The Miami Marlins (41-55) managed to avoid the three-game sweep in Washington on Wednesday, despite playing with a depleted roster. This post-All-Star stretch has seemingly doomed the season for the Fish. It’s placed all of the fan focus on the looming trade deadline.
The Marlins entered Wednesday’s contest having lost four-in-a-row and eight of their last 10. The only stretch of play worse for Miami this season was a disastrous 1-8 road trip in late May/early June.
As the team returns home, six games remain before MLB’s Trade Deadline. The Marlins face one of the best squads in the NL (San Diego) before a quick two-game series against the AL’s worst (Baltimore). It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the Marlins are not sellers come July 30th.
Marlins Overmatched in Washington
The Marlins came out of the All-Star break reeling from another spate of injuries. Prior to games resuming, Miami lost both Jesus Sanchez and Pablo Lopez to the injured list. Then, during a difficult series in Philadelphia, the team saw two more key contributors hurt in Jazz Chisholm and Garrett Cooper.
Beyond that, Sandy Alcantara was placed on the Bereavement List and the roster shuffle continued. Missing their top talent led the Marlins to a 18-1 drubbing in Washington. The team continues to mix-and-match replacement level players with little success. Instead of calling up high-performing prospects like Bryson Brigman or Edward Cabrera, the team continued to cycle through lesser talent.
Since resuming the season on July 16, the Marlins have recalled Isan Diaz and Lewis Brinson, neither of whom have made much impact at the MLB level. The team also selected the contracts of pitchers Luis Madero and Andrew Bellatti. Both pitchers continued Miami’s trend of selecting players who will go unclaimed through the DFA process.
Bellatti hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015. That season, he tossed 23.1 innings for the Rays, posting a 2.31 ERA. In his season debut for the Marlins, Bellatti surrendered five earned runs in 1.1 IP in Washington.
Madero returned from Jacksonville to fill out the taxed bullpen. In two stints with Miami this season, Madero’s allowed five earned runs over 3.0 IP.
Nick Neidert, meanwhile, had his best performance of the season. He went a career-high 5.0 IP, allowing just three hits and one earned run. Neidert did walk three and hit a batter, but overall, his performance likely bought him another spot start.
Jordan Holloway has also pitched well of late and could get another turn in the rotation.
Trade Deadline Looms as Marlins Leave Washington
Returning home, Miami sits a season-worst 10.5 games behind the Mets (50-43). This trip also saw the Marlins slip to a season-worst 15 games below .500 before Wednesday’s win in Washington. Barring a miracle run, Miami will miss the playoffs. This also means the remainder of 2021 should be about evaluating young talent.
“We’re going to get a chance to obviously look at some guys,” Don Mattingly said. “Guys are going to get experience. They’re going to get chances, so we’ll see where it goes.”
The Marlins continue to churn the bottom end of the 40-man to plug holes at the Major League level. But those players are roster fodder to avoid losing more prized prospects to potential DFAs.
Additionally, Miami currently houses six players on the 60-day IL, but July 25 marks Brian Anderson’s return date. And both Daniel Castano and Elieser Hernandez could return in August. Each of those returns would dictate a roster move.
The most likely moves now will come via trade. The Marlins boast a number of assets, headlined by Starling Marte. Jesus Aguilar, as well as Yimi Garcia and other relievers, could prove potentially valuable to a contender, too.
Rumors link Marte to the Astros, Phillies and Yankees, but Craig Mish recently reported that the San Francisco Giants could be the top suitor. The Giants sport an intriguing outfield prospect in Heliot Ramos, but Miami would likely need to send more than merely Marte to land him. The Giants, though, do have needs in the bullpen and starting rotation.
The Yankees, meanwhile, could certainly use Marte, as well as Aguilar, who would fill a void in New York at first base. The Yankees and Astros both have the prospect capital Miami would want in return for these veterans.
Up Next: vs San Diego Padres (56-42)
The Marlins return home to face one of the top teams in the National League. San Diego sports a transcendent talent in Fernando Tatis Jr, as well as one of the best starting rotations in the Bigs. The Padres currently sit third in the highly competitive NL West and can’t afford a slip in Miami.
The Marlins have not played San Diego since 2019, when they took four of six games from the Pads that year. Much has changed since then, though.
The Padres are 5-5 over their last 10 games, with a .288 batting average and 5.21 team ERA. But their eastern road swing has been marred by rain, and a shooting outside of the stadium in Washington.
Tatis leads San Diego in batting average (.295), home runs (29), RBI (66). and OPS (1.029). Miami native Manny Machado helps man the left side of the infield for the Padres. He’s hitting .276 with a .854 OPS, 16 homers and 65 RBI.
The Marlins will likely face the best of San Diego’s rotation in this four-game set. LHP Blake Snell (3-3, 5.21 ERA) goes Thursday. Then it’s RHP Joe Musgrove (5-7, 3.14), LHP Ryan Weathers (4-2, 2.91) and RHP Yu Darvish (7-4, 3.09). Miami’s familiar with Snell and Darvish from their time with the Rays and Cubs respectively. Weathers, meanwhile, is the son of former Marlins pitcher David Weathers.
The Marlins selected the elder Weathers from the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1992 Expansion Draft. Primarily a starter in his time with (then) Florida, Weather pitched with the Marlins from 1993 to 1996, when he was traded to the New York Yankees for Mark Hutton.
This four-game series stands as the Marlins last home set prior to the July 30th trade deadline.