WASHINGTON -- Come Friday, the Marlins can call in reinforcements.
That’s the day teams can expand their rosters, and expand the Marlins should if the front office and owner Jeffrey Loria are serious about doing whatever it takes to make a playoff run in September.
The Marlins are 5 1/2 games out in the Wild Card race. They’ve won 13 of their past 18 games to climb back into outside contention. They’ve dug in and won even as management was trading off Adeiny Hechavarria, David Phelps and A.J. Ramos.
They could have folded, but didn’t.
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Marlins players and manager Don Mattingly have earned every resource the front office can provide them.
Multiple sources said Loria was unwilling to spend money on low-cost, minor-league call-ups at one point but has since reconsidered. We’re not talking about a lot of dough, especially for someone who is about to pocket $1.2 billion by selling the franchise.
The total cost for five call-ups would be less than $500,000.
Given all that, here are a handful of players the Marlins could bring up Friday, or shortly thereafter:
1) Dillon Peters — It’s no secret the Marlins need pitching help, and the stocky left-hander is the obvious choice to plug in the rotation. Peters, who turns 25 on Thursday, probably would have been a Marlin by now had he not missed two months with a broken thumb. Since his return, he’s gone 6-2 with a 1.97 ERA and a WHIP of 0.96 in nine starts for Double A Jacksonville.
2) Brian Anderson — Mattingly has managed to maneuver his way through the season with only four position players — one of them the backup catcher — on his bench. Anderson, a third baseman would give him a right-handed power hitter off the bench and is solid defensively. Since his promotion to Triple A New Orleans in July, Anderson has hit .336 with eight homers and an OPS of 1.014.
3) Braxton Lee — The Marlins acquired the outfielder in their trade with Tampa Bay for Hechavarria in late June and Lee hasn’t disappointed. He’s hit .311 for Jacksonville, covers a lot of ground defensively, and gets on base (.411 on-base percentage). Doesn’t supply much pop but has above-average speed.
4) Any two relievers — Whether it’s Hunter Cervenka, Severino Gonzalez, Tyron Guerrero, Javy Guerra or someone else, the Marlins need to shore up the bullpen with a couple of arms that can consume innings (and spare the frontline relievers) if one of their starters is knocked out in an early blowout.
Peters, Lee and five other prospects were selected by the Marlins to play in the Arizona Fall League.
In addition to Peters and Lee, the others are: left-handed pitchers Miguel Del Pozo and Scott Squier, right-handed pitcher Ben Meyer, catcher Rodrigo Vigil, and infielder Peter Mooney.