third.
Those are a couple of scenarios the team will explore for the future.
For now, Solano understands the club is looking to win as many games as possible.
"We are trying to do the best we can, and look for a better situation for next year," he said.