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FanPulse: Marlins fans want to build around ace Caleb Smith

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Rather than sell high on this season’s most pleasant surprise, fans believe KKKKKKKaleb can contribute to the next great Marlins team.

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. Marlins fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.

Caleb Smith is legit. Since being traded from the Yankees to the Marlins, he’s posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.57 FIP in their starting rotation with a 29.9% strikeout rate. Early on in 2019, KKKKKKKaleb has found a higher gear, piling up whiffs with consistency rarely seen by anyone in franchise history. On a roster with so many underachievers, the big lefty is seemingly Miami’s only All-Star candidate.

Here’s the thing: Caleb will be 28 years old at the upcoming July 31 trade deadline; based on what we know about MLB aging curves, he might never get better than he is at this moment. Available starters at the deadline figure to include Mike Minor, Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman...and not much else. The Marlins would have a hot commodity if they chose to put him on the trading block, getting several potential impact prospects in return.

Is it worth the risk and P.R. damage? More than 85% of you said “no” in our latest FanPulse survey:

Every night in the Marlins farm system, there is a talented pitching prospect delivering another impressive performance (both Braxton Garrett and Jorge Guzman did so on Thursday, for example). It seems inevitable that the front office will deal from its surplus of starters to obtain more bats.

But yeah, shopping Caleb—the only one of those arms with sustained major league success—seems like the wrong way to go.

Meanwhile, confidence in the overall direction of the Fish has slid to a season-low 58%:

Same applies to Don Mattingly in particular (39% approval). Having recently set the franchise record for career managerial losses and getting no results from pushing different buttons with his starting lineup, Donnie Baseball probably senses that the end is near.

The Marlins haven’t scored yet this week and enter Friday in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.

Finally, the national MLB FanPulse question: Are baseball games too long?

On average, 2019 Marlins games are taking three hours and one minute. That’s seventh-fastest in the majors and essentially the same as last season (3:02).

More polling and illustrations next week! Sign up here to give us a balanced representation of the Marlins fanbase.