Taking three out of four games against the Atlanta Braves and beating the Houston Astros has the Miami Marlins feeling good on Saturday morning. In fact, the team is feeling so good at this point, they are not considering themselves buyers at the July 31st trade deadline.
The Marlins are still searching for a starting pitcher, preferably a veteran starter that could “energize the clubhouse,” according to Marlins.com’s Joe Frisaro. The Marlins are still holding out hope that both Brad Hand and Jacob Turner can respond to second chances in the starting rotation before fully engaging in conversations for a veteran to step in.
Hand has delivered back-to-back strong starts, going 7 innings in each start. Over his previous two outings, Hand’s line is as follows: 14 1/3 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO. While those numbers are promising, Hand still has a lot to prove over the rest of the season to the Marlins front office about his future as a starter.
On the other hand (see what I did there), Jacob Turner will make his second start back in the rotation on Sunday, in the series finale against the Astros. Turner lasted just 5 innings (presumably to build back up his pitch count) against the Braves on Tuesday. He struck out 4, walked 2, and allowed 2 earned runs on 4 hits. Another strong outing like that would go long ways in proving his worth to the Marlins.
Both Hand and Turner are out of minor league options.
The Marlins are also shopping for a second baseman, and according to Frisaro, it doesn’t necessarily need to be one that is in the majors now:
"Pitching aside, the Marlins also have made finding a regular second baseman a high priority. Ideally, they’d like a speedy middle infielder to hit at the top of the order, either first or second.The candidate doesn’t necessarily have to be big league proven. Someone at Double-A or above and is considered big league ready would fit the profile."
While no candidates pop to mind, it’s interesting to note that the Marlins still don’t understand that you need a guy to lead off that can get on base, not necessarily be a speedster. The Marlins actually have a player that has the combination of both playing left field currently, in Christian Yelich. On the season, Yelich has a .354 OBP and is 12/15 in the stolen base category.
The Marlins rather need a reliable second baseman that can hit his position and field well. They don’t need to limit their options to a “traditional” lead-off guy for second base.
For fans that are hoping that the Marlins have made Giancarlo Stanton available, sorry. The Marlins are still telling interested teams that he’s not available, according to Frisaro:
"Five days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Giancarlo Stanton remains not available. This is no big revelation to those around the Marlins, but it remains the most asked question to those on the outside.Occasionally, the Marlins will field a call from a club hoping to hear otherwise. The answer is always an emphatic — not available."
This news of course is nothing new. The Marlins have already made it known they want to make Stanton a long-term extension offer in the season and hope he accepts it.
If the Marlins can stay hot and make a late playoff push, the slim chances of keeping Stanton go up a bit.