Larry Beinfest wouldn’t indicate whether the Marlins intended to buy, sell or stand pat with the current roster as the July 31 trade deadline fast approaches. But the Marlins president of baseball operations acknowledged to reporters that “we’ve put ourselves in a tough spot” because of underperformance in almost every phase of the game.
“I’d like to think we have the pieces here,” Beinfest said. “But it hasn’t happened. We have a bunch of guys who are well below their career averages. You could say there’s plenty of room for improvement. But every day we keep waiting for that to happen. I don’t think [we had] unwarranted expectations. We just haven’t quite got there.”
The Marlins traded for first baseman Carlos Lee just before the All-Star break but lost Giancarlo Stanton to a knee injury almost immediately — “right on cue,” Beinfest said facetiously.
A major-league source said the Marlins haven’t yet launched distress flares and gone into seller’s mode.
But if that occurs over the coming two weeks, teams would be most interested in pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who can become a free agent after the season, and second baseman Omar Infante, who has one year remaining on an affordable contract.
The Detroit Tigers are believed to have interest in Infante and might have already contacted the infielder, the source said.
Reliever Edward Mujica is due to come off the disabled list on Sunday and return to the Marlins bullpen.
“We’ll have to make a tough decision,” manager Ozzie Guillen said of deciding which player will be moved off the roster to create room for Mujica.
Ready to be booed
When the Marlins visit Wrigley Field next week, Guillen said he doesn’t expect to receive a pleasant reception from Cubs fans, who didn’t care for him when he was managing the cross-town Chicago White Sox. He said former Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano will likely hear plenty of boos, as well.
“If I’m next to him, they don’t know which one they’re going to boo,” Guillen said. “It’ll be interesting and fun. How many people does it hold? 35,000? 30,000? They expect to boo Ozzie and Carlos. Please. Cubs need the money to rebuild the ballclub.”
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (8-6, 4.35 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (9-2, 2.82), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Monday: Marlins RHP Carlos Zambrano (4-7, 4.20) vs. Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (5-4, 3.73), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: The Nationals plan to shut down Strasburg for the rest of the season — whether or not they are in playoff contention — once he reaches 160 innings. He enters Sunday’s game with 99 innings pitched.