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Hill says Marlins remain in the market for starting pitcher, but don't want a rental

NEW YORK -- Even though the Marlins have sputtered toward the finish line before the All-Star Break and sit a season-worst five games under .500, president of baseball Operations Mike Hill said Sunday he hasn't lost faith in his clubhouse making a run at a playoff spot this season.

And if the Marlins can find the right trade partner, Hill said he plans on making a move to bring in a starting pitcher as soon possible. As it stood Sunday, the Marlins only had four starters in the rotation -- Henderson Alvarez, Tom Koehler, Nathan Eovaldi and Brad Hand -- and hadn't decided who the fifth starter will be coming out of the break.

What the Marlins are looking for in a trade isn't a veteran or rental. With a roster full of players they'll control for the next few years, Hill said the Marlins are looking at sustained winning and not only the present. So they would prefer a pitcher that has controllable years left in the big leagues.

"It's something we've been looking for since Jose [Fernandez] went down," Hill said. "A rental really doesn't help. It may help you somewhat in the short term, but assuming it cost you your inventory we want something we can move forward with. That's something that will definitely influence which way we go."

Although the Marlins have given prospects Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani opportunities to start in the big leagues this year and could eventually call on the them again, Hill said the organization would prefer to give both pitchers "more seasoning" in the minors should they need it.

Back in May, the Marlins signed veteran left-hander Randy Wolf as soon after Fernandez was lost for the season. But he only made four starts (1-3, 5.26) before being released a month later. 

If the Marlins can't find a trade partner, Hill said right-hander Jacob Turner is an option the club can turn to for starts. Veteran Brad Penny, signed to a minor league deal last month, could be another.

Turner lost his spot in the rotation last month after going 2-4 with a 6.38 in nine starts and sputtered as a reliever (0-2, 5.60 ERA in seven appearances).

Penny, 36, went 0-2 with a 5.06 ERA in two starts for Single A Jupiter and was recently elevated to Triple A New Orleans. Hill said Sunday Penny is getting stronger and if the Marlins feel like he can help him they'll give him a shot.

Of course a lot of what the Marlins do in terms of making a trade could depend on how long they stay in the race. But right now Hill very much believes the Marlins are still players for the post-season.

"Hopefully we start playing better, we start winning games and we put ourselves back in this race," he said. "I don't think we're out of it by any stretch of the imagination. I think you've seen clubs that look down get hot and thrust themselves right back into this thing. We still have a number of games against the clubs we're chasing in Atlanta and Washington and we still believe in that clubhouse. We just need to play better, execute better and in the end win more games."

> If starting pitching is at the top of Hill's wish list, finding a second baseman with speed who can hit at the top of the lineup isn't far behind. The Marlins signed veteran Rafael Furcal with that intention, but injuries have sidelined him all season.

"That's still a part of our team we feel is missing and we feel we would like to have," Hill said. "So whatever form or shape that comes in that's still something we would like to have on this team."

There are rumblings former Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla could be designated for assignment or traded soon from Atlanta. But he doesn't seem to fit the description of what the Marlins are searching for.

> Last year the Marlins went into the All-Star Break with a 35-58 record. How does Hill feel about this team?

"I don't think I'd ever say discouraged because you can rewind a year and that was discouraging," Hill said. "So many good things have gone on this first half of this season -- the stories you point to. You look at our first half, you look at [Henderson] Alvarez. You look at a healthy Stanton. You look at the development of young prospects in Yelich and Ozuna and what they're doing. The growth of [Hechavarria] at shortstop. Casey McGehee. There's so many positive things going on.

"It's unfortunate we haven't been able to ride that all the way into the break. We've had some struggles here as we have finished the first half and let some leads get away, haven't taken care of the ball as well as we can take care of the ball. Those are just some things I think the break will hopefully allow us to take a step back, take a breather for a couple days, refocus and get back after it the way we did in April and May."

> Hill said he's been encouraged by the progress 2013 first round pick Colin Moran has been making in the minors and a promotion to Double A Jacksonville appears to be around the corner.

Moran hit .337 with three homers and 10 RBI in 25 games for Single A Jupiter in June and has continued a torrid pace in July (.333, 5 RBI in 10 games).

"Moran has been great," Hill said. "Consistent quality at-bats. Defense from Day 1 at that level he took what he learned from Bone and really took it into his game. He's an above average defender at third base. Offensively had some adjustments early and is really locked in of late. He's hitting .300, driving the ball, doing everything we can ask."

> Hill said he expects the Marlins to sign the last of the two remaining unsigned top 10 draft picks before the July 18 deadline.

"Our seventh rounder [shortstop Anfernee] Seymour is Bahamanian. He needed a work visa. That's the only thing delaying his signing," Hill said. "The 10th rounder [left-handed pitcher Dillon] Peters out of the University of Texas is a surgery player. So we're just trying to get all that logistic stuff wrapped up. But he should be agreed. That will be our Top 10 done. That was our goal."

Comments

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Cleveland Spider

This organization and this league is a joke. How does MLB allow Loria to own a team. This guy is doing so much damage to the game of baseball. The Marlins are cursed to have a perennial loser as long as this scoundrel owns the team. They are content to bring in has beens (i.e. Penny, Furcal, Marmol and Wolf) and unprepared rookies like (Heaney, Descalfani, and Marisnik). I cannot believe that they keep trying to sell us on these losers and continue to tell us about all of the good things that are happening with the Marlins. The bottom line is that this team is not good enough to compete for a playoff spot because they are not willing to spend money on good players.

I would like to see Stanton resigned long term. They do have a nice young nucleus with Stanton, Yelich, Echevarria, and Ozuna but I have no faith that Stanton will be around much longer. Without Fernandez the starting pitching is dreadful. How I still root for this team, I don't know. I guess I am still holding out hope that MLB will do something about this and that they will push Loria out of baseball. Jeffrey Loria, simply the worst owner is sports.

Who's on first

Folks in this blog are laughable. First, they were all screaming for Heaney, Scalafani, to be called up. Then when it was clear those kids are way far from being major league ready, they blame the front office. Laughable. And for the fans with any hope Marisnick will atmount to anything good, let me tell you this: he is a new version of Bryan Petersen. Good at AAA level, below mediocre as a major leaguer.

Who's on first

In the meantime, the kid who really deserves a shot continues to play real good baseball in Nola; mark Canha.

Lou Vales

Marisnick(don't care about the spelling) can't hit Major League pitching.How much more obvious does it need to be? You could see IMMEDIATELY Yelich was the real deal. The other guy better have a fallback plan in life. Penny gets promoted with an era above 5.00 in Single A and people are still talking about Furcal. It is nuts. They only want a Major League caliber pitcher if he is under control for at least 5 years. This whole thing is a joke but what does it say about the 7 or 8 of us who comment on it and expect it to change? There are a couple of clubs who need a 3B. Contact them because you realize you have no intention of signing McGehee for next year. They have one pitcher in the minors who can reasonably be expected to contribute within 2 years but realize he must not only be physically ready but mentally ready to tolerate the knowledge he will not be able to give up more than 2 runs a game. 3 out of 4 pro sports in a MAJOR market who have no chance of competing. This is now "The Mistake By the Ocean", forget Lake Erie.

Tcarles

The Marlins continue to try to compete on the cheap, signing retreads such s Saltalamacchia, Jones, Wolf, Furcal and (for heavens sake) Kevin Gregg (ERA of 10.00) They might have been good players in their prime but no longer. Or the team brings up players from the Minors who are not ready for the bigs (and some may never be). The team has tried this approach for several years and it doesn't work. Only McGahee is a keeper and who knows for how long. It is a shame; playing in a new, first class stadium with a second rate team is like wearing an expensive suit with old, scuffed shoes.

Dire Straits

Uggla doesnt seem to fit the description of what the Marlins are searching for? How about on the list of washed up bums that can be had for nothing ,ala Marmol, Gregg, Wolf etc. Uggs surely would fit in perfectly with Loria's baseball business model. Money for nothing and the Stiffs are free.

A Realist

Mr. Hill, you come out and make these statements that Loria has instructed you to make. No one believes what you are stating. If you and the rest of the front office were realy serious about acquiring starting pithing how come you haven't done so? Other teams have gotten Samardjza, Hammel, and McCarthy, but we have done absolutely nothing. Do you expect another team to give you a good pitcher for nothing? What are you guys waiting for? Do you want the team to be 10 games under .500 like the 03' Marlins and then try to make a comeback? Time is of the essence. Why not try and go after Kennedy? There are options out there, but Loria doesn't want to give any prospects up. I think we should give away prospects because none of ours are really turning into much to talk about with regard to pitching. Turner, Eovaldi, DeSclafani, and Heaney (he's still young) all have underachieved. We have too many 2nd basemen and outfielders.

You guys make me sick! You are so full of it.....

You can sure find a way to get rid of our players, but when it comes to making the team better and spending money, all of a sudden the idea-well runs dry.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

This guy Hill is so transparent. This is what he says, paraphrased I suppose: "So they would prefer a pitcher that has controllable years left in the big leagues." And what he REALLY means is: "So they would prefer a pitcher who makes the minimum."

And can someone please explain to me what the difference is between a "rental" player and any one of the several has-beens that Loria has been throwing at us? If there is even a shred of truth to Hill's statement that "the Marlins are looking at sustained winning and not only the present," in what universe does Fat Brad Penny represent sustained winning???

richie

Come on guys, surely there must be a pitcher available who can sustain an ERA of under 3.00, who is able to be team controlled for 3-5 years at minimum salary, and would love to play for the worst team owner in sports. I have come to a conclusion that the front office people, and, coaching staff, and commentators are with the Marlins only for one reason...they are not acceptable to any other team. We should not blame the young guys who are rushed up prematurely from the minor leagues. They are not ready for the Majors but they cannot be blamed for wanting the chance. Marisnik needs to be taught to hit, he has all the other tools. If he cannot hit, then he needs to look elsewhere. Stanton needs to learn not to keep swinging at low, outside, off the plate pitches, and, to improve identifying how to play fly balls that are going to bounce in front of him. Ozuna has made great improvement, but I fear he will hurt himself one day, swinging and missing a pitch. He losses his balance. Then there are the pitchers. They all have great stuff, but need to learn how to pitch.
There are 68 games left in the season. If this team can win 30-35 of them, they will have over achieved. Don't count on any trades for legitimate upgrades. Chicago already dealt two pitchers to Oakland. If loria really wanted to improve the team, he would have dealt with Epstein. Amen.

Al-Kendall

I understand clearly that Hill meant the Marlins will not try to get Hamels or Price, and Hand is going to remain in the rotation. Fans should not expect a better Marlins team. We can expect to continue the season with poor or mediocre pitching and hope Stanton really heats up and gets another 90 RBI by the end of this season.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Al-Kendall, you nailed in your opening sentence.

Stan M

I'm just going to discuss first base for a few lines. I checked the players at that position for all 30 ML teams. There were only two that seemed to have poorer production or players with less value there. Yes...two. They were the Twins and Padres and neither of those teams is going anywhere this year and have no need for a 33 YO player who can realistically only platoon and whose fielding is mediocre. In short, we are stuck with Jones and probably for next year as well, for there is absolutely no market for him, even as a throw in, for his contract is back loaded. So what can the team do? Playing him only exasperates the problems Salty's incompetence causes. There are three choices. Dump him and eat his contract. Make him our LH pinch hitter. Or continue to lose with a far below average player at a critical position that calls for a hitter. In my opinion, replacing him is a must.
This guy Bour has such a busy bat that it should be obvious to all that he isn't the answer. I have no idea if Canha or Jensen from AAA would be the answer, but either might be worth a try. My solution is to put Yelich at 1B where he has played in the past, and let Marisnick sink or swim for the remainder of the year in CF. When we consider his superior defense,and excellent base running ability, would he hurt the team any more than Jones does now? Then there is the youth and potential as well as the fact that he is hitting the cover off the ball in AAA...not AA ball... for several games. Despite all of the propaganda coming our way from the sycophants in the FO, 4th place is ours and denuding our expectations with the likes of Jones only lowers expectations for the future. Granted the team has other, even more pressing problems, buy they can be addressed in future posts.

Seattle Slew

Add Seattle to your list of teams with below average production at 1B. Smoak is hitting just 202. with a .624 OPS. His replacement, Logan Morrison isnt doing much better with a .230BA and a .654 OPS at the AS break. Yes,they stink at 1B in Seattle ,too. At least Smoak fields the position well. Morrison uses a frying pan for a glove.

richie

Speaking of Bour, there must be some reason he hasn't started any games at first base. Anybody have insight as to why? I agree with Stan that he has a busy bat but he whips it through the strike zone pretty quick and appears to have good pitch selection. He was successful when he started interleague games as the DH but has not done well as a pinch hitter. I cannot believe that Jones is better defensively than anybody.

Stan M

Seattle Slew, I get your point. There were two reasons that I didn't list them. One was that as a 33 YO, he didn't fit into their long range plans. The second was because Morrison had started to hit and they were putting him in the middle of their line up, often at cleanup. That would seem to indicate that they were going to go with him and see what happens. They had even farmed out Smoak for a while. Recently Morrison had hit 2 HRs in a game and in another he knocked in 4. I'm not saying Morrison is their answer, although I hope so, but I think you'll agree that Jones acquisition wouldn't even cross their minds.

Seattle Slew

Recently,is his last 40 AB's, Morrison is hitting .200 with 1 HR and 1 RBI O BB's and 7 K's. Your loyalty to Morrison,being an ex-Marlin, is admirable,however they are already looking at him as a suspect,since he's no longer a prospect. He better step it up, as he has run out of injury excuses for poor performance.

Stan M

Then why are they hitting him in the middle of their order? They must see something there. In all honesty, my mind says that his return is a stretch, my heart is in this kid's corner. In any case wouldn't you agree that Jones is not even a remote possibility for them?

Stan M

Some things we can be thankful for with this team:
1)It has a truly beautiful home field.
2) There are no horrible contracts that pull down this teams chances to make improvements. Jones and Salty's contracts are our worst. I think of the Braves and the reputation of their vaunted front office. Yet they have Uggla's contract for 13 million next year, BJ Upton signed for God knows how long and can barely hit his weight, their 3rd baseman, the guy with the bad temper who is also signed for some time and has an OBP under .300.
3 We have a nucleus of fine young players who can only get better. Two or three good young pitchers who, although not yet quite ready, have a promising future.
4) With so young a team, and having a fine nucleus, we don't need, nor do we have, a plethora of high level prospects. However there are some promising players in high A ball and our low A ball team seems to be loaded with talent.
5) The FO office and/or scouting personnel have been doing an excellent job of scouting and signing worthwhile draft picks.
6) As DT so aptly points out, this team is only one owner from being a contender. And with all of the plusses above, and the team's relatively low price tag within today's market, the team is in a very favorably position for purchase by an interested party.

Stan M

Lou, I can understand why you are pessimistic about Marisnick. I haven't been happy with his ML at bats either. However, after a horrible start,the guy hit .347 in May and is hitting .366 in July. It isn't fair to consider his June numbers which were mediocre, because the damn fools in the FO were bouncing him up and down all month. I think he spent more time on an airplane than on a ball field. And playing him would improve our defense in LF, CF and I don't think Yelich could be any worse than Jones at 1B, and possibly be better. Defense wins games, too.

Lou Vales

Stan, Would you agree that mostly all good hitters had some "it" factor at the beginning. I see nothing in Marisnick that gives me cause for hope. The lineup would be better with Yelich at 1B but they will still be unable to hit in the clutch.

Stan M

But maybe we'll get a ground ball or fly out instead of a K and that's my whole point. Jones is what he is, there is no possible room for improvement. That is not true with Marisnick. We don't know and will never find out if we don't play him. I think part of his problem is a mental uncertainty. If Red put him in CF and said it's yours for the remainder of this year, we'd get a more realistic picture of his potential. At this stage, all he has to do is out perform Jones to be successful. And hitting is only part of that equation. The bottom line would be, does the team win more games with the new setup and what do we learn for next year.

Lou Vales

I agree> Marisnick will help win more games than Jones butit will still be irrelevant. Don't you think we should trade Casey and actually get something for him while we can? After this year there is no way he stays BUT will still have Saltalamacchia and Jones!! Maybe they will take Uggla and allow the Braves to pay 12,999,999 of his salary.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Lou, have you been paying attention? If The Fat Pig owner follows his true form, Salty and Jones will be GONE after this season, not still here. That's why Hill's comment about not wanting a rental is so laughable and demonstrably untrue. Free agents are signed by the Fat Pig with the explicit intent that they will be gone after one season. If that's not a rental, what is?

Stan M

DT, I am looking into situations with catchers for another post, but from all I've ben able to glean about Jones and situations around baseball regarding any needs for a first baseman, the guy is completely untradeable. The only hope as I see it, would be if he is an add on in a trade and then only if Loria eats a huge part of his salary. Salty could be different matter. I'll look further into that.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Stan, keep in mind that you're looking at it strictly from a baseball need, while GMs also factor in the impact of signings on their ticket sales. Also, there may not be a current need, but as strategies are formed over the winter, conditions (and needs) are changed. It may very well turn out that Salty and/or Jones are untradeable, but there seems to always be one team out there looking to make some kind of impact move, either for more offense or for more attendance.

IMO, Salty would be more productive in the AL as backup catcher/DH.

Lou Vales

If someone would have told me before the season started that Molina would be hurt In July and YET the Cards would have no interest in Saltalamacchia(not good enough to have a nickname), I would have been shocked.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

If Salty got a hit for every time he's struck out, he'd be batting .374.

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