The Marlins, owners of a 34-40 record, have plenty of baseball to play before committing as a buyer or seller at the August 2nd Trade Deadline. Given that record however, Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald spoke with Miami GM Kim Ng about the club’s upcoming plans given their likely status as deadline sellers.
Ng, like most front office members in June, didn’t throw the towel in on the season, but admitted the team will need to close the gap in the NL East (13 games back of the Mets) or Wild Card race (7 games back of the Cardinals) if her club is to pursue veteran additions at the deadline: “[Y]ou want to be within striking distance. I hope we get there. The club is playing a lot better this month than they were last month. We’re getting healthier.”
Ng also added that the club will be ready to increase its payroll in the right scenario: “If we feel that we’re within that striking distance, I think [owner Bruce Sherman] will continue to be supportive.” That striking distance won’t be easy to obtain, of course, as two competitive clubs in the Giants and Phillies are currently blocking Miami from even sniffing the Wild Card spots held by the Padres, Braves, and Cardinals.
Should the club end up selling in a month’s time, Mish and Jackson speculate that the team has a few bullpen arms that will be in high demand. The most likely candidates include Anthony Bass (1.74 ERA in 31 innings) and lefty Steven Okert (2.28 ERA in 23 plus innings), two relievers in their thirties with club control that extends beyond this season. Given the club’s crop of pitching on the farm and several other arms of note already in the bullpen, either veteran reliever figures to be expendable if it helps strengthen the club next season.
Interestingly, Mish and Jackson cite the back of the bullpen as an area to improve via trade if the club heats up in the next month. As buyers the club also figures to target “a high-end center fielder,” per the report, though center field will likely be an area to watch even if the team is selling, thanks to the underperformance and misalignment of the team’s current outfield unit. Center field has been an area of focus for Miami dating back to the offseason, but they’ve yet to find a sufficient everyday solution and have instead regularly trotted out a carousel of miscast corner bats.
The Marlins currently hold a 3.9% chance of making the playoffs in the eyes of FanGraphs, but plenty of time remains for the club to turn into bullpen buyers over Steven Okert sellers. Turnarounds from 2021 All-Star Trevor Rogers plus offseason acquisitions Avisail Garcia and Jacob Stallings could go a long way in bolstering a club that is otherwise receiving sneakily elite production atop its rotation and throughout its lineup.