Marlins General Manager Kim Ng spoke to the media on Tuesday as the team endures their toughest stretch of the season. While no major news was broken, Ng did make some notable comments. Here’s a quick summary:
State of the Team
Ng did not shy away from the team’s recent struggles, which would’ve been hard to do considering they’ve lost nine of their last ten games. She says injuries have contributed, but recently the team has not been able to make up for the struggles in the bullpen.
“The bullpen has been one of, if not, the strongest components of the club,” said Ng, “so when they go through a rough patch, everybody feels it.”
Ng admitted that the injuries, especially to the starting pitching have really taken a toll. Recently pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. said the team had been looking for help outside the organization, and Ng confirmed that.
“We need more help, and we are constantly looking,” said Ng.
She did note that guys like Jordan Holloway and Nick Neidert are working their way back to helping the team. It was announced Tuesday that Holloway will make another rehab start on Thursday with Triple-A Jacksonville. Mattingly said the plan is for him to throw between 55 and 60 pitches. Neidert is scheduled to throw a bullpen this week.
Probably the biggest takeaway from Ng’s press conference was her talking about the offensive struggles. Ng said she never really saw the Marlins having a high scoring offense and instead viewed them as “pitching centric.” Ng noted that 70% of their games have been decided by three runs or less, so she would like to see the offense give more of a boost to help them win more games.
This caused a lot of reaction among Marlins fans, but to me it shows the Marlins are playing to their strength. Everybody knows the organization’s strength is starting pitching, and the Marlins set their roster up so that it could help win them ballgames. Whether Ng should have had a different outlook on the roster is a different subject, but at least she didn’t try and play it off as though the Marlins were hoping this offense would be among the best in the league. She also didn’t try and play it off as though they’ve been good, she was well aware of the struggles and took accountability for them.
Ng was asked whether the Marlins had held talks about an extension with Starling Marte’s representation. This will certainly be a hot topic all year as Marte has been far and away the Marlins best offensive player and he will be a free agent after the season.
“He’s a big part of what we do,” said Ng.
Despite that, Ng said there have been no contract extension talks with Marte and his representatives. It’s likely that Marte, who will be 33, will want to explore free agency for the first time in his career and try and get a big pay day.
I’ve made it no secret that I believe the Marlins have to do everything they can to bring back Marte, but an extension may be tough to do. The best option for the Marlins is probably to try and re-sign him in free agency. To me, they have to at least make a competitive offer to prove that they want what’s best for the team.
-Ng was in Pensacola last weekend to see the Marlins Double-A affiliate. She saw both RHP Max Meyer and LHP Jake Eder, who threw five perfect innings, pitch and was impressed with what they saw. Ng was asked whether either of those guys coming up to the Majors was a possibility at any point this year and said she would like both of them to see their first year in pro ball out in the Minor Leagues.
“We have not talked about them coming to the big leagues,” said Ng, “I would hope they stay in the Minor Leagues.”
-RHP Sixto Sánchez’s recent setback was not related to his setback at the end of Spring Training. Sanchez was cleared to resume throwing by doctors on Tuesday, and will do so this week.
-The Marlins have not decided how many rehab starts RHP Edward Cabrera will make with Low-A Jupiter. He’s scheduled for another on Friday, per the Marlins.
-Ng was not concerned about OF JJ Bleday’s early season struggles, saying guys go through struggles and his happened to come early on when things are more magnified. Bleday was named AA Player of the Week last week, and Ng saw him go deep in a game when she was visiting Pensacola.
“A hitter like JJ Bleday, I’m not really concerned about,” said Ng.