The scowl on Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria's face must mean the Marlins are losing and are looking to shop their players at the July 31 trade deadline. Again.
In other words, the Marlins are saying a la Steve Urkel, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"
But for certain players, they might get a helping hand to lift them up if the Marlins decide to trade them to a contender by the July 31 trade deadline.
However, there are probably 26 Marlins on the team's 40-man roster who will have 1,000-to-1 odds of being dealt to another team because of team control, finances or other extenuating circumstances.
So, with 44 days left until the MLB trading deadline, here are the 14 Marlins—from least likely to most likely—who could be traded by July 31.
Veteran third baseman Placido Polanco could help a contender if traded.
Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 500-to-1
Placido Polanco: He's had to deal with minor back issues in March and June, and is having perhaps the worst season of his 17-year career, with a slash line of .234/.293/.266. Heck, does it get worse than having your on-base percentage higher than your slugging percentage?
That said, Polanco has played in 56 of 69 games, so as long as he proves he can stay healthy, some contender might make the Marlins a decent trade offer for the veteran.
Greg Dobbs: Like Polanco, Dobbs is having one of his worst seasons with a slash line of .213/.284/.284. Unlike Polanco, Dobbs is not an everyday player, but he's already made 47 starts this season. Dobbs started a career-high 95 games in 2011.
Despite his struggles, some contender might want Dobbs' left-handed bat off the bench, as he's a career .267 hitter against right-handed pitching. The Braves inquired about Dobbs multiple times last season, but the Marlins declined to trade him because of his clubhouse presence. However, Logan Morrison has returned to first base and Joe Mahoney is waiting in the minors for some playing time, so maybe the Marlins will part with Dobbs this time.
Casey Kotchman: If Dobbs is not traded, the Marlins may deal Kotchman.
The 10-year veteran first baseman has played just six games this season, going hitless in 20 at-bats. He was activated from the 60-day DL on June 3 and then returned to the DL a week later with an oblique injury. With first base looking a little crowded, either Dobbs, Kotchman, or both, could be traded.
Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 250-to-1
Through his first seven starts, Slowey was 1-2 with a 1.81 ERA. Since then, Slowey is 1-4 with a 7.08 ERA in seven appearances. Slowey's best outing during his recent slump actually was in relief, when he struck out eight in seven shutout innings in the Marlins' 2-1, 20-inning victory over the New York Mets on June 8.
On Friday, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Nathan Eovaldi would start on Tuesday, June 18, taking Slowey's scheduled day to pitch. Moreover, Redmond said Slowey would be relegated to long-reliever duties. If the Marlins have no use for Slowey, perhaps they can trade him to a contender that needs to shore up its back-end of the rotation.
Chad Qualls: How much does Qualls have left in the tank?
Thus far, Qualls has been effective at 2-0 with a 3.08 ERA in 26.1 innings, but this is the same guy who pitched for three teams last year and posted a 5.33 ERA. In 2010, Qualls had a 7.32 ERA for two clubs before bouncing back with a 6-8 campaign and a respectable 3.51 ERA in 2011.
If this is another rebound year for Qualls, perhaps a contender could use the 34-year-old's experience and leadership in its bullpen. At the end of the day, Qualls is an arm the Marlins could turn into a future asset, especially since the Marlins currently have other relievers ahead of Qualls in their pecking order.
If a contender is looking for some speed off the bench, Juan Pierre could be someone to keep an eye on.
Odds of being traded by July 31 trade deadline: 100-to-1
Juan Pierre: With a potential logjam in the outfield—assuming the Marlins eventually decide to call up Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick to join Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna—Pierre has the best stock of Marlins' outfielders who could be traded.
Pierre currently has a 13-game hitting streak, including eight multi-hit games (21-for-56, .375) during that stretch, to raise his batting average from .218 to .257. Furthermore, Pierre still has some wheels at the age of 35, as he's sixth in Major League Baseball with 18 steals.
“I’ve been in this situation throughout my career, so you learn not to panic,” the 14-year major league veteran told the Sun-Sentinel about his earlier struggles. “You continue to do the work and that’s pretty much been the key.”
Justin Ruggiano: This is probably the Ruggiano who many expected when the season began.
After hitting .313 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in 288 at-bats last season, Ruggiano has fallen back to earth as he's hit just .223 with eight home runs and 24 RBI in 197 at-bats this season. This season is more in line with Ruggiano's career numbers, which are nothing to behold. Still, perhaps a contender could use a fourth outfielder who could supply some pop with the bat and play all three outfield positions.
Chris Coghlan: The reason that Coghlan is the worst of this trio is his inability to stay on the field.
Coghlan landed on the 15-day DL with a lower back injury, although a spine specialist in Dallas and the team doctor confirmed on Monday that the 27-year-old won't need surgery. Prior to landing on the DL, Coghlan started to resemble the guy who won the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, batting .343 (23-for-67) in 73 plate appearances since May 18.
Mike Dunn could be wearing shades in a different uniform if the right trade proposal comes along.
Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 50-to-1
Mike Dunn: The hard-throwing left-hander is having his best season as a Marlin, which has gotten some teams' attention.
Dunn is currently 2-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 35 appearances.
Steve Cishek: Apparently, Rosenthal and Frisaro have the same intel on the submarine right-hander.
After a slow start as the closer, Cishek has recorded five saves in his last six appearances and has lowered his ERA to 3.68.
"I was a little uptight for a while," Cishek told MLB.com. "Now I'm going out there and just whatever happens happens. That's the best mentality to take when you're coming into a game like that."
Although Cishek is off the market, The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reported one scout projected that Cishek “probably appears on the most wish lists around baseball" during spring training. Keep an eye on any teams with closer issues to see if they may make the Marlins an offer the Fish can't refuse.
Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 25-to-1
Stanton, out since April 29 with a hamstring injury, returned from the disabled list on June 10 and immediately began spraying balls into the stratosphere.
Stanton has hit safely in all seven games since his return (11-for-28, .393) and has smacked four home runs with 10 RBI. His first home run, a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth, gave the Marlins a 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on June 11.
On Monday, Stanton single-handedly beat the Arizona Diamondbacks with a pair of home runs—a two-run bomb followed by a game-winning solo blast off former Marlins closer Heath Bell in the top of the ninth—in a 3-2 win.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond told the Sun-Sentinel that he is thrilled to have Stanton back in the lineup:
His swing looks good. He looks confident, even missing an extended period of time. He's got some big hits. Before he got injured he was feeling his way around. He's not like that now. He's going up there and he feels like he can get a big hit anytime. The good thing is we're starting to get some guys on in front of him and that ensures he gets pitched to. When they have to pitch to a guy like that he can do some damage.
Although the Marlins have said Stanton isn't available, there's a long list of teams wanting to acquire the 23-year-old slugger. So far, the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and the Texas Rangers are some of those teams reportedly to have checked on Stanton since the season began.
The other issue, besides the Marlins rebuffing every outside overture, is what Stanton might fetch at the trade deadline given his slow start and the hamstring injury
"If they trade him in-season, they probably wouldn't get any major league talent," one executive told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark in May. "So given everything that's happened with their team and their attendance, are they really in a position to make a deal for him where they just get back prospects? Probably not. So they're better off keeping him all year and trading him in the offseason, so they're getting some major league pieces in return."
However, a couple of factors works against this logic.
One is that Stanton has quickly rebuilt his value and if he proves he can stay healthy in the next month, his value might never be higher considering he will eligible for arbitration after the season.
Secondly, some teams that have zeroed in on the Stanton sweepstakes might be desperate enough to unload everything, including the kitchen sink in terms of prospects, in order to obtain Stanton for the stretch run.
For instance, if the Phillies feel they are contenders, they could use a right-handed power bat to balance their aging lineup. The Rangers might be compelled to give their offense a shot in the arm since they are 7-14 in their last 21 games and averaging 3.5 runs per game during that stretch.
So while the Marlins maintain Stanton isn't available, all it takes is for some team to throw out an offer the Marlins can't refuse to get their attention.
Miguel Olivo could be looking at playing for his next team after taking a swing against the New York Mets.
Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 10-to-1
Of course, this is all contingent on the Marlins not releasing Miguel Olivo.
Olivo hasn't exactly set the world on fire, hitting .203 with four home runs and nine RBI while being the third-string catcher behind Rob Brantly and Jeff Mathis. Olivo said he has asked for release three times, and each time his request has been denied.
Olivo told David J. Neal of the Miami Herald that he wants out in Miami:
I’m just praying to God they release me and don’t be selfish. I’ve been very professional. I’ve done everything I could to help the team. They’re only hurting one person, and that’s me. I’m a nice person. I don’t want to hurt nobody.
Ryan Webb's salary is expected to exceed $1 million next year, which makes him a perfect candidate for the Marlins to trade.
Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 5-to-1
Unlike Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek, the Marlins have notified inquiring teams Ryan Webb is available.
Part of the reason why Webb is available is because after the season, Webb will be eligible for arbitration for the second time in his career while Dunn and Cishek will be making their first foray into the negotiations.
Webb, though, has been ineffective lately. After starting the season 1-1 with a 1.44 ERA in his first 19 appearances, Webb is 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA in his last 11 appearances.
Nonetheless, seeing how the Marlins can save a few pennies and pick up an asset in one fell swoop, Webb should be gone by the trade deadline.
Odds of being traded by trade deadline: 1-to-2
If there's a sure thing, it's the Marlins trading Ricky Nolasco bu the trade deadline.
In what has been six months in the making, Nolasco's agent, Matt Sosnick, told the team his client wanted to be traded back in December, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Nolasco is actually having his best season in five years, when he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 2008.
“Obviously I think about it,” Nolasco told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald last week. “But I’m not going to drive myself crazy because it’s not up to me. It’s out of my control, and I’m a very big believer in worrying only about things I can control.”
Nolasco is 4-7 with a 3.61 ERA, but he has been betrayed by a lack of run support. The good news is there are already a couple of teams knocking on the Marlins' door for Nolasco's services.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees are at the forefront while CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler reported the San Francisco Giants have expressed interest as well.
"I think he'd be a great addition for somebody, as a No. 3 or 4 [starter]," a scout told Stark. "He's very similar to what Anibal Sanchez was last year. He's not a 1 or a 2. But he's a veteran guy who can go out and spin seven innings, and do it, I think, for a contending team."
What's working against Nolasco is the fact he makes $11.5 million and will become a free agent at the end of the season.
Based on all of the information, a source told MLB.com's Joe Frisaro that the Marlins will likely get a mid-level prospect for Nolasco.