No matter who they add during the waning hours of August, the Miami Marlins are longshots. Let’s be clear about that. They enter Wednesday with season-low 13.6% playoff odds, per FanGraphs, needing to leapfrog three of the other National League Wild Card hopefuls to clinch a postseason berth. There is no combination of newly waived veterans who are guaranteed to move the needle for them.
But they have to try. Between offseason trades and midseason reinforcements, the Marlins have been willing to part with long-term assets to maximize their chances of making it to October in 2023. Now, we’re at a juncture where more useful players are available for merely one month’s salary and a roster spot. No other strings attached.
The waiver claim priority order goes by ascending winning percentage. By being worse than any of the other realistic AL/NL contenders, the .500 Marlins get priority over them. While half of the MLB teams are below the Marlins in the standings, it wouldn’t be logical for those non-contenders to splurge on pending free agents. Very convenient for the struggling Fish.
It’d be almost impossible to justify passing up on Los Angeles Angels right-hander Reynaldo López considering his affordability and recent excellence. He is owed barely $600k for the final month of the season. Dating back to the beginning of July, López has a 1.37 ERA and 2.05 FIP. Really, for the better part of two years, he’s been a great setup man.
The Marlins tried to upgrade the right side of their bullpen in July via the acquisitions of David Robertson and Jorge López. Neither have panned out. Reynaldo should immediately vault past them to pitch in high-leverage situations if claimed.
Like López, Lucas Giolito began 2023 with the Chicago White Sox before being dealt to the Angels at the trade deadline. Unlike López, his tenure with the Halos has been mostly miserable (6.89 ERA and 6.82 FIP) and his remaining salary is more substantial (approx. $1.7M). That being said, Giolito’s main issue lately is yielding home runs (13 allowed in his last eight starts). LoanDepot Park can help with that.
Giolito has higher upside as Miami’s fifth starter than Johnny Cueto or Bryan Hoeing do. If the club decides to utilize a six-man rotation in September, he’d be a more desirable option than Edward Cabrera as well because at least he can be counted on to eat innings.
There is no safe bet to assist the Marlins’ struggling offense. Outfielders Harrison Bader (42 wRC+), Randal Grichuk (37 wRC+) and Hunter Renfroe (36 wRC+) have each gone ice cold in August. However, Renfroe still possesses awesome raw power; Grichuk was raking for the Colorado Rockies (even outside of Coors Field) before being traded; and Bader is the best contact hitter of the bunch while contributing as a baserunner and legitimate defender in center field and he’s been pounding left-handed pitching. I’m torn between Bader and Grichuk as my preference here. Either guy would help the Marlins protect Jorge Soler’s health down the stretch, allowing him to be used as a full-time designated hitter. Plus they can’t be any worse at the plate than over-the-hill Yuli Gurriel.
Matt Moore (Angels), Mike Clevinger (White Sox), José Cisnero (Tigers) and Carlos Carrasco (Mets) are also out there on the wire.
Creating room on the Marlins 40-man roster for multiple waiver claims is a non-issue. Transfer Avisaíl García to the 60-day injured list. Recall Sixto Sánchez and do the same. Designate Geoff Hartlieb or Tommy Nance for assignment.
Bottom line: if Marlins leadership still believes in this team, they cannot remain idle. Continue adding talented vets who fit your needs (and block them from getting through to the NL clubs you’re chasing after).
Photo by Jasen Vinlove/Miami Marlins