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Marlins planning to buy at the trade deadline

Seeking to snap a 17-year playoff drought, the Marlins have not dropped below the .500 mark all season.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals
Even with potential reinforcements coming off the injured list, the Marlins have plenty of soft spots in their ‘pen.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

If the regular season ended today, the Marlins would be headed to the MLB postseason. When the regular season actually ends on Sept. 27 (pandemic permitting), they want that to still be the case.

MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the 10-9 Fish are considering adding bullpen reinforcements prior to the trade deadline. He identifies the Royals as a potential partner.

This rumor comes on the heels of the division-rival Phillies striking a deal for Red Sox relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.

On Friday night, the Marlins bullpen combined for six strikeouts over four scoreless innings. However, the club had been on a week-long losing streak prior to that with seemingly every one of their relievers—even veteran closer Brandon Kintzler—either struggling or suffering an injury. So far in 2020, the Miami ‘pen ranks 29th in Major League Baseball with -1.2 fWAR and dead last with a 6.10 FIP. Moreover, Pat Venditte (right oblique strain) and Brian Moran (right knee patellar tendinitis) were transferred to the 45-day IL on Saturday, ruling them out for the rest of the regular season.

According to FanGraphs, the Marlins enter Saturday with 19.1% playoff odds while the Royals are at 13.7%. But that may misrepresent the reality considering that K.C. just lost indispensable starting catcher Salvador Pérez to the injured list. On the other hand, the Marlins just welcomed back Miguel Rojas, Jorge Alfaro and Richard Bleier from the IL and called up top prospects Sixto Sánchez and Jesús Sánchez. They would not have started the service time clock on them unless they sensed an opportunity to legitimately battle for an October berth.

The most obvious trade candidate in the Royals bullpen is 30-year-old right-hander Trevor Rosenthal. The pending free agent has converted six saves in 2020—closing more than half of the team’s total wins—and allowed only one run, averaging nearly 98 miles per hour with his fastball. He’s been an extraordinary find for K.C. after settling for a minor league deal.

Baseball Savant

Another possibility would be Greg Holland, who was untouchable at the end of games from 2011-2014, but has been extremely inconsistent since then. This season, Holland owns a 3.65 ERA and 4.15 FIP through 12 13 innings pitched. He’ll also hit the open market this winter.

As most Marlins fans recognize, 2020 is only the beginning of what could potentially be a lengthy window of contention. If there are relatively young, controllable relievers that the front office is smitten by—fireballer Josh Staumont, for example—they could be compelled to give up significant assets.

MLB teams have until Aug. 31 to make moves. Specific players must be added to their 60-man player pools in order to be dealt. (An exception to that is trading a “player to be named later,” as the Marlins did to acquire Richard Bleier from the Orioles.)

The Fish play a doubleheader against the Nationals beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET.