Plenty of teams called the Marlins to ask about Giancarlo Stanton in the days and weeks leading up to Wednesday's trade deadline, some more than once. And every time, the response was the same: "We're not listening to any offers," according to a source with knowledge of the Marlins' trade discussions.
Because teams salivating over Stanton were shot down quickly -- the Pittsburgh Pirates being just one example, among many -- the Marlins never listened to a single offer for the biggest name on the team, and one of the hottest trade targets on the market.
"No player names were ever exchanged (for Stanton)," the source said.
After dealing Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers on July 6, the Marlins made no more deals before the 4 p.m. deadline on Wednesday.
Not only didn't the Marlins make any deals before today's 4 p.m. deadline, they "never really got the sense that anything was (ever) close," according to Larry Beinfest, Marlins president of baseball operations.
"We made a bunch of deals in the last year," Beinfest said. "Today wasn't our day."
The Marlins decided to stick with the cast of logical trade suspects -- Chad Qualls, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Webb, Juan Pierre, Justin Ruggiano -- rather than trade them off for what would have been a very negligible return. The Marlins feel they were better off keeping those players in an attempt to win as many games as possible with a roster largely designed around younger, developing players.
"Part of the development for young players is winning, learning how to win, and knowing what it feels like to win," Beinfest said. "It was important for us to try to win here for the last 55 games. If you look at some of the would-be free agents, or guys that are maturing in terms of service time, if we didn't think they were important for us to be here and were not productive, obviously we'd make a move. But I think some of our more experienced players are filling vital roles here. And we looked at it in total and said 'Okay, what is their contribution to the team, both in the clubhouse and on the field?.' We decided, based on what we did today -- which was nothing -- that some of the players here that have more experience are important to stay."
The bullpen, in particular, was an area the Marlins didn't want to touch because the front office felt a need to provide their young starting staff with solid relief support that the current group has been providing.
Beinfest acknowledged that "we threw something out late" in terms of a trade, but "we got a response after the deadline that it wasn't goig to happen anyway."
The Marlins were rumored to be offering Placido Polanco to the Yankees, who are in search of a third baseman. But nothing came of it.
The Pittsburgh Pirates made a "significant offer" for Giancarlo Stanton, but the Marlins didn't bite, according to a Pittsburgh newspaper. But a source said that, while the Marlins have received many offers for Stanton, they did not receive a single one from the Pirates.
As one would expect, Qualls became the brunt of some significant ribbing from his teammates and friends about the league following last night's fist pump and stumble episode. Teammates dressed up a mannequin like a sniper -- with a bat used in place of an actual rifle -- and stationed it in the second deck, aiming to the point on the field where Qualls took his fall (click on photos to enlarge). Qualls' jersey was placed inside crime tape where he fell.
"Four or five pitches before that, I kind of rolled my ankle a little bit, and I was 'Oh, okay, I'll be all right.' And then, once I got the strikeout, I was pretty excited. I play this game with a lot of passion. So I probably went for too bit of a fist pump there, and then my ankle fully rolled. At 245 pounds, you can't really stand up. So I just tucked and rolled and popped up, and in my head pretended nothing happened. But by the time I got to the dugout, I was like, 'Man, that just really happened.'"
Qualls said he received at least 50 text messages last night from ex-teammates, friends and family.
"I think I've seen it like a thousand times."
The pranks didn't end with the crime scene layout. When the Marlins came out to the field to stretch before batting practice earlier today, teammates had arranged to have the Marlins' in-house entertainment crew create a video/music montage on the videotron of Qualls' fist pump and fall, accompanied by the Blue Danube Waltz and Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'"
In case you haven't seen the video of Qualls' blooper reel special, here it is:
Jose Fernandez turned 21 today. And just how did he intend to celebrate?
"I'm going to go to dinner with my mom," Fernandez said.
"No, not really," he said. "I had a little champagne last night with my mom."
Fernandez said he accomplished his baseball goal of reaching the majors before the age of 21.
"Now I've got to set another goal," he said.
Double A Jacksonville manager Andy Barkett weighed in on the Tino Martinez/Derek Dietrich fallout when he talked about the incident to the Florida Times-Union in this story by Jeff Elliott.
The sale of LHP Duane Below, who made two relief appearances this season for the Marlins (0-1, 10.13), to the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization is pending a physical.
Ed Lucas is starting at shortstop tonight in place of Adeiny Hechavarria, whom manager Mike Redmond is giving a breather. Lucas' first MLB start for the Marlins was at shortstop on May 31. This marks his first start there since.
Marlins: 1. Christian Yelich, lf; 2. Placido Polanco, 3b; 3. Giancarlo Stanton, rf; 4. Logan Morrison, 1b; 5. Ed Lucas, ss; 6. Donovan Solano 2b; 7. Jake Marisnick cf; 8. Rob Brantly c; 9. Henderson Alvarez rhp.
Never mind Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins are not particularly interested in dealing ANY player -- from reliever Chad Qualls to pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs -- before Wednesday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, apparently.
"They're telling us they want to stand pat," said one major league scout. "And we've asked on everyone (including Stanton and Qualls)."
Unless they're blown away by an offer they can't refuse, in other words, the Marlins will likely be sitting chilly on Wednesday, preferring instead to win as many games as possible before now and the end of the season with the players they have now.
The Marlins made one major trade earlier in the month when they sent Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers for a package of minor-league relievers. But that may be the extent of their dealing, at least for the time being. They could always try to move a player in August.
Tino Martinez snapped and threw tantrums when Marlins players didn't pick up baseballs.
That's the gist of a story [read here] posted this morning by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports in which Martinez gives his version of events that led to Sunday's resignation. Martinez said he became angry when Marlins players Justin Ruggiano, Chris Valaika and Derek Dietrich didn't pick up baseballs in the batting cage -- a common baseball courtesy -- when the former hitting coach asked them to.
"True," a source said of Martinez's version of events. "And it makes him sound crazy."
As he did in his Sunday post-resignation press conference, Martinez acknowledged he directed profanity-laced anger toward players and grabbed Dietrich by the jersey. He also added a new detail to the Dietrich incident: "I probably pushed him backwards."
"Do you realize I'm basically out of baseball basically because a couple of players didn't pick up balls in the cage when I asked them to?" Martinez told Rosenthal.
Well, Martinez's anger issues didn't stem solely from players not picking up baseballs. Martinez confirmed a South Florida Sun-Sentinel story in which Martinez challenged injured first baseman Casey Kotchman to a fight when he questioned the player about the injury ("That's probably the one I regret," Martinez said in the Fox Sports story. "I shouldn't have done that. I felt bad about doing that."). Martinez also acknowledged a run-in with Matt Downs in spring training that had nothing to do with not picking up baseballs. Downs was taking advice from another hitting coach, Greg Norton. That's what caused Martinez to erupt that particular time.
And Ruggiano disputed Martinez's contention that he refused to pick up baseballs.
“Tino and I had an incident in the batting cage on Opening Day that had nothing to do with picking up baseballs,” Ruggiano told The Herald after reading the Rosenthal story. “I’ve never had an issue picking up baseballs -- or picking up (helping) guys who need to run off and do other things. After that incident, we had no other problems.”
It's unimaginable to think that the Marlins are the only team in the majors whose players don't like picking up baseballs -- if, in fact, that's the case -- or that Marlins players have lousy etiquette because they received poor instruction. Ruggiano, Valaika and Dietrich are all relative newcomers to the organization, as are Kotchman and Downs. They received most of their baseball training elsewhere.
Nor, probably, is Tino Martinez the first major league hitting coach driven to anger and frustration by players not following orders or heeding advice, as he says.
He's just the first one that we know about who lost his job because of it.
Jack McKeon cursed out players with regularity, often in full view of fans. Joe Girardi grabbed pitcher Scott Olsen by his jersey once and pinned him against the dugout wall during a game.
Neither former Marlins manager lost his job for those actions.
But Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned under pressure Sunday after it was revealed publicly he grabbed rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich in an angry confrontation back in early May.
“The culture has definitely changed,” said former major leaguer Jeff Conine. “It’s just a different era now.”
Martinez “crossed the line” by making contact with Dietrich, according to Marlins players and coaches. While some players complained that Martinez had a troubling anger issue that was unpredictable -- and Martinez acknowledged in the aftermath that he was probably guilty of “overreacting” with players at times -- it was grabbing Dietrich by the jersey that landed him in serious trouble.
“I don’t know if Jack ever crossed that line,” said Marlins manager Mike Redmond, who played for the feisty McKeon on the 2003 World Series team. “I think it’s one thing to scream at a guy and get in his face, but to touch a guy is....I would say that’s probably fair to say that that’s the line.”
Veteran infielder Greg Dobbs said he has had coaches and managers “get in my dish plenty of times” over the course of his baseball career.
“That’s part of it,” Dobbs said “That’s part of the game.”
But Dobbs said Dietrich clearly felt that Martinez went too far by grabbing him.
“He (Dietrich) felt that personally crossed his line, his boundary,” Dobbs said. “He has that right. Obviously (the team agreed with Dietrich) because they accepted his resignation.
“It’s a tough deal. I feel bad for Tino in a sense because he had this great opportunity here. I had nothing but great conversations and great interactions with him. But, in the same breath, I think he would tell you, ‘I’m an adult and I should have acted better.’ And I’m sure he’s disappointed in his actions, as I am -- as is everybody else here.”
After spending his entire baseball career as a player and coach in the minors, 59-year-old John Pierson finally reached the majors on Monday -- as the Marlins’ interim hitting coach.
“Totally excited and, honestly, a little overwhelmed right now,” said Pierson, who had been serving as the Marlins’ minor league field coordinator.
Pierson said his “passion has always been hitting” and he intends to keep things simple when working with the Marlins’ hitters.
“I’m not presumptuous to come in here and start fiddling around,” Pierson said. “What I don’t want to do, is I want to be careful and not give them too much. I’m a big believer in keeping things simple, because I don’t want them thinking too much. I want them to go out competing.”
Kevin Slowey may not return to the mound this season.
Slowey was diagnosed Monday with a strained right flexor that will require four to six weeks of rest.
“The only timeline I definitively know is the next four weeks is going to be lost to recovery,” Slowey said.
-- Andrew Heaney, the Marlins’ first-round draft pick in 2012, was promoted Monday and is down to make his first start for Double A Jacksonville on Thursday. Heaney did not give up a run over his final 27 innings at Single A Jupiter.
-- Starting pitcher Jose Fernandez and closer Steve Cishek were named co-winners of National League Player of the Week on Monday.
Kevin Slowey is headed to the disabled list after leaving Saturday's game with discomfort in his right forearm, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.
"He was loosening up down there and his forearm kind of tightened up on him and he wasn't able to go," Redmond said. "Him being our long guy we had to make a move."
Slowey, who came out to warm up in the third when starter Tom Koehler was struggling, didn't record in an out for the first time in his career when he gave up three hits and three runs against the Rockies his last time out earlier this week.
Slowey spent the majority of this season in the Marlins' rotation, going 1-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 14 starts.
Although he was taken 13 picks after him, Marlins 20-year old rookie Jose Fernandez said he isn't looking toward Sunday's start opposite Pirates' 2011 No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole as anything extra special.
Ditto for Cole.
"I think it's just another game," Cole, 22, said prior to Saturday's game at Marlins Park. "I'm pretty sure he'll probably treat it the same way. I didn't even realize I was facing him until somebody mentioned it a little while ago."
While the pitchers themselves may be trying to downplay the showdown of former first round picks, there a plenty looking forward to the matchup including Marlins manager Mike Redmond. He knows how competitive Fernandez is and acknowledged Saturday Fernandez ramps it up when he faces the best.
Cole, who has hit triple digits on the radar gun and sits 96 to 98 miles per hour on his fastball like Fernandez, has gone 5-3 with a 3.51 ERA, 29 strikeouts and 10 walks since being called up on June 11th. He dominated the Nationals in his last start, giving up just two hits and one earned run over seven innings in a win that ended a three-game slide.
"We'll definitely have our work cut out for us to score a couple runs," Redmond said. "But I like our guy too. It should be fun to watch."
Although some so-called experts pegged Fernandez's future to be in the Marlins bullpen, the seventh pitcher taken in the 2011 draft became the first player in the pitching-loaded 2011 class to make the All-Star team earlier this month.
Excluding Cole, Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (2-4, 5.67 ERA in eight combined big-league starts), Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy (1 2/3 IP in two appearances last season), the other three pitchers taken ahead of Fernandez (6-5, 2.75 ERA) haven't sniffed the big leagues.
"If I was in high school now maybe [facing the No. 1 pick would provide extra motivation], but I'm in the big leagues and everybody here is good and trying to do a good job," said Fernandez, coming off a five-hit, two-run, seven-inning effort in a win over the Rockies Tuesday.
"I'm going to go out there and do the best I can -- I don't care who I'm pitching against."
Aside from picking up his first win in a Marlins uniform, Henderson Alvarez impressed his teammates and Redmond by hitting 98 miles per hour on the radar gun Friday night and throwing hard strikes. It was the first time this season the 23-year old Venezuelan had thrown that hard.
"What we've got here and what we've created is a great friendly competition between these guys," Redmond said. "You saw that last night with Alvarez. He doesn't want to be overshadowed by these young guys. He wanted to be talked about just like they do. I think what you saw was a guy say 'Hey I'm going to make a statement against the best team in the league. And I'm going to come out and pitch like I know I'm capable of pitching.'
"It kind of set me back a little bit to see he had that in there. I hadn't seen that. I'd seen him cut it loose a couple times in spring training at 93. But he had a little extra bounce to his step last night and that was fun to watch. I wish we would have been able to score a couple runs for him so we had kept him in there and seen him finish that game."
Catcher Jeff Mathis said he hasn't been around a team with three starting pitchers who can hit near triple digits on the radar gun. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (99 miles per hour) and Fernandez (98) are the other Marlins starters who can bring that kind of heat.
The last time Redmond saw a trio like that? "I played with them," he said. "AJ [Burnett], Brad Penny and Josh Beckett, I caught them all."
> After Jake Marisnick finally ended an 0-for-14 start with a single Friday, his teammates tricked him into thinking they had tossed the ball of his first career big league hit into the crowd. Redmond got a good laugh out of it, and took a playful jab at Marisnick -- whom he managed in the Blue Jays farm system -- again Saturday.
"I was just getting ready to take down the life size poster of Jake I got in Dunedin [before the hit]," Redmond joked. "I can keep it up in my room now."
> Outfielder Chris Coghlan said he participated in his second day of hitting and taking ground balls Saturday. He's been throwing for two weeks. "I feel great. There's still slight symptoms, but nothing to be alarmed at," Coghlan said of his back injury which has kept him on the disabled list since June 9. "Everything is progressing well."
The Marlins hope to send Coghlan to Jupiter to participate in more intensive activities some time next week. Redmond said first baseman Casey Kotchman, out since June 9th with a strained left oblique, will head to Jupiter next week on a rehab assignment.
> Andrew Heaney, the Marlins' first-round pick in 2012, pitched six scoreless innings Friday for Single A Jupiter, stretching his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 27 in a row.
Josh Beckett, another first-round pick by the Marlins, opened his first season by throwing 30 consecutive scoreless innings for the Marlins FSL affiliate at the time, Single A Brevard County.
It's not often you see a starting pitcher hit 98 on the radar gun for a strike.
Henderson Alvarez, though, is one of those guys that can.
The 23-year old right-hander from Venezuela did so a couple times Friday night including when he blew a heater past Pirates first baseman Gaby Sanchez in the second inning.
Alvarez, who notched his first win for the Marlins since being acquired last winter in that blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays, tied a season-high with five strike outs while giving up just two hits and a walk over six innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the sixth.
If not for the Pirates being the best pitching team in the NL, manager Mike Redmond would have let Alvarez pitch much deeper into the game. He threw just 72 pitches total, 51 for strikes.
"I'm happy about the win, thankful for my teammates who picked me up," said Alvarez, who has thrown 13 scoreless innings since the All-Star break.
"I felt good today. I was throwing hard in the bullpen. I was a little surprised to hit 98. I haven't thrown that hard yet."
Catcher Jeff Mathis, who caught the young pitcher in Toronto, said Alvarez opened the game by throwing a 92-mile per hour sinker for a strike.
"He threw the ball real well," Mathis said. "It's fun to watch him grow and get more innings under his belt. Last year he would be at 95-97 the whole time through the first two innings. Today he dug down deep for a couple big outs."
Redmond was pleased with Alvarez's effort.
"That was a great performance. He came out there and was just aggressive, throwing hard. That's the hardest I've seen him throw," Redmond said. "You could tell he was pumped up. Even the bullpen guys. They went out there and they were turning it loose. That's good when you're playing a good team, a playoff team, it's good to see guys take it up a notch, step up and take it to the next level."
Marisnick not letting 0-for-12 start shake confidence, looks forward to running down balls in spacious Marlins Park
Unlike fellow rookie outfielder Christian Yelich who got a chance to play at Marlins Park last year when the team took on the University of Miami and FIU in preseason exhibition games, Jake Marisnick took his first tour of Marlins Park Friday afternoon.
Covering the spacious gaps in the outfield are nothing the 22-year old center fielder says he's too worried about.
In fact... "I look at it and it just kind of gets me fired up, it gets me excited to run around out there," he said with a smile. "Not quite [like Double A], but Jacksonville was pretty deep too. It's 420 feet to dead center."
Known for his speed and dandy glove work, Marisnick was the player the Marlins demanded the Blue Jays include in the teams' blockbuster deal last winter. Called up to the big leagues late Monday night, he's still looking for his first big league hit.
He's 0-for-12 with four strikeouts thus far. But Marisnick said Friday that's par for the course for him.
"If you look back at all the promotions I’ve had I’ve kind of went through a little bit of a struggle. I get there and try to do too much instead of just play," he said.
In his three games in Colorado Marisnick said he felt he had good at-bats. "A couple I was kind of just a little overanxious," he said. "For the most part I feel comfortable. Just a matter of time until I settle in and feel good.
"It’s quality pitching [at the big league level] but it’s nothing too special from what we’re seeing in Double A. It’s the same stuff. It comes down to being relaxed and getting a good pitch to hit. That comes over time and experience."
The only Marlin in franchise history to begin his major league career on a longer drought was Nigel Wilson, the team's No. 1 pick in the 1992 expansion draft. Wilson began his career 0-for-16 with the Marlins. He didn't get his first big league hit until three years later with the Indians after he started his career 0-for-26.
Yelich, who went 3-for-4 in his debut with two RBI, said he's not too worried about Marisnick's early struggles at the plate.
"He's hit some balls hard. He lined out that first night. He hit a ball well the other day. He's not finding holes right now, but he'll be alright," Yelich said. "That first one is going to be a pretty special moment for him."
> Roommates at Double A Jacksonville, Yelich and Marisnick are currently staying in a hotel here in South Florida. Yelich said it's likely the two rookies will find an apartment to share together in the coming week.
Yelich said he had four friends from California drive more than 20 hours to Denver to come watch him play Thursday. "They left during the rain delay and texted me this morning at 11 o'clock to tell me they made it home," he said. "Pretty solid friends."
> Rookie outfielder Marcell Ozuna, expected to miss the rest of the season, had successful surgery on his left thumb Friday. Marlins general manager Mike Hill said Ozuna will likely be out six to eight weeks before resuming baseball activities. It's possible Ozuna could play winter ball to prepare himself for the competition in spring training.
> Former All-Star first baseman and Miami native Gaby Sanchez returned home Friday to play in his first game since being traded to the Pirates and received a special gift from Marlins President David Samson -- a suite for his family and friends to watch the game.
"The Marlins have still been very nice with me," said Sanchez, who was dealt to Pittsburgh before the trade deadline last July along with a minor league pitcher for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez (traded to Kansas City earlier this week) and compensatory pick after the first round.
"Samson every once and a while will still send me a text. Those things are nice to see. We ended it with good ties. It wasn't like we were mad or anything. It was just business."
Sanchez, who earned his All-Star invite with the Marlins in 2011, said he spent a long time Friday talking with former teammate Greg Dobbs. He said he still exchanges text messages with Giancarlo Stanton from time-to-time.
" I still have a lot of friends in that clubhouse," Sanchez said. "Although a lot of them aren't there anymore, it's fun to get out there and say hello."
What is it like playing for a team with the second-best record in the National League these days?
"It's fun coming to the ballpark everyday knowing with this team we have the ability to win every game," Sanchez said. "With our pitching staff, with our bullpen we know we have what it takes for a team to win. Every single guy in this clubhouse is awesome, hangs out together. I think that translates to the game. We're having fun in here, we're having fun out there. It's a very loose feeling atmosphere where we're just playing baseball and enjoying things like we should."
> Pirates (60-40): 1. Starling Marte LF, 2. Neil Walker 2B, 3. Andrew McCutchen CF, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3B, 5. Russell Martin C, 6. Garrett Jones RF, 7. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 8. Jordy Mercer SS, 9. Jeff Locke RHP.
> Marlins (38-62): 1. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 2. Christian Yelich LF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Ed Lucas 3B, 5. Logan Morrison 1B, 6. Donovan Solano 2B, 7. Jake Marisnick CF, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.
DENVER -- Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna is scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday to repair a ligament tear and avulsion fracture in his left thumb.
Ozuna injured the thumb while making a diving catch Monday night at Coors Field. [Watch the play here] Following the game, the Marlins announced that Ozuna -- and infielder Derek Dietrich -- were being optioned to Double A Jacksonville.
But after the exact nature of the injury was identified Thursday by a hand specialist in Miami, the option was voided and Ozuna was instead placed on the major league disabled list, retroactive to Monday.
"I don't have a definitive time frame," said Larry Beinfest, Marlins president of baseball operations. "But it's highly doubtful and improbable that you'll see him again this season. It's a minimum six to eight weeks, and then you have to ramp up from there. So we're going to run out of time this season."
Beinfest said the extent of the injury was unknown when the decision to option Ozuna was made after Monday's game.
"It's surprising because, when we optioned him Monday night....he stayed in the game and said he was okay," Beinfest said. "It seemed like, 'I dived and I jammed my thumb a little bit.' Obviously, it's turned out to be a lot more than that, which is unfortunate."
By going on the DL, Ozuna will continue to accrue service time to the point he could be in position to qualify for "Super Two" status and become eligible for salary arbitration after the 2015 season. Had Ozuna returned to the minors, it was all but certain his first arbitration year would have been delayed until after the '16 season.
"Again, he's a couple of years away from that," Beinfest said of the arbitration process. "Like any young player, he's going to have to come out and make the team next year in spring training. Obviously we have some pretty spirited outfield competition."
Ozuna becomes the 15th Marlins player to be placed on the DL this season.
"He did a great job," Beinfest said. "Our intention was for him to go down and work on some things offensively, and sure enough, it's the way it goes. He makes, really, a game-saving catch and gets hurt."
Beinfest said it's possible Ozuna could play winter ball just to make sure the thumb checks out in advance of spring training.
Infielder Chris Valaika, who was designated for assignment by the Marlins, has cleared waivers and outrighted to Triple A New Orleans.