The Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline might have come and gone, but the Marlins weren’t done dealing.
The team on Saturday acquired situational lefty relief specialist Hunter Cervenka from the Braves for two minor-league prospects, infielder Anfernee Seymour and left-handed pitcher Michael Mader.
“We feel like these last 53 games are going to be difficult, and we want to give [manager Don Mattingly] every opportunity to have as many weapons as possible,” said Michael Hill, the Marlins’ president of baseball operations. “We just want to give ourselves every opportunity to play October baseball.”
Cervenka’s numbers have been impressive, especially against lefty hitters. In 50 appearances out of the bullpen for the Braves, the 26-year-old rookie has gone 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. Left-handed batters have hit just .145 against him. He has struck out 35 batters in 34 2/3 innings for Atlanta.
But Cervenka has also dealt with control issues, as evidence by his walk rate of more than six per nine innings. Hill said he believes it’s something that pitching coach Juan Nieves and vice president of pitching development Jim Benedict can fix.
“[They] feel there’s some things we can address with him that hopefully allows him to be more consistent in the strike zone, because when he is he’s very difficult to hit,” Hill said.
The Marlins are giving up a young speedster in Seymour — 36 stolen bases for Single A Greensboro (North Carolina) — and a lefty minor-league arm in Mader — 7-6, 3.50 ERA for Single A Jupiter. Mader was the Marlins’ third-round pick in 2014, and Seymour was taken in the seventh round that same year.
Cervenka gives Mattingly a much-needed lefty specialist he can employ in late-inning matchup situations. The Marlins’ incumbent left-hander, Mike Dunn, has never been significantly more effective against left-handers than he’s been facing right-handed swingers.
burying the beard
When Andrew Cashner said he literally buried his beard after shaving it off to conform to the Marlins’ ban on facial hair, believe him. Cashner’s father worked in the mortuary business, and he used to help him dig the graves and mow the cemetery grass.
“It’s a sore subject, still,” Cashner said of having to shave his bushy beard after the Padres traded him to the Marlins. “I don’t like it. But what can you do? I hate shaving. I think my beard is a part of me as a person and who I am.”
Cashner isn’t the only Marlin who doesn’t care for the team’s facial hair policy, which was restored before the season after the rule was relaxed for a few years. Players have complained about it privately but have no choice in the matter. A rule is a rule.
Cashner said shaving off a distinctive beard he wore for years wasn’t pleasant.
“It took a while,” Cashner said. “It’s probably one of the saddest days I’ve ever had. It stinks, but what are you going to do?”
Cashner didn’t just wash the stubble down the sink.
“I buried it,” he said.
The clean-shaven Cashner made his second start for the Marlins on Saturday night. The Marlins obtained him as a two-month rental in their bid to reach the postseason. And, from the sounds of it, a rental Cashner will always be unless the Marlins relax their policy on facial hair. Cashner can become a free agent after the season.
“That’ll be the nice thing about free agency, kind of choose a place that [allows facial hair],” Cashner said. “It’s a big deal to me.”
▪ Major League Baseball is taking a look at the Colin Rea trade, which went up in flames when the pitcher sustained a season-ending arm injury in his first start with the Marlins.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the league is looking into whether the Padres failed to disclose an existing injury with Rea before trading him to the Marlins, along with Cashner. Olney’s sources told him that Rea informed the Marlins he was receiving treatment on the arm before the Padres traded him. After Rea’s injury came to full light, the Marlins traded him back to the Padres for minor-league prospect Luis Castillo. Rea has since undergone Tommy John surgery.
▪ A.J. Ramos rebounded from his meltdown in Chicago on Wednesday by closing out Friday night’s 5-3 comeback win over the Rockies. Ramos didn’t use it as an excuse after his nightmarish ninth inning in Chicago, but an injury to his throwing hand could have had something to do with it.
Ramos jammed his fingers while fielding a ball during the Marlins’ recent homestand, and he’s been applying ice regularly to keep the swelling down.
“I’m a guy that spins the ball a lot, and a lot of that has to do with my fingers,” Ramos said. “And me not being able to spin the ball as well obviously factored into Wednesday.”
▪ Sunday: Marlins LHP Adam Conley (7-6, 3.41 ERA) at Colorado Rockies RHP Jon Gray (8-4, 3.77), 4:10 p.m., Coors Field.
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (12-6, 2.87) vs. San Francisco Giants RHP Johnny Cueto (13-3, 2.73), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.