August 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Bryan Petersen (11) misses a diving catch in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
Carlos Lee's name had been in just about every trade rumor leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and it remains there, as he was the first of what should be many who the Marlins will place on waivers. Josh Johnson, who is still a Marlin, was very attractive to several clubs, but it seemed to many that the Marlins' asking price was too high. Prior to the deadline, the Marlins made a couple of deals that may not significantly improve the team now, but may in the near future.
On the most recent episode of "The Franchise", owner Jeffery Loria was quoted saying, "I don't give up, and I'm not a quitter, but I'm also a realist." Clearly, the team didn't meet expectations, evident by the fact that they were a season high nine games under .500 towards the end of July.
Miami's front office didn't immediately "give up." The Marlins acquired both Justin Ruggiano and Carlos Lee in separate deals to boost an offense that has consistently hit at a clip just over .200 with runners in scoring position. However, the Marlins failed to put together another May-like run.
Just days before the deadline, the Marlins had decided that Hanley Ramirez wasn't in their future plans. In a deal that sent Ramirez and lefty specialist Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Marlins acquired pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough. Eovaldi was impressive in his Marlins debut against San Diego, and McGough is a quality young arm.
In the trade with Detriot, Miami acquired pitchers Jacob Turner and Brian Flynn, and catcher Rob Brantly. Turner, who has not yet made his Marlins debut, is expected to be in the rotation at some point this season, and Flynn is another quality young arm. Acquiring Brantly was big for Miami, due to the fact that John Buck only has one more year on his contract, and Brett Hayes, while solid behind the plate, has not had a good offensive year.
Hours before the deadline, the Marlins made two deals that gave some clues about what the future will hold. Miami dealt Gaby Sanchez to Pittsburgh for Gorkys Hernandez, which means that if he is healthy, Logan Morrison will be the Marlins' first baseman in 2013. The Marlins also sent Edward Mujica to St.Louis for third baseman Zack Cox, a former first round pick that could be the third baseman of the future.
A bright future should result from the recently acquired talented players now in the Miami organization. Eovaldi, Turner, and even Wade LeBlanc could compliment Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle in the rotation for years to come. Brantly and Cox are both young players that can give the Marlins depth beyond Giancarlo Stantonn in the lineup. Even though the Marlins are not in contention right now, they should be, for many reason, in the future.
-In a 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Wednesday night, Wade LeBlanc was impressive in his first start of the season, giving up one run on five hits over 4 1/3 innings. Miami's offense collected big hits throughout a three run first inning, and Steve Cishek nailed down the save. Gorkys Hernandez struck out in his only at bat of the night.
-Mark Buehrle and Ricky Nolasco (who is now 5-10 in his career against Atlanta) both struggled against the Braves, and as a result Atlanta took the first two games of the four game series.
-Wade LeBlanc recently replaced Carlos Zambrano in the starting rotation, due to Zambrano's recent struggles. Over his last nine starts, Zambrano is 1-6 with a 7.62 ERA. Zambrano pitched an inning of relief on Wednesday night and gave up a run. "The first two months of the season he was outstanding," said manager Ozzie Guillen, who watched Zambrano go 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA through his first 11 starts. "The last game was weird. This guy was dealing, very nice game, and all of a sudden from one inning to another lost it. We're going to put him [in the bullpen] to see how that works. I'm going to try to give him a lot of chances.
-The Marlins recently placed outfielder Logan Morrison on the disabled list with a knee injury that may require season-ending surgery. Morrison has seen most of his playing time in left field, but beginning next season, he may be the Marlins' starting first baseman. "I've battled it the whole year, grinding it out, and obviously I wasn't doing anything to help the team win so I had to make a decision," Morrison said.
-Jacob Turner was atop the list of prospects traded prior to the trade deadline. Rob Brantly was ranked 12th, Zack Cox 17th, Gorkys Hernandez 29th, and Brian Flynn 40th. Baseball Prospectus' list ranked all 43 minor league prospects dealt before the deadline.
-Justin Ruggiano, who is hitting above .400 against left-handed pitchers this season, was not in the lineup on Thursday night because of back spasms. Ruggiano began feeling discomfort in his back after he was in center field in the eighth inning on Tuesday following a 1 hour, 53 minute rain delay. "I'm hoping it's not that bad," Ruggiano said. "It was really tight [Wednesday] and about the same [Thursday]. I'm not swinging, not running, nothing."
-Giancarlo Stanton, who had surgery on his injured knee on July 8th, could be back in the Marlins' lineup on Tuesday in the first game of a three game series in New York against the Mets. Stanton began his rehab assignment on Thursday and homered, and the organization is hopeful that he will only need to play in a few minor league games.
-Donnie Murphy, who was called up from AAA New Orleans after the Hanley Ramirez trade, is making the most of his second opportunity with Miami. In 33 games with New Orleans, Murphy batted .302 with 13 home runs and 25 RBIs. "I knew when I was going to go down, I was going to get some consistent playing time," Murphy said. "The No. 1 goal is getting confidence back, getting in the swing of things.
-Gorkys Hernandez, who the Marlins acquired from Houston for Gaby Sanchez, adds speed to the Marlins' outfield. At spacious Marlins Park, Hernandez should be able to use his speed to cover a lot of ground. "There is a lot of room in the outfield. That's what I like," said the 24-year-old Hernandez. "That's good for me. I like running for the ball. When I see the field, I see a lot of room. That's very comfortable for me."
-Marlins Park will host the inaugural Miami Soccer Challenge as part of a three year partnership with Global Challenge. Marlins Park will also host the second round of the World Baseball Classic. "Football unites people across the globe," said Global Football Challenge president Stuart Webb. "The Miami Soccer Challenge will bring together the world's leading clubs from Europe and South America that will be seen by packed stadiums and millions of TV viewers around the world."
-Bryan Petersen, who tweaked the AC joint in his right shoulder trying to make a diving catch, could be out for a bit longer than Ruggiano. The Braves scored a run on the dropped ball. "It was definitely a catchable ball," Petersen said. "It's just really hard to see here."
-Several Marlins who were traded before the deadline are not doing so well with their new clubs. Hanley Ramirez is hitting .226 in 31 at bats for the Dodgers, and Randy Choate has a 2.45 ERA since joining L.A. Omar Infante is hitting .192 since being traded to Detroit and Anibal Sanchez lost his first start, giving up five earned runs. Gaby Sanchez went hitless in two at bats on Wednesday with the Pirates, and Edward Mujica pitched a scoreless inning for the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Around The League
-Eddy Rodriguez, making his major league debut behind the plate for the San Diego Padres, hit a home run off of Johhny Cueto for his first major league hit. "Isn't that great?" said San Diego manager Bud Black. "First Major League at-bat, he hits a home run off Johnny Cueto. That's a day that he'll never forget, and I'm sure a lot of us won't forget. That's why you come to the ballpark, because you're going to see something possibly like that happen on any given day."
-Jayson Werth was recently activated from the disabled list, and started in center field on Thursday night against the Phillies. Henry Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back injury. Werth will likely be in the lineup for several of the four games the Marlins play in Washington D.C.
-The Pittsburgh Pirates, who have consistently played well, continue to take a "one game at a time" approach. Gaby Sanchez, a new member of the Pirates, will be platooning at first base. "Oh man," Neil Walker said, "there is so much baseball left. We're playing good baseball right now. No matter what happens this weekend, we know who we are and that we got a lot of home games left. Yeah, this is a very important series. But in the big picture, it's just another series.
-Texas called up prospect Mike Olt on Thursday, and optioned Brandon Snyder to Triple-A. Olt, who the Marlins requested in return if the Rangers wanted Josh Johnson, will spend time at first base while occasionally being the designated hitter.
At Fish Stripes
-It was a tough July for the Marlins. But there were some players that were consistently productive.