12 Possible Players Who Won't Be Back with the Miami Marlins Next Season
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The July 31 trade deadline has come and gone, so for many teams, the hunt for October is on.
Except for the Miami Marlins.
Since the advent of the Wild Card in 1995, the Marlins have held a playoff spot or was within five games or less of a postseason berth/National League East Division lead on this date five times (2009, 2008, 2005, 2003, 1997). But like the other 13 times, the standings on this date in the 2013 season represents the Marlins are looking toward next year.
And let's face it, the Marlins are infamous for the players that have left the organization during the offseason.
There were the seven fire sale trades the Marlins completed after winning the 1997 World Series, the 2007 trade of the eventual first Triple Crown winner since 1967 and the 12-player fire sale trade last offseason that made owner Jeffrey Loria persona non grata in Miami as well as Major League Baseball.
So, who's leaving this year? Well, we are fairly certain it isn't 23-year-old slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
At the trade deadline, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the Pittsburgh Pirates made repeated attempts to work a deal for Stanton and, according to another source, made an offer that caught the attention of Miami's front office.
Another report, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, claimed the Pirates offered Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie for Stanton, Steve Cishek and Justin Ruggiano. However, such an offer was never made.
Frisaro added the Marlins are hoping to build around Stanton and plan on discussing a multi-year deal with him after the season. ESPN.com's Buster Olney said if Stanton doesn’t want to sign, then this winter will be the most logical time to deal the slugger.
There are two factors that make Stanton staying with the Marlins in 2014 a real possibility.
First, Rosenthal reports Loria is hell-bent on winning in the near future to prove he made the right baseball decisions when he tore the roster apart. When it comes to Loria and emotional decisions, this one seems to be on the money.
Secondly, there was this anonymous comment about Stanton's trade prospects relayed to Olney.
He is tough to trade, because they’ll want clean-up hitter return for a 5-6 hole hitter in a decent lineup. He has great power potential, but he lacks consistency.
With Stanton probably staying put, here are 12 Marlins on the team's 40-man roster, from order of least important to most important, who will have reasons to not be back next season.
Matt Diaz, Austin Kearns, Casey Kotchman
Thus far, Casey Kotchman, right, has played in just six games for the Marlins this season. Chances are he won't return in 2014.
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What do Matt Diaz, Austin Kearns and Casey Kotchman have in common this season?
Diaz, Kearns and Kotchman are a trio of veterans who have produced little and probably aren't expected to make a contribution for the rest of the year.
Diaz signed a minor league contract late in Spring Training following his release from the New York Yankees, according to the Associated Press. All he has done during his Marlins career is accumulate three hits in 18 at-bats in 10 games before landing on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee bone bruise May 20, according to MLB.com. On July 4, Diaz was transferred to the 60-day DL.
In a way, Diaz continued his legend as a Marlin-killer. Diaz came into the season as a career .360 hitter against the Marlins, with 10 homers and 29 RBIs. By not producing, he might have killed a roster spot on the team.
As little as Diaz provided, Kotchman has been worse so far.
Kotchman signed a minor league contract in the offseason as insurance in case Logan Morrison wasn't ready to begin the season. All he has done for the Marlins is play six games with 20 hitless at-bats.
Two days into the 2013 season, Kotchman headed to the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, according to the Associated Press. Kotchman returned on June 3, only to land on the DL a week later with an oblique injury, according to MLB.com. Recently, he was sent on a rehab assignment with the Advanced Single-A Jupiter Hammerheads.
Unlike Diaz and Kotchman, Kearns has an excuse for his poor performance that is out of his control.
Kearns re-signed with the Marlins in the offseason after hitting .245 in 87 games last year, according to the Miami Herald. This season, though, Kearns accrued just five hits in 27 at-bats in 19 games.
Kearns was placed on the bereavement list May 5 for family-related reasons. A week later, Kearns was placed on Major League Baseball's restricted list, according to MLB.com.
Last month, Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest gave an update on Kearns to the Sun-Sentinel:
He’s a got a very difficult family situation. It’s terrible and we feel for him. It’s getting late already. He’s missed a lot of time. It would take him a while to ramp up now considering he’s been out for two months. He’d have to beat the clock to get back this year probably.
While this trio hasn't cost the Marlins a fortune, it's doubtful the team would want any one of them back after they combined for eight hits in 65 at-bats, unless it's on a minor league contract.
Outfield prospect Alfredo Silverio never recovered from his injuries. As a result of the rules of the Rule 5 draft, he will be sent back to his previous team.
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When the Marlins selected Alfredo Silverio in the Rule 5 Draft, the plan was if Silverio wasn't healthy by Opening Day, the Marlins could retain him by placing him on the disabled list until he is ready.
Well, Silverio never became ready.
Silverio underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career June 29 and is not expected to return until 2014, according to MLB.com.
Silverio, 26, is considered a five-tool outfielder who missed all of 2012 thanks to temporary memory loss and Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow after being involved in a one-car accident in the Dominican Republic. Before the tragic event, Silverio had a breakout season in 2011, hitting .306 with 16 home runs and 85 RBI in 132 games at Double-A Chattanooga.
Shortly before Spring Training began, Silverio expressed a desire to remain with the Marlins.
“I’m going to stay here,” Silverio said to the Miami Herald. “...I think this is the best opportunity I’ve had in my career to reach my goals."
However, Silverio sprained his right elbow a few weeks in early March, according to MLB.com, and never returned.
According to the rules of the Rule 5 Draft, the Marlin must keep Silverio on the 25-man roster for the entire season, and he must remain active (not on the disabled list) for a minimum of 90 days. Since Silverio won't be on the active roster for at least 90 days, he can be offered back to the team (Los Angeles Dodgers) from which he was selected for $25,000. If his original team declines, the receiving team may waive the player.
Greg Dobbs, Juan Pierre, Placido Polanco
Juan Pierre is the least likely player who will not be back next season between himself, Greg Dobbs and Placido Polanco—three players who began the season as starters and are now bench players.
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Let's try this again.
What do Greg Dobbs, Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco have in common this season?
This trio are Marlins players who started the year with major roles but have seen their playing time dwindle as the season progressed.
For Dobbs, he was pressed into starting duty when Kotchman hurt his hamstring in the second game of the season.
Up until June 19, Dobbs started 48 of the 62 games he played in and produced a mediocre slash line of .216/.290/.286. But since June 20, Dobbs returned to his bench role, starting just two out of 25 games he's played in, and has collected 10 hits in 28 at-bats.
Simply put, Dobbs is much more effective as a pinch-hitter. Moreover, Dobbs provides a positive influence as the Marlins declined to trade him last season because of his clubhouse presence even though the Braves inquired about him multiple times, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
Dobbs is a free agent after the season, and it's really hard to see a scenario where the Marlins bring Dobbs back at his current salary. For a team as cash-strapped as the Marlins, would they really continue to pay Dobbs $1.5 million to pinch-hit and start once a month? If so, sounds like a misuse of funds.
Pierre makes slightly more than Dobbs after signing a one-year, $1.6 million contract in the offseason, according to ESPN.com. Pierre began the season as the team's everyday left fielder until July 23, which was when the Marlins promoted Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick.
Turning 36 years old today, Pierre told the Miami Herald there is a strong possibility 2013 could be his last in the majors:
I’m not going to cry once I’m done playing. They can come and take away my jersey right now, and I’ll be fine. I’ll be OK with it either way. Looking back, I would have never thought I’d play one day in the big leagues, let alone 13 years. So I’m grateful for all the time I did it.
But if Pierre were to return to the Marlins for another season, he could be a valuable backup outfielder/leadoff hitter. Here are three scenarios where the Marlins might bring Pierre back:
- Marisnick continues to scuffle between now and the end of Spring Training next year. He currently has a .186/.230/.243 slash line in 70 at-bats with the Marlins.
- The Marlins trade Stanton.
- The Marlins trade or non-tender Justin Ruggiano. In 320 at-bats in 2012, Ruggiano's slash line was .313/.374/.535 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI. In 327 at-bats in 2013, Ruggiano's slash line is .194/.273/.354 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI. Ruggiano is eligible for arbitration in the offseason.
Of course, Pierre could walk away. After all, the Marlins gauged the trade market for Pierre a day before the July 31 trade deadline without a bite, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported.
In that same tweet, Olney reported the Marlins did the same with Polanco.
Polanco signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal in the offseason, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, and was the Marlins starting third baseman when the season began. While Polanco's playing time hasn't declined as sharply as Dobbs or Pierre, Polanco's slash line is hardly worth noticing as it's .254/.308/.294.
Polanco's play has hardly been inspiring, which is probably why the Yankees didn't warm to the idea of trading for Polanco at the July 31 trade deadline, Rosenthal reported. Polanco was also placed on waivers on August 2, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reported, but no team has claimed the 37-year-old veteran.
With Polanco having his worst season since 1999, it's highly unlikely the Marlins would want Polanco to return at his current salary. With a smaller salary and a smaller role, perhaps a deal can be struck, but that's hard to see right now.
After another injury-marred year, Chris Coghlan's days as a Marlin might come to an end.
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Chris Coghlan's days as a Marlin could be coming to an end.
Since winning the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year (.321 batting average, nine home runs and 47 RBI), Coghlan has been set back by ineffectiveness and injury. From 2010 to 2012, Coghlan played just 195 out of 486 games and hit .238 with 11 home runs and 60 RBI.
It got so bad, the Marlins tried to move him to another team. Peter Gammons reported the Boston Red Sox as a potential landing spot in a three-way deal.
Once the season began, Coghlan toiled on the bench, and it took more than six weeks until Coghlan found himself in the everyday lineup on May 18. But that didn't last long as Coghlan landed on the 15-day disabled list on June 9 with a nerve irritation in his right calf, according to cbssports.com.
During the 18-game stretch as a starter, Coghlan hit .343 with one home run and nine runs batted in in 67 at-bats.
Coghlan has been unable to stay healthy for four consecutive seasons, was a trade candidate last offseason and will be in his second year of arbitration this offseason. Add it all up and Coghlan is a prime candidate to be traded or non-tendered after the season.
Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, Chad Qualls, Ryan Webb
Among the quartet of Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, Chad Qualls and Ryan Webb, one will probably leave. Will it be Webb?
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While Stanton rumors swirled and 21-year-old pitching phenom Jose Fernandez dazzled, the Marlins bullpen has flown under the radar.
The Marlins top five relievers—Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, Chad Qualls, A.J. Ramos and Ryan Webb—sport an earned run average of 3.38 or better and have all appeared in at least 49 games. That's quite an accomplishment considering the Marlins have only had one complete game by a starting pitcher (Jacob Turner) all year.
And as the July 31 trade deadline loomed closer, teams called the Marlins to see if any of those bullpen arms were available. When the offseason begins, Ramos might be the only one who will be staying put, since he won't be arbitration-eligible until after the 2015 season.
As for Cishek, Dunn, Qualls and Webb, it all depends. It's almost a certainty one of the quartet will depart. There's a small chance two will be gone. After all, all four pitchers attracted interest from many teams, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reported.
The easiest scenario has Qualls, who is earning $1.15 million this season, leaving as a free agent, thus, the Marlins deciding to retain Cishek, Dunn and Webb.
But regardless of what happens with Qualls, Webb might be traded as well. Between Cishek, Dunn and Webb, the Marlins told interested teams Cishek and Dunn were off limits, but didn't indicate the same was true for Webb. The Miami Herald and MLB.com reported Webb was a candidate to be traded, but it seemed no one bit on the right-handed reliever.
Webb will earn $975,000 this season and will eligible for arbitration a second time after the season ends. Meanwhile, Cishek and Dunn will be eligible for arbitration for the first time in the offseason.
Dunn is the team's only reliable left-handed reliever, and the Marlins told the Atlanta Braves they won't trade him about a week before the July 31 trade deadline, according to CBS Sports' Danny Knobler.
Cishek could be due for a big pay raise from his $505,000 salary as the team's closer (3-6 record, 2.91 ERA, 25 saves). But as MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reported, Cishek wasn't made available because with so much strong, young starting pitching, the Marlins are counting on a reliable closer to secure wins. The organization doesn’t want to demoralize its young pitching by having late leads disappear. For another club to acquire Cishek, its bidding likely would have to start with their No. 1 prospect.
Somebody is going to go, the question is who. To recap, in order of most likely to least likely, which reliever will be leaving the Marlins: