Recognizing an opportunity to add accomplished veterans to their roster for the final month of the MLB regular season (and a potential postseason run), the Miami Marlins placed claims on players prior to Thursday’s deadline, Craig Mish of SportsGrid confirms. Alas, they whiffed and were not awarded any of them.
The Marlins went after Los Angeles Angels pitchers Reynaldo López, Lucas Giolito and Matt Moore, according to Mish. However, the Cleveland Guardians surprisingly sniped all three to keep their fading AL Central division title hopes alive. With a 64-70 record, Cleveland had waiver claim priority over the Marlins (66-67). Their playoff odds were only 5.3% entering Thursday, per FanGraphs, about half as high as Miami’s (10.5%).
The notable bats on the market were Harrison Bader of the New York Yankees and the Angels’ Hunter Renfroe and Randal Grichuk. The outfield admittedly isn’t among the Marlins’ biggest weaknesses at the moment, but the offense as a whole is in dire straits—their bats have posted a 81 wRC+ since the All-Star break (27th in MLB), including a 55 wRC+ since August 19 (29th in MLB). Trade deadline pick-ups Josh Bell and Jake Burger haven’t been mighty enough to offset slumps from many of their teammates.
When accounting for those hitters’ recent struggles, their potential fit on the active roster and the money still owed to them (approximately one-sixth of their 2023 salaries), the Marlins passed. We know that because Bader and Renfroe both went to the Cincinnati Reds, who were behind them in the waiver claim order. Grichuk passed through waivers unclaimed.
The Marlins are three games back of the National League’s final Wild Card spot entering Thursday’s contest in Washington. They’ll need to leapfrog the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks…and the Reds. So even if the Marlins didn’t feel like Bader or Renfroe would move the needle for them, at least claiming them would’ve blocked a rival from addressing its needs. It’ll be a tough look if either of them catch fire in September.
While deflating to see the Marlins come away empty, this doesn’t necessarily mean they will be complacent. Active roster sizes expand on Friday from 26 spots to 28. Prospects 1B Troy Johnston, INF Xavier Edwards and OF Dane Myers have nothing left to prove with Triple-A Jacksonville. RHP Anthony Maldonado has been unhittable for the past four months. At least one of them will get a shot to help halt the club’s second-half collapse, right?