Jeffrey Loria sounded very much like a politician when he spoke briefly with reporters following the team photo shoot this afternoon, offering little in the way of specifics but promising to "rectify" problems and "fix" his underachieving team.
How he intends to do that remains a mystery.
"Let me tell you something," Loria said when asked if he thought the last-place team could contend next season. "I thought this team was a contender this year. So we have to figure out what went wrong and how to go about rectifying it. And we will."
Loria said he will meet with his front office staff following the season to see what action to take.
"Right now, I'm just looking, doing what everybody else is doing, looking," Loria said. "And then we'll come to some conclusions -- or not. I've asked our guys to look, come back with some recommendations, and we'll go from there. You really can't make those evaluations until the season is over."
Asked specifically if president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest's job is safe, Loria replied: "That's not a fair question. That's not a fair question about anybody's job."
One thing to keep in mind: Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill have three seasons remaining on their original eight-year contracts.
Asked what, in his mind, is most to blame for the Marlins' underperformance, Loria replied: "I have not assessed blame, or looking at it that way. I think there's been a lot of things that went into whatever didn't work, and I want to hear what our people say. I know what I think, but I want to hear what everybody else has to say."
Loria said he feels that talent exists on the club.
"I have in mind some thoughts, but we have some very good pieces here, very good elements, very good parts on this team," he said. "We had some guys who performed very well. Others haven't, so we'll have to look at it. Maybe there were aberrations. We have to be very careful. You don't want to say, 'Well, this guy doesn't work,' and then he goes elsewhere and he does work.
"We need to meet, talk, put it on all on the table....We'll come to some intelligent conclusions. We always do. But we will fix it."
According to manager Ozzie Guillen, the Marlins aren't planning to make any minor-league call-ups until Sunday. The organization wants to see whether Double A Jacksonville -- presently one game behind in the second-half Southern League standings -- reaches the playoffs.
That's an indication the Marlins could be eying someone like third baseman Zack Cox, who was obtained from the Cardinals in the Edward Mujica trade last month, or closer A.J. Ramos, who is 3-2 with a 1.23 ERA and 21 saves. Ramos, however, is not on the 40-man roster.
The Marlins will also be considering the usual suspects from Triple A New Orleans, such as outfielder Chris Coghlan and catcher Brett Hayes. But, Guillen said the Marlins will probably call up no more than three or four players total for the final month.
Carlos Zambrano, who has been relegated to the bullpen, said his first preference next season would be to return to the Marlins, but only as a starting pitcher. Given his performance this season, and the influx of new arms, that scenario appears very doubtful.
Look for Zambrano, who is expected to become a free agent after the season, to go elsewhere in hopes of landing in some team's rotation. Guillen said he thinks that Zambrano, who is only 31 but has already piled up close to 2,000 innings, still has value as a starter.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Guillen said. "His arm is great. But, I don't care who you are or what you do, if you cannot throw strikes, you're going to be in the bullpen. I think Carlos is outstanding. I think he has had maybe mechanic problems. Can he pitch and start in the big leagues? Yes, with any team. But to start with another team -- or with us -- he's got to correct that problem, and that's a big problem."
Marlins: 1. Bryan Petersen, lf; 2. Justin Ruggiano, cf; 3. Jose Reyes, ss; 4. Carlos Lee, 1b; 5. Giancarlo Stanton, rf; 6. Greg Dobbs, 3b; 7. Donovan Solano, 2b; 8. Rob Brantly, c; 9. Nathan Eovaldi, p.
Mets: 1. Ruben Tejada, ss; 2. Daniel Murphy, 2b; 3. David Wright, 3b; 4. Ike Davis, 1b; 5. Lucas Duda, lf; 6. Mike Baxter, rf; 7. Andres Torres, cf; 8. Josh Thole, c; 9. R.A. Dickey, p.
Umpires: HP -- Scott Barry; 1B -- Jerry Meals; 2B -- Gary Darling; 3B -- Paul Emmel.