The Marlins on Wednesday afternoon hit the reset button on a pair of largely unsuccessful off-season acquisitions.
But then the button got stuck.
There was a deal in place to send right-hander Mat Latos, first baseman Michael Morse and a 2016 Competitive Balance draft pick (currently No. 35 overall) to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for three minor-league prospects yet to be determined.
But the deal was then held up for hours, left in limbo for unspecified reasons.
“I’ve read and heard the same things you guys have,” Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. “But I’ve not heard anything official from [president of baseball operations] Michael Hill. Right now, it’s just a lot of talk and hearsay.”
Jennings, though, acknowledged that Latos and Morse were not warming up with the team, but were with the team and in uniform for Wednesday’s game. Both players were notified earlier in the day that they had been traded.
“I do see two people missing,” Jennings said. “I would say they are in a holding pattern, pending.”
If the trade were to go through, the Marlins will clear $8.7 million from this year’s payroll, along with the deal that sent reliever Steve Cishek to the Cardinals on Friday.
Before the snag, the Dodgers were set to pick up the $8 million owed to Morse next year. The delay in the deal might have been because the Dodgers, who are set at first base with Adrian Gonzalez, were trying to flip Morse to another team.
The Dodgers, with little depth in their rotation behind All-Stars Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke — those two have combined for more than 45 percent of the team’s rotation innings — were thought to be willing to take on Morse’s salary just so they could add Latos.
Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to trade right-hander Dan Haren, whose contract expires after this season.
Furthermore, the Cleveland Indians have shown interest in trading for Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna, who slumped this year and is currently in Triple A.
Both Morse (Nova) and Latos (Coconut Creek) played high school ball in Broward County, but their 2015 homecomings proved highly unsuccessful.
Morse, 33, signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Marlins. But the deal was a disaster as Morse hit just .214 with four homers and 12 RBI in 52 games.
It would seem that a big right-handed hitter such as Morse — he is 6-5 and 245 pounds — would crush lefty pitching. But he hit just .091 in 22 at-bats against lefties this year, with no homers and no RBI.
He was an even bigger flop at home, hitting .149 with no homers. He also had a .171 on-base percentage and a .176 slugging average.
Much of that futility happened before he got hurt, but Jennings said Morse’s sprained right finger injury on May 24 was part of the problem.
“Early, he had some injuries, and that set him back,” Jennings said. “He had that [finger injury], and anytime as a hitter that you are dealing with a hand or a wrist [injury], that’s tough. It took some time for that to heal.”
Latos, 27, is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA this year. If those numbers stand, it would be highest ERA since his rookie season and his first losing season since 2011.
But Latos has pitched better of late, turning in four consecutive quality starts with at least six innings and three or less runs. In those four starts, he has a 2.08 ERA.
“It was almost a season of two halves [for Latos] — pre-injury and then when he came back,” Jennings said. “His last seven starts, he has been outstanding.
“He has shown that once he was healthy that he is the difference-maker we knew he could be.”
Miami Herald Sportswriter Clark Spencer contributed to this report.