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Mike Hill: "We're going to do our best to try to upgrade, but we're not going to be foolish."

The Marlins' quest to upgrade their starting pitching figures to lead all the way up to Thursday's 4 p.m. trade deadline. But just because they want to be buyers doesn't mean the Marlins are willing to be foolish.

Mike Hill, whose phone began ringing at 8:37 a.m. Wednesday with trade offers (less than seven hours after he received his last call Tuesday night), made it clear if an opportunity presents itself to upgrade the rotation the Marlins plan on pouncing on it. They've even "dipped their toes in" on potential one-year rentals.

But one thing Hill said he's made clear to other clubs is "we’re not trying to take off our major league club, not key components." 

"We’re trying to add," Hill said Wednesday morning about an hour and half before the Marlins were set to close out their three-game series against the division-leading Nationals at Marlins Park. "But to re-shuffle or rob Peter to pay Paul doesn’t really accomplish what we’re trying to do.”

The Red Sox, shopping left-handed All-Star pitcher Jon Lester, reportedly wanted left fielder Christian Yelich from the Marlins. The Marlins wanted no part of that. So the search for a pitcher continues.

Hill said a rental "is not ideal." But it is something the Marlins haven't ruled out.

"It's something that we've entertained and have dipped our toe in the water," Hill said. "It all depends on the cost to acquire a rental and if it sidetracks what we're trying to do in the long term."

Second base remains an area the Marlins would like to address, but that probably will get tabled to the offseason. With Jordany Valdespin being a solid producer since being called up on July 19 (he came into the day Wednesday hitting .267, 1 HR, 3 RBI) Hill said the Marlins are content with Valdespin splitting the job the rest of the way with Donovan Solano. So upgrading the pitching staff remains the top focus.

"It’s always our pitching and we go as our pitching goes," Hill said. "We made a concerted effort to improve our offense and have been able to put a consistent offensive team on the field and now we go as our pitching goes. The early bullpen questions have settled. Guys have gotten into more consistent roles and performed better. It’s no secret that as we’ve played better, we’ve pitched better. Plain and simple, we pitch, we know we’re giving ourselves a chance every day to win a ballgame.”

Hill said owner Jeffrey Loria remains supportive and connected to every decision the front office makes.

"He's obviously part of the process," Hill said. "We update him on where things are. But he wants to win as badly as anybody. He knows where we're at, and what we're trying to do."

Does Loria want to win badly enough to add payroll? "I would say we're looking at everything," Hill said. "Money deals. Prospects deals. We're looking at everything."

How important is it to make a move to show fans and the team the front office is really going for it?

"I think these guys know we believe in them and believe in the talent in this room," Hill said. "Whether we're able to make a move or not I think they know we have their back and supportive of what they're trying to do. We're going to do our best to try to upgrade, but we're not going to be foolish. We're not going to be short sighted. I think we understand where we're at as an organization but we're also understand where we're trying to go. 

"I think that's the balance you strike at this time of year. We'll see what happens these next two days. But there's been a lot going on and we're trying to work through it and seeing if what we're trying to do makes sense not only the near term but the long term."

> Utility man Ed Lucas, back with the team after being sent down to the minors on July 20 so the team could add an extra arm for a road trip to Houston, had a funny line Wednesday about how the Marlins went 9-1 without him.

"It's awesome to watch. I'm happy. But at the same time I'm thinking, 'Man I must be a pretty bad teammate if as soon as I leave they rattle off 9 of 10.' It kind of makes you question yourself a little bit."

> Former Marlins catcher John Baker, 33, pulled off a rare feat for the Cubs in Tuesday night's 16-inning win over the Rockies. He scored the winning run and picked up the victory as a relief pitcher. That's the first time that's happened for the Cubs, who have been around since 1876.

"That's definitely cooler than picking up seven saves in 10 days," said closer Steve Cishek, one of the few pitchers left on the Marlins staff who worked with Baker. "Now, if I could drive in a run and get the win that would be cooler. I think [Burke] Badenhop did that a couple years ago. I'd take that."

WEDNESDAY'S LINEUPS

> Nationals (57-47): 1. Denard Span CF, 2. Anthony Rendon 3B, 3. Jayson Werth RF, 4. Adam LaRoche 1B, 5. Ian Desmond SS, 6. Bryce Harper LF, 7. Wilson Ramos C, 8. Danny Espinosa 2B, 9. Tanner Roark RHP.

> Marlins (53-53): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Jordany Valdespin 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Brad Hand LHP.

Comments

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Flav C.

The Royals are desperate trying to find an outfielder. I wonder if they would make Danny Duffy available on a Duffy for Marisnick/Conley/Garcia trade.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

The real "toe in the water" move by Hill is bringing up Loria's name. Unless he was asked, it's a bold move! That's like saying Stephen A. Smith of espn is being consulted on all domestic violence issues.

Russell

Alright so nothing in this current FO's past says they'll give up a prospect arm to obtain present MLB talent which means Haney will not be a part of any deal. Additionally, though this column says they're looking for a SP, as we all know the current lineup doesn't quite hit enough to matter in the postseason which means there is no way Yelich is going anywhere. The team really needs a bat and a quality SP, at least one capable of being a no. 2 or 3. I can't picture them going after a no. 1 like Price, Hamels, Lee, or Lester. Though Price would at least pitch for them under contract next year as well.

Kind of funny that if the Fish really want to make a go of this their cheif competition in improving ther roster is probably my local Mariners who like the Marlins are post-season starved and in contention for at least a Wildcard spot. The M's always need a legitimate bat and with a quality SP would be dangerous in the postseason with Hernandez and Hiwakuma

Lou Vales

Any Major League pitcher who WANTS Mathis in the lineup(assuming pitcher also can't hit) is willing to make 22& of the batting order virtually impotent which makes no sense.

flagstaffishfan

I would agree Russell that a bat and a SP are really needed for a serious run at the playoffs. Redmond left Hand in too long. Foolish move.

Lou Vales

DAMN!!! Not as a person but as a Major League Baseball player, I can't stand Mathis. You can not have a guy who looks like he should be in a commercial for Hitting Batting Deficiency(Think ED) in a Big League lineup. Especially NOT with this lineup. TWO!!! Black Holes are even too much for an astrophysicist.

Lou Vales

Sorry!! I know I'm changing the subject but I actually believe at least 2 Marlins pitchers are better hitters than Mathis. For Pete's sakes, Hecheverria isn't a 28 year old Jimmy Rollins, Ozuna is still inconsistent you CAN'T have a guy hitting 8th who would not hit 240 at New Orleans. Just can't do it!! Boy!! I hate his game.

Lou Vales

He was born in Marianna, Florida. There is a prison in Marianna. Collect all of his bats and put them in solitary confinement. I am going to need to run for an hour on the elliptical to get his visage out of my memory.

Stan M

How would this game have ended if that damn 2nd baseman had just stretched for a throw. That was the turning point in my opinion.

patience

Stan-the play at 1st base; walking the first batter of the game on 4 pitches (he eventually scored); allowing Span to take 2nd base after he was picked off at 1st base; allowing LaRoche to steal 2nd base in top of the ninth.
This marlins Team has plenty of "heart" and "talent". However, they do things that you will not even see Little League World Series Caliber Players do. Fundamentals are definitely missing. Unfortunately, the guys who know how to play the game the best, don't have enough "raw talent". The guys who have the most raw talent, appear to not know how to play the game. Cannot always blame Redmond, he has to play the hand he has been given. But, if you want a few good laughs, read what Mike Hill had to say above.

Lou Vales

The steal by LaRoche was egregious. Just giving up the base. If Valdespin stretches that is one out and 2nd fly ball hit that inning ends the inning.Of course if Jeff Mathis gets 3 AB's an a Major League game how much can the team really care. Jeffy may end up with 10 ribbies this year. I know!! I Know!!! he is a GREAT receiver.

Sunny Dee

How about Lackey for Yelich? They'd have him under contract for next year too.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Loria has enough lackeys in the front office.

Lou Vales

Some in the media as well.

Lou Vales

Lester to the A's for a roll of adhesive tape. Nice rental.

Sunny Dee

I'm very surprised the A's gave up Cespedes for a half a season of Lester. If they don't win the World Series the trade will be a bust.

Lou Vales

By the way, I was being facetious about the "adhesive tape"

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Sunny, Beane's trade with the Cubs showed that he's in it for all the marbles this season. But the Lester trade is a real exclamation mark. And it's not as risky a trade as I first thought, imo. He gets a half season of Lester (with a possible World Series run in the balance) versus a season and a half of Cespedes, who's a decent enough hitter, but his production isn't all that impressive (.256 BA, .303 OBP).

Stan M

I don't know about you folks, but some of the trade names that I hear scare me. Danks? Josh Beckett? Even Lackey? And unfortunately that's where my bet lies. Why? Because he will be paid the ML minimum next year because of a quirk in a past contract. At this stage there are very few appealing starters left out there. I'd take Ian Kennedy if the price isn't too high. Otherwise it's David Price or punt. I'd rather go with our kids than pick up some mediocrity. And Flav, I agree with you about Nicolino. At least move him to AAA ball. Personally, I thought some of those traded guys went awfully cheap, especially McCarthy and Lester.

Stan M

Thank God, Lackey's gone.

Russell

Stan, I completely agree with you about Price or punt. If the starter or bat isn't true impact then it doesn't make any difference whatsoever. The team wasn't supposed to compete this year anyway and especially with Fernandez probably not the soundest decision. Hill shouldn't of come out and said a peep. Hopefully these dingbats have learned you don't trade the future for someone who at best might win you 1 extra game if that, ala Carlos Lee.

My interesting trade for thought would be Heaney, Nicolino and Dietrich for Price and Zobrist. I'd even consider throwing Moran in there instead of Dietrich except this team really needs a 3B for the future. Zobrist would be an offensive upgrade and could play 2B and 3B.

Yeah I'd do that Price and Zobrist for Heaney, Nicolino, and Dietrich

Thoughts?

Russell

In another few hours Hill will make a statement that says "We came really close a few times today and yesterday in making a blockbuster move. We can't say who the names involved were but ultimately we feel we still have a great team which will compete the remainder of this season and even more so next year. We just felt right now we couldn't sacrifice any of our talented prospects in the minors who will soon become our championship cornerstones. The future is really bright South Florida"

Blah, Blah, Blah

Lou Vales

Hill does not want to be "foolish", I guess that means "We already traded Cabrera for 5 jock straps so he is out of the picture"

Lou Vales

Russell, I believe you NAILED IT!!! In fact it sounds better coming from you.

A Realist

Listen guys, I'll give Hill and the rest of the front office credit on one thing and you know I can't stand any of those phonies. There is no way they are going to go nuts and spend a ton of money when these guys can't hit consistently. Why bring in a pitcher just to watch him lose 2-1 and 3-2 every night? Remember the Athletics series? The other night they scored 7 runs, which was their highest run production in a game since late June. They get shut down yesterday the entire game against Roark and then in the 9th try to mount another spectacular comeback. You can't keep doing that and expect to succeed. If we want to be totally REALISTIC, these mermaids were close to losing 2 out of 3 in that series. Then how would the mood be? If this team had any intestinal fortitude they would have finished off the sweep yesterday.

Tonight we get to see them get smoked by Cueto. Every time this team faces a dominant pitcher they get dominated. Oh, and tomorrow we get to see our Broward College buddy, Matt Latos, pitch. His era is in the low 3's so this series should be interesting. No wonder the article states they don't have the hitting for the postseason. They can't hit the best pitchers and in the postseason thats all you face in the postseason. The best!!!

Stanton probably wouldn't hit a homerun the entire postseason because he swings at everything. The only guys that would do okay is McGehee and Yelich.

Lou Vales

A HELL of a lot better.

Stan M

Russell, I can tell you have a keen intellect because you agreed with me. More seriously, look on this site to Marlin's high A team. They just promoted a young kid up from low A ball named Avery Romero. He's an infielder and seems like the same type of hitter as Yelich, which means an ideal hitter for our ball park. In my opinion, and I'll make a bet that Flav would agree with me, he has now passed Moran as a prospect. So in the right trade, I'd move Moran if need be. Also McGehee plays third without a great deal of lateral movement; thankfully he's got Hech next to him. He also isn't a fast runner. My point is that his skill set should remain fairly constant and he could stay at 3B for 2, even 3 more years. He's now 31 YO. So if I could get Price or a pitcher of comparable value, I wouldn't be afraid to include Moran.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/news/prospects/index.jsp?c_id=mia

Stan M

"and then there were none"

Stan M

They gave up way the hell too much unless the other two players are worth a damn. Throw in Heaney and or Nicolino and they probably could have had Price. Beinfeld, we miss you!

Lou Vales

They could not have got Price for those 2 and Heaney. Very good deal!! They gave u a 3rd baseman who probably will not hit for power EVER and an outfielder who will NEVER hit period IMHO. Fernandez(soon!!), Alvarez, Cosart, Evoldi and Heaney---I will take it!!! If I would have ONCE been impressed with Marisnak I would have trouble with the deal. I don't!!!

Lou Vales

Astros fans AND baseball people can't understand why Houston included Hernandez.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Hernandez is having one of those "career" years, hitting .337 at Triple A and .284 in 81 ABs with the Astros. And hopefully, he keeps it up as a Marlin. But the reality is that just last year, he hit a dismal .236 at Double A, and his numbers weren't all that impressive before that. So why are they so surprised, when the Marlins gave up Marisnick and Moran? Actually, I'm more intrigued by Austin Wates, who's hit .300 at every level he's played. He might've been the leadoff guy they've been looking for, if he were a second baseman.

A Realist

Is Hernandez considered a good player? I watched him during the Astros series and saw him drop that line drive. I wasn't too impressed at the plate either. Cosart is decent. I guess he'll compete with Koehler for that 5th spot next year once Fernandez, Alvarez, Heaney, and Eovaldi round out the top 4. Where is Hernandez going to play? Maybe 2nd??? They said he's an infielder, as well. At least they are active. I'll give them that.

Flav C.

This is a very low-risk trade. Both team will actually hope one (maybe two) of this prospects flourish.

I agree with both DT and Realist. Cosart is pretty decent and already at a ML level. And Wates is the real wild-card here. This guys seems to bring a lot of speed at the bases.

As far as 3B, I think the Marlins is optimistic with J.T. Riddle. Almost same age as Moran, and with numbers very similar in low A ball. They will probably bring McGehee for another season (maybe two) and see how Riddle goes.

Flav C.

Correction: Both "teams"...and "these" prospects..

Dionysus Thelxinoe

I'll give credit to the front office for this move, considering the restraints within which they have to work ("no spending money"). At a minimum, Cosart will hopefully eat up some innings this season, buying some more time for Heaney to develop. And he's a LOT better option than any more pickings from the scrap heap, like another Wolfe or Penny.

Flav C.

Astros fans going nuts (as in mad as hell) with this trade.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

On second thought, Astros fans may have good reason after all.

Cosart is an interesting case. He had this one really horrendous start early in the season (4/18 at Oakland) where he was shellacked for 7 earned runs in only one-third of an inning. But if you throw out that start as an aberration, by the end of June, he had an 8-4 record, with a 2.95 ERA in 15 starts! And if you combine that with his 10 starts from last year, between July and September, which give him almost a full season as a rotation starter, his ERA is at 2.56 in 25 starts, 154 IP. Pretty impressive! But now the bad news... he's been hit hard in July, giving up 19 earned runs in 21.1 innings, his last 4 starts. So is he running out of gas? Or maybe he was distracted by trade rumors? (he's a Texas boy). We'll see...

Lou Vales

I've said the GOOD!!!! Now, what the heck does Mathis need to do?? People always mention having "the pictures", I don't believe that but it is bizarre to allow this human being in an MLB lineup.

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