The All-Star Game is over. The second half of the season resumes on Friday.
And while the Miami Marlins look to climb out of the National League cellar on the field, the front office will be busy over the next three weeks with the trade deadline quickly approaching.
Once again, the Marlins are expected to be sellers as July 31 approaches.
“We understand where we are organizationally,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. “I think we have some interesting pieces from an asset standpoint. We’ll just look to be as opportunistic as we can and maximize value for our assets knowing where we want to go.”
Who are those assets, specifically?
The main player to look at is relief pitcher Sergio Romo. The 12-year MLB veteran and three-time World Series champion has served as the Marlins’ closer this season, converting 16 of 17 save opportunities. The 36-year-old could fill any reliever spot for a contending team, from opener to setup man to closer.
Infielder Neil Walker and outfielder Curtis Granderson, two veterans on the Marlins’ youth-laden roster, are on one-year contracts and could be flipped.
Teams have also reached out to the Marlins about veteran second baseman Starlin Castro, a four-time All-Star who has had an overall down 2019 season (.245 batting average, .366 slugging, 17.3 percent strikeout rate) but has a history of past success.
The Marlins also acknowledged that starting pitchers could be considered in trade talks, but that would only be the case if they are blown away with the offer.
“When you think about this time of year, expiring contracts are ones that are often attractive, but when you’re talking about what gets traded at this time of year, a lot of times it’s bullpen [pitchers] and people looking for starting pitching,” Hill said. “We have — albeit some of it injured — we have some starting pitching depth. We have some interesting relievers as well. I think it’ll just be a matter of continuing to talk with my counterparts to see what their needs are and to see if there’s a fit. We’re going to be smart with our approach.”
The Marlins’ main need: middle-of the order hitters, preferably ones who are close to being major-league ready.
And the July 31 trade deadline is one of the last feasible chances to do that before the offseason, especially considering MLB removed the Aug. 31 “waiver trade deadline.” Prior to the 2019 season, players were allowed to be traded in August with the restriction that traded players could not be used on their new team’s postseason roster should they make the playoffs.
“We’re going to explore the market and see what opportunities are out there for us to make our organization better,” Hill said. “That’s always the goal. ... This is an opportunity and the only opportunity this season to maybe do that.”
Draft deadline nears
The deadline for teams to sign players selected in the 2019 MLB draft is 5 p.m. Friday. The Marlins still have not signed their top-two picks in Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday (No. 4 overall) and Missouri outfielder Kameron Misner (No. 35 overall). Both are expected to sign, although Misner might come down to the wire.
Three Marlins are players on the injured list are in the midst of rehab assignments.
Relief pitcher Tayron Guerrero (right middle finger blister) threw a scoreless inning for the Jupiter Hammerheads, the Marlins’ Class A Advanced affiliate, on Tuesday. He is scheduled to make a second appearance on Thursday.
Veteran infielder Martin Prado (right hamstring strain) is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment with Jupiter on Wednesday.
Catcher Chad Wallach (concussion) is having his rehab assignment transferred from Jupiter to Triple A New Orleans. Wallach played two games in Jupiter.