With a record of 31-24, the Miami Marlins trail the first place Washington Nationals by one game. After a league leading 21 wins in the month of May, the Marlins finally played to their potential and showed they are a team capable of being dominant.
Everything seemed to go right in the month of May for the Marlins. Top hitters Giancarlo Stanton and Hanley Ramirez finally heated up, with stat lines of .343/12/30 and .322/4/20, and top pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle pitched better, going a combined 7-0 after going a combined 1-7 in April. It also helps that the Marlins keep receiving nice surprises from Carlos Zambrano and Omar Infante, who have been playing consistently well since the start of the season.
While Miami's month of May was outstanding, don't get too excited. Remember that this team also went an abysmal 8-14 to start the season in April. After seeing their worst and their best, it's clear the Marlins need some extra help before the deadline.
While most would think help is not needed for a team that had the best the record in May, the Marlins have suffered from slumping starters and unfortunate injuries to Emilio Bonifacio and Austin Kearns. The Marlins need help if they want to remain hot and make a push for the playoffs. Now is the time to fix their problems and trades might be the only answer.
Here are four players that can help the Marlins become even more dangerous.
With Bonifacio out, Chris Coghlan and Bryan Petersen have been taking turns playing center field.
While Coghlan and Petersen are better options defensively than newly-turned center fielder Bonifacio, they lack the offense Bonifacio provides. As of now they are not capable, consistent players and cannot start on a team that is trying to reach the playoffs.
With that said, the Marlins should try to pursue Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins to play center in their big ballpark. While Bonifacio is the current starter, he does not have the experience Span has in center and is not as good of a hitter as Span.
Bonifacio, who has played in 12 less games than Span due to injury, has six more strikeouts than Span in 61 less at-bats. Bonifacio also holds a .268 batting average compared to Span's .286, which ironically reflects both of their career batting averages (.269 and .285 respectively).
While Span is a part of the core group of young stars in Minnesota, he can be expendable if the Twins are offered the right trade. The Twins, currently in the basement of the AL Central, will look to next year and would most likely trade Span for more prospects.
With Span in center, the Marlins would immediately jump to the top of the NL East.
If the Marlins decide to stick with Bonifacio at center, their next best move is to acquire a offensively consistent left fielder.
With Gaby Sanchez struggling, Logan Morrison took over first base while Sanchez was demoted. Once Morrison switched to first, left field became a problem for the Marlins. No offense to Chris Coghlan, but he is offensively inadequate to play for a contender.
While the Marlins can test the water with Greg Dobbs as the starter, he would only be a slight improvement. And with Austin Kearns on the disabled list, the Marlins are in need of a left fielder.
Acquiring Carlos Quentin would benefit the team greatly. Quentin would provide immediate help and can provide more offense in a month compared to what all the other Marlin's left fielders have produced so far. Off the DL for only six games this season, Quentin has already hit five home runs in only 23 at-bats.
The Padres would probably trade Quentin with their team currently in last place, hoping to dump his salary and rebuild. Acquiring Quentin would make the Marlins lineup the deadliest lineup in the National League.
While the Marlins bullpen is doing well this season, another arm never hurts later on in the season.
The Chicago Cubs' lefty James Russell has had a pretty good season so far. In 27 appearances, Russell has only given up five earned runs in 25 innings pitched, compiling a 1.80 ERA. With a WHIP of 1.32 and a 7.56 K/9, Russell can help the Marlins, especially because he's a lefty.
A bullpen can make or break the success of a team, and adding another solid lefty would only benefit the Marlins. While this isn't a necessary trade, the Marlins should pursue him because of the regular wear and tear of a bullpen. Another arm in the 'pen helps maintain a fresh rotation of relievers.
Working out deals for relievers never seems to be as hard as acquiring regular starters, so getting Russell should not be too costly for the Marlins.
John Buck is offensively challenged this year, batting .168 on the season. While Buck has four home runs on the season, he has also struck out 40 times already.
Wilin Rosario may help the Marlins as either a backup or starter. Currently starting with full-time starter Ramon Hernandez on the DL, Rosario has put up decent numbers filling in the starting role. Hitting .248 on the season, Rosario has hit nine balls out of the park, which is a pretty good number for a backup turned starter.
I say he can help as either a starter or backup because the pitching success of the Marlins may go hand in hand with John Buck. Either way, Rosario would be a good pickup for this club.
The Rockies, currently in fourth place in the NL West, may use him as trade bait once Hernandez is healthy. Rosario would fit in well with the Marlins, whether he were placed in a backup or starting role.