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Marlins links, 9/14/18: Buried in the cellar, 2019 pitching staff, Tommy Hutton tales

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Friday’s links attempt to distract you from the ugly brand of baseball being played down the stretch.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets - Game Two Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Relief corps? More like “relief corpses”

The Marlins were swept by the Mets in Thursday’s doubleheader despite very solid performances from rookie starters Sandy Alcántara and Jeff Brigham. Kyle Barraclough came an out away from closing Game 1, but served up back-to-back home runs. Jarlin García would be the goat in Game 2, allowing two inherited runners to score (though I question why he was put in that position in the first place).

If you want to reach for a few positives from the long day, September call-ups Tyler Kinley and Peter O’Brien might be viable major leaguers. Here is O’Brien’s first homer with the Fish:

The Marlins’ handling of save situations this season is approaching an all-time level of incompetence. The pitching staff collectively has a 6.46 ERA in the ninth inning, fourth-worst for any team in the expansion era (since 1961).

Just gettin’ honored

Jeff Passan unveiled the 2018 Yahoo Sports All-Minor League Team. The featured players are generally those who were the most productive this season, though Passan also considered their age relatively to level of competition.

Marlins prospects Austin Dean, Nick Neidert and Jordan Yamamoto all earned honorable mentions (Dean, of course, performed so well at Double-A/Triple-A that he’s since been promoted to the majors).

Passan didn’t focus as much on relief pitchers as he did the other positions. Otherwise, left-hander Dylan Lee and right-hander Tommy Eveld both had very strong cases for inclusion.

2019 rotation outlook

Miami Marlins v New York Mets - Game One Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In a piece that focuses mostly on Trevor Richards’ recent struggles, Andre Fernandez proceeds to name-drop all the other realistic candidates to break Marlins camp next spring with a starter’s gig:

  • Sandy Alcántara
  • Jeff Brigham
  • Wei-Yin Chen
  • Zac Gallen
  • Jarlin García
  • Elieser Hernandez
  • Pablo López
  • Nick Neidert
  • Dillon Peters
  • Caleb Smith
  • Dan Straily
  • José Ureña

Inevitably, trades and injuries will narrow down the list.

One more guy I’ll throw into the conversation is Merandy Gonzalez. Already on the 40-man roster and had some nice moments in his first taste of the majors.

As for the ‘pen...

Just a couple months ago, the Marlins seemed to have developed legitimate relief assets. Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider, specifically, had the combination of present performance and long-term team control to appeal to a variety of contenders. Trading them at midseason would’ve helped to accelerate this rebuilding process.

The decision to retain those right-handers was questionable in the moment and looks downright catastrophic in hindsight. Both have crashed down to Earth.

Mitch explains why their first-half success wasn’t sustainable, as Barraclough and Steckenrider were the beneficiaries of some good fortune.

Tommy Hutton joins Swings and Mishes

Having spent parts of six decades in and around pro baseball, Tommy Hutton always has fascinating stories to tell. He was a lot of fun on the Fish Bites pod earlier this summer, and brought more memories and insight on a new episode of Swings and Mishes.

Hutton reflects on how the Marlins and FOX Sports Florida reconnected with him after a few years apart. Plus, he identifies a handful of players who have impressed him the most in 2018.

He’ll be a regular presence on the FS Florida pregame/postgame coverage for these games down the stretch.