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Marlins not getting enough help from vets Saltalamacchia, Jones; Penny to start Tuesday

When the Marlins invested more than $32 million on catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, first baseman Garrett Jones and second baseman Rafael Furcal the idea wasn't only for them to provide veteran leadership. It was also to get some production from them in important games and situations.

Furcal, shelved for all but nine games, has been a complete waste of $3.5 million. Saltalamacchia, making $21 million over three years, and Jones, making $7.75 over two years, have provided help at times. But a game like Friday's 5-2 loss to the Braves serves as an example of how Saltalamacchia and Jones have also let the Marlins down, too.

Saltalamacchia, averaging a strikeout once every three at bats (the eighth highest percentage in baseball this season), whiffed three times Friday including with a runner on second in the sixth inning when the Marlins had a chance to expand a slim 1-0 lead.

Jones, meanwhile, made his 13th error of the season. He also struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, and had what should have been a double play ball go right through his glove in the seventh inning in a 2-2 game. The Braves took advantage and scored three runs after Jones' miscue to pull away.

"I know that probably nobody feels worse for not making that play than him," manager Mike Redmond said of Jones. "He’s a competitor, he's a great teammate. He’s a big part of this team. Sometimes that happens. You go through some ups and downs, both offensively and defensively. That’s why you rely on your teammates to pick you up."

The problem is Jones and Saltalamacchia haven't really been carrying their weight enough.

Jones' 13 errors are four more than the next worst first baseman in baseball (the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo has nine). His wins above replacement rating (WAR) is the worst of his career (-0.9). He's also hitting only .230 with runners in scoring position.

Saltalamacchia, meanwhile, has also made 13 errors (he had 13 for the Red Sox in 2012 and 2013 combined). He's also hitting a paltry .184 with runners in scoring position (he hit .252 last year) and his WAR (0.5) is only better than three catchers with at least 290 at-bats this season.

Both players are due raises next season with Saltalamacchia on the hook to make $7 million and Jones to make $5 million.

The Marlins' top five players in WAR are the guys who don't have playoff experience. They are: Giancarlo Stanton (6.2), Henderson Alvarez (3.7), Marcell Ozuna (3.4), Christian Yelich (3.3) and Tom Koehler (2.3).

PENNY TO START TUESDAY

Redmond decided Saturday on making veteran Brad Penny Tuesday's starter against the Mets. 

Penny, 36, made his last start Aug. 14 against Arizona and had been regulated to the bullpen after Brad Hand was chosen to be the team's fifth starter over the last two turns through the rotation.

Redmond said the Marlins plan on keeping the fifth starter's spot in the rotation open from start to start.

"He’s done a nice job," Redmond said of Penny. "He's been consistent. He’s thrown strikes. And hes been in big games and big situations and he’s earned it."

EOVALDI LOOKING TO BOUNCE BACK

Sunday starter Nathan Eovaldi, 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA over his last three starts, is hoping the Braves serve as an elixir for his struggles.

Eovaldi is 2-2 with a 2.35 in 10 career starts against Atlanta. The only team he's posted numbers against in his career (minimum four starts) is San Diego (1-1, 2.31 ERA).

"They've just been hitting the fastball," Eovaldi said of his struggles. "|'m just trying to mix in the off-speed pitches to get them off the fastball. I'm not throwing it enough for strikes."

Comments

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Dionysus Thelxinoe

Manuel, every time you start using those math skills you honed at FIU, I end up doing numerous double-takes. A minor point is that Furcal didn't only play four games... he played a whopping total of 9!!! More significant is your starting the post with an incredulous reference to the cheapest owner in American sports having opened his wallet and invested... word to the wise... check your math. And if after checking your math, it still looks like he's opened his wallet and invested... check your math again, and keep checking till you get it right.

I couldn't even focus on the rest of your post. You lost me (along with some measure of credibility) with the first sentence.

Heisenberg

Redmond has finally come of age as a manager!!! He spit out six consecutive pointless adages in a single quote!

LeBadouche

Leave Manny alone. He's a julio hiring from way back.

Manny Navarro

Good catch the great Dionysus. You are the man.

I should have known it was nine games for Furcal. I've only written a bunch of other times. Not sure how I screwed that up.

And just so you know, I erased the reference to the Marlins opening their wallets in my notebook before I even read your post now. But thanks again.

Al-Kendall

Stating mostly the obvious, Manny.
If Jones does not come through with a great September, the Marlins will regret not having put him through waivers this month, or traded him in July. Morrison would have worked out better, and Jones' 2015 salary is a big increase from 2014.

Hopefully, the trade for Capps will work out, but the Marlins did have 1B options, and Jones has not provided the power for which he was signed.

Al-Kendall

McGehee is the one who provided most of the veteran leadership on the field. He is struggling with the bat since the All-Star break, which hopefully will not carry over into September.

DR NO

Morrison would have worked out better???? Elmo the Great is batting .235.. OBP.287/SLG.350...Elmo's gone 0 for 15 with 9K's in his last 4 games. Elmo's slammed a mighty 6 HR's in 260AB's. Al-Kendall and Stan M have shown their brilliant scouting ability in touting Elmo the Great. Both have a keen eye for talent. Enjoy those hallucinations with your eyes wide shut.

petey

While Jones may not be the answer at 1B,at least he can stay on the field. Lomo is still an over rated Blo-mo and can get injured during the playing of the National Anthem.

Al-Kendall

Yes, DR NO and petey.
Given others that would have gathered playing time instead of LoMo, the Marlins did not need to sign Jones. However, dealing him for Capps, if the later can have a solid 2015, would be one of the better deals in recent times.

I never thought it was a good idea to sign Jones, and so far his OPS is 0.716 with 13 HR and 45 RBI. Morrison has spent time on the Seattle DL and his OPS is 0.637 with 6 HR and 27 RBI. I was being ironic because LoMo had an August OPS of 0.728 while Jones has been 0.597. Jones also has 13 errors this year, so Bone has not been able to make him any better beyond getting him back to form from his Pirate days.

Yoda

Good job Manny.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

You're welcome Manuel. Way to man up!

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Retrospectively, I believe the real mistake in the Jones signing was projecting him to be more than a platoon player (having had very few ABs against lefties in his final season with Pitt). On the plus side for the Marlins, since Gargoyle Face trades free agent signings after the first season (and before the back loaded salary kicks in), the only way Jones will still be here next season is if no one else wants him.

petey

AL-Kendall...What others at 1b at the beginning of ST? Also ,while Jones is no D.Lee at 1B, the Rawlings he uses can still scoop better than the Walmart Frying Pan that Lomo clanks around with over there.

Flav C.

The real mistake here IMO is to keep comparing Morrison and Jones.

Jones is an everyday 1B whereas Morrison is a platoon guy, hitting against lefties only. However, the Marlins already has Baker for that, who actually have put better numbers against lefties this season than Morrison.

The platoon Baker/Jones has improved considerably from what we had on 1B last season. Still, Jones' performance in clutch situations was way below expectations.

The Marlins might get a better performance from him next season, since it is a contract year for him and he will have to display better numbers in order to be considered a good buy in free agency.

Seattle Slew

Flav C- far be it from me to disagree with a respected baseball Actuary as yourself,but here goes,from the horses mouth. Morrison has been the M's regular at 1B since 7/22 when they sent Justin Smoak down to Tacoma. While Smoak has been smoking the ball in the PCL at a .337 .925OPS clip, Morrison ,ironically has smoked the ball at a .214BA ,.598OPS clip against RIGHTIES in 211 out of 260AB's. Hardly a lefty platoon player. We Mariners fans hope that Jack Z gets rid of Lomo and/or Smoak ,and upgrades our patheic offense at 1B,just like you Marlins fans wish for the Fish.

Flav C.

Seattle Slew, thanks for the info. Actually, we are not disagreeing. When I said Morrison is a platoon player, I meant that's what he should be doing, and not playing everyday..

Sometimes I struggle with my English and my ideas look inarticulate in writing.

Bottom line: all these guys are playing at such low level. It's not even funny.

Seattle Slew

Morrison's performance at the plate so far ,is akin to the steaming pile I leave every morning for the stable boy. Hope that Jack Z shovels Lomo somewhere else,same as my stable boy does every day.

Lou Vales

Just got back from DC and Baltimore---saw some GOOD baseball. Jones and Saltalamacchia literally make me sick BUT!!!!! I will continue to compliment Jones for having a very good looking wife!!! Nothing positive can be said about Saltalamacchia who may be one of the most putrid free agent acquisitions of last 10 years--NOT counting Furcal.

Lou Vales

McGehee also has an attractive wife. The spectre of this entire 1st half having been a fluke probably has her dreading the idea of Cherry Blossoms.Sayanora!!!!

next door neighbor

tastes like sushi

Lou Vales

We should have ALL realized--including myself- that McGehee's first half numbers were an aberration. You can't realistically have your clean up hitter with 3 more home runs than Mike Dunn after nearly 140 games. Eventually those balls had to START FINDING GLOVES and now he is totally shot. I'm sure the parks where the Tokyo Giants play are more conducive to Casey's power. At least I was right about Cosart--I can say that because I know all my comments have been scrutinized and collated for future replication.

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