Buyers? Sellers? Marlins aren’t sure as trade deadline looms

MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Marlins might be sellers. They might be buyers. They have no idea.

Marlins general manager Kim Ng said Saturday night that she’s been making and fielding calls in advance of Major League Baseball’s trade deadline, but that no moves — either acquiring players or sending them out — are pending, yet.

“Listen, I’m not sure that we’re going to make some huge deal,” Ng said. “It has to be about value that’s coming back. It has to be about the future as well as today. So I just can’t say that there’s anything imminent at this point.”

The trade deadline is Tuesday. Miami’s scheduled starter on Sunday against the New York Mets is right-hander Pablo Lopez, who has been the subject of many trade rumors.

Ng made it clear: The Marlins aren’t shopping Lopez. But she also made clear that the Marlins are listening to everyone.

“I think a deal that really helps us has to present itself,” Ng said. “We’re not out there looking to move Pablo. But, as I’ve said before, we’re listening on all fronts. We’ve got to get the club better.”

The Marlins haven’t spent a day in first place since Aug. 16, 2020. Outside of a few random April days, they haven’t seen first place in a regular 162-game season since June 2014.

Unless there’s a late-season rally, this season will mark the 12th time in the last 13 years where the Marlins finish with a losing record. The exception was 2020, the pandemic-shortened season, when Miami went 31-29 and made the expanded playoffs.

And with a 12-team playoff this year — three wild cards are coming from both the AL and NL — the Marlins aren’t exactly out of the race. They started Saturday six games out of the third NL wild-card spot. Analytics website FanGraphs calculated their playoff odds at 1.7%.

“I think there’s an outside shot, a very outside shot,” Ng said.

Added Marlins manager Don Mattingly: “For us, it’s something that we talk about a lot. It’s something that’s realistic. It’s doable. … We’re going to be playing some of the teams that are in front of us. All that stuff’s doable.”

The Marlins will have to get healthy if there’s any chance.

They started Saturday with 18 players on the injured list. And of the 11 players who have more than 200 plate appearances for the team this season, five are currently sidelined, a list that includes Garret Cooper, Jorge Soler, All-Star Jazz Chisholm, Jon Berti and Brian Anderson.

All the missing players only adds to the challenge of deciding whether to buy or sell right now.

“I think it makes it really complicated,” Ng said. “The first month of the season, we were 12-8. And I think that was a pretty decent barometer in terms of what the team was capable of. We took a really bad hit in May. It was a horrible month. But since then, we’ve actually been OK. So it was the one bad month that really set us back and we’ve been trying to regroup ever since.”

Mattingly said he remains hopeful that a hot late-season stretch could still get Miami into the postseason.

“We’re capable of putting some wins together. We’ve shown that,” Mattingly said. “That’s what the last couple months are about as a team if we can get hot. We’ve just got to have that mindset, keep going, keep fighting.”

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