With the Florida Marlins making their ascent to the .500 mark and possible playoff aspiration, the team is becoming less like a possible seller and perhaps more of a buyer come July 31st.
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports is reporting that the Marlins are lowering their stance on trading starting pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez after their were talks in recent days of teams showing interest.
Instead, the Marlins will listen to offers for pitchers Javier Vazquez (who has a no-trade clause), Randy Choate (in first year of two-year contract), and Leo Nunez (can become free agent after 2012).
For the Marlins, their reason to keep Nolasco and Sanchez is obvious, they are entering a new ballpark in 2012 with aspirations to compete with the powerhouse Braves and Phillies and will need a complete starting rotation to do so.
This season, the Marlins have struggled with starting pitching depth with the injuries of Josh Johnson, Alex Sanabia (minors) and Sean West (minors).
So much so that the Marlins have had a pair of bullpen days in the wake of losing ace Josh Johnson and have had to rush up Brad Hand and now convert Clay Hensley back to his old role as a starter.
On top of that, they had to deal with the struggles of Javier Vazquez and Chris Volstad, the senior of which has turned a corner lately, with a 1.69 ERA in his last six starts.
If the Marlins continue to win games, they are likely to keep Randy Choate, Javier Vazquez and Leo Nunez in that order, with Nunez likely being the odd man out anyways, especially, if the team can acquire a minor league arm on the cusp of being major league ready in the near future.
Quick Preview to Offseason Moves
According to Marlins beat writer Joe Frisaro, owner Jeffrey Loria is looking to upgrade by adding a starting pitcher and third baseman but likely not before the July 31st trade deadline.
If the Marlins were pull back into the playoff race in August, you could see the Marlins making a run for Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez who is hesitant to waive his 10-5 (10 years experience, five with the same franchise) rights to be traded like his teammate Derrick Lee last season to the Angels.
But Miami is close by to the Dominican Republic, which would be an incentive for Ramirez to come to the Marlins.
Ramirez would have to waive his 2012 option which kicks in with a trade, an option worth $16 million.
Currently, the Marlins heir apparent to the hot corner, Matt Dominguez, is hitting .240/.300/.403 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs at AAA New Orleans. Dominguez, barring injury, is a lock to get a promotion to the major leagues in September to see how he performs.
An interesting note on Dominguez, his splits speak volumes to his possible role as a platoon (perhaps with Greg Dobbs) if he were to get the callup, he his .320 versus LHP and .212 versus RHP.
Furthermore, Dominguez seems to fall in line with the Josh Hamilton syndrome (blue eyes in day games), he is hitting .081 in day games versus a solid .277 in night games for New Orleans.
In the starting pitching department, the Marlins will cross their fingers on a return by Josh Johnson and added reinforcements when rosters expand from 25 to 40 in September.
The Rainbow Marlins?
Maury Brown, president of the Business of Sports Network has tweeted that he has gotten a look at the Marlins logo and that fans should expect to see an assortment of Skittles splashed on it.
Certainly, its not good news of those expecting it to be teal, black, or dark blue. Personal opinion here, what does red present? Blood? Ketchup? Yellow? Mustard?
Maybe trying to include a color from each South Florida franchise (Miami Heat, Florida Panthers, Miami Dolphins)?
Right now, I'm not feeling those colors, and I'm certain Billy the Marlins wouldn't be either, I have never seen a Marlin with the color red on it and there is no word from Brown on what color is the most prominent.
But remember, owner Jeffrey Loria is an art dealer and his hands certainly would be all over this.
An official announcement on the logo and color scheme is expected on Nov. 11, 2011.
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