With the season all but over, Ozzie Guillen is taking a hard look at his players to see who returns next season.
With just 31 games left in what has been a dismal, disappointing season, all manager Ozzie Guillen said he wants is to figure out which players might really be able to help the Marlins in 2013.
“There’s a meeting coming up pretty soon with the front office and we’re going to evaluate what we have, to see where we’re going,” Guillen said Wednesday. “A lot of names are going to come up. We have to be patient and very realistic about what ballclub we’ll have in the future — and try to see the real thing.
“I don’t care what guys did in the past. I think right now, after the year we’ve had, I think we have a better idea of what players we have and how to move ahead with them in the future.”
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Two players at the top of the “under evaluation list” are right-handers Jacob Turner, 21, and Nathan Eovaldi, 22, who were the main pieces acquired by the Marlins in their two biggest moves before the trade deadline.
Guillen said Wednesday there is no guarantee either will be in the rotation next season. But so far, he likes more of what he’s seen from Turner, who shined for three innings Wednesday night before getting lit up in the fourth.
Still, Turner (0-2, 6.55 ERA) has 11 strikeouts and no walks in his 11 innings of work with the Marlins — and that’s something Guillen really likes.
Eovaldi, who will take the mound again Friday against the Mets, has issued more walks (18) than strikeouts (16) in his six Marlins starts (3-3, 5.33 ERA) — and that’s something Guillen doesn’t like at all.
“They got good arms, very good arms,” Guillen said. “But I think Turner is cleaner. Eovaldi needs to clean it up a little bit, his mechanics.
“What I’m looking for is strikes. I think Eovaldi, every time he has problems, it’s because he can’t find the strike zone. Turner did great [in his first start], threw strikes, attacked the strike zone and that’s what I look for. Right now, we want to see them get their feet wet and see this big league stint, and then we’ll make a decision for next year.”
Catcher John Buck, who was behind the plate for Eovaldi’s first four Marlins starts, and for both of Turner’s with Miami, said in terms of “pure stuff” both have it.
Buck said Eovaldi can “make mistakes and get away with it because of [how] deceptive he is and how sharp everything is.” But there’s no doubt, Buck said, Eovaldi is “still learning how effective that sharpness is and how nasty he really is.”
Eovaldi, who said he’s throwing between 92 and 96 mph with his fastball, said he’s still trying to establish trust in his changeup. And that’s a big hurdle he needs to overcome.
“During the game, I get into attack mode and never really throw it,” Eovaldi said of his changeup. “But in my bullpens I’ve been throwing it and working on it a lot. It’s a huge trust pitch for me. Being able to trust it and let it go is the next step. That, and my curveball — I want to throw it any count and flip it in there for a quality strike. I haven’t been able to do that enough.”
Buck said Eovaldi (6-2, 215) reminds him a lot of Wade Miller, a former Astros, Red Sox and Cubs pitcher whose career was cut short by injury. Miller went 62-46 with a 4.10 ERA in his career.
“His arm action, his stuff, he was just filthy,” Buck said of Miller, whom he caught in the minors. “The stuff I’m catching from Eovaldi is similar to that because he’s so short and compact, kind of a funky release that is free and easy. His first throw out of the gate is like 90. It’s just natural for him.”
Turner (6-5, 210) reminds Buck of two starting pitchers currently in the team’s clubhouse.
“From the one game I caught and watching him in his tapes in Detroit, he strikes me as one of those guys like [Mark] Buehrle and Josh [Johnson],” Buck said. “If he wins or loses, he’s kind of like that even-keel guy with his emotions and stuff, which is a valuable asset for a starting pitcher. He’s an innings eater. He has that sinker, that cutter, he can go deep into the games just by throwing fastballs.”
Both pitchers know the next month is a huge opportunity to make an impression. And Eovaldi realizes he’s a bit behind.
“I’m always trying to make a good impression,” Eovaldi said. “I know the spot is not officially taken yet. I know I have a chance. It’s just about going out and doing the best I can.”