CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Continuity key as Marlins continue to rebuild

Continuity key as Marlins continue to rebuild

MIAMI -- Extending manager Mike Redmond's contract through 2017 was a big step toward establishing organizational stability. Not that the Marlins were considering a change, but without a new deal, the issue would have lingered into next season.

The Marlins made a 15-win jump in 2014, and after finishing 77-85, they are trending in the right direction. The last thing they wanted was to create doubt about the future of their manager, initially signed through 2015. With Redmond locked up, the front office can now focus on maintaining continuity in other areas.

More

Before turning their attention to rounding out the roster, the Marlins realized the importance of rewarding Redmond, who is molding a young squad into contenders.

"Mike Redmond was an overachiever as a player, and brought that workmanlike, grinder attitude to the field as a player," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Those were the same qualities that made him attractive to us as a manager. I think those qualities have rubbed off on his team."

With the offseason underway, here are five areas in which the Marlins are looking to retain stability.

Coaching staff

Without an extension for Redmond, members of Miami's staff may have sought other options. After all, if the manager wasn't safe, how could they be?

Pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, hitting coach Frank Menechino, infield/first base coach Perry Hill and outfield/third base coach Brett Butler all were on multiyear deals. All are expected to return. The same is true for bench coach Rob Leary and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius. Also expected back are bullpen coordinator Jeff Urgelles and Major League administrative coach Pat Shine.

Catcher

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, coming off a down year, is signed for two more seasons. The hope is Salty will bounce back. Adjusting to the National League wasn't as smooth as the veteran catcher would have liked, but he is just 29 and still is a power threat at the plate. Having a full season working with the staff also should be beneficial.

The status of Jeff Mathis still must be addressed. The 31-year-old has a club option of $1.5 million, which the Marlins have until five days after the World Series ends to exercise. Indications are the team will pick up the option.

The Marlins are grooming a talented young pitching staff, and Mathis is seen as part of that process. In 2013, for instance, Mathis was highly praised for how he worked with Jose Fernandez.

J.T. Realmuto, a promising prospect, is getting closer to being an everyday big leaguer. For now, he is waiting his turn.

Outfield

The Marlins feel they have the best outfield trio in the NL, and they intend to keep it together. The club is on record saying it will seek a contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton. With or without a multiyear deal, the two-time All-Star will be with Miami in '15.

The front office also is considering long-term contracts for Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

Closer

Steve Cishek, entering his second season of arbitration, is due a nice raise after making $3.8 million. His price tag will rise, but so have his numbers. He saved 39 games, and that figure is hard to replace.

If another option surfaced, perhaps Cishek would be traded. The way things are shaping up now, it appears the 28-year-old will return for a figure that could be close to $6 million.

Shortstop

You hear the word "special" often used by member of the organization when they talk about shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. The 25-year-old made big strides at the plate, batting .276. Defensively, the team feels he is Gold Glove-caliber.

Hechavarria also is a candidate for a multiyear extension.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Changing clubhouse culture put Marlins on cusp in '14

Injuries to Fernandez, Stanton were setbacks, but Miami still contended late

Changing clubhouse culture put Marlins on cusp in '14

MIAMI -- Change the culture and ultimately you can change the results. The Marlins steadfastly stuck to that message, first in assembling their 2014 squad and secondly in how they went about their business on a daily basis this year.

It's hard to argue with the plan, because when looking at the big picture, Miami's mission was accomplished. A cynic can certainly argue that little actually changed in the club's fifth straight losing season. But a realist can see the dramatic improvement in one year and the fact that the organization is clearly trending toward playoff contention.

More

The Marlins were one of the surprise teams in the big leagues, rebounding from a 100-loss 2013 campaign to sticking around in the Wild Card race before officially being eliminated with nine games remaining in '14. Who knows? If not for one of the most gruesome injuries in recent memory, All-Star Giancarlo Stanton being struck in the face by a pitch, Miami may indeed have made a push all the way to the postseason.

We'll never know what might have been. But we do know, through adversity and serious injuries to Stanton and ace Jose Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery in May, the Marlins remained tightly-knitted together and competitive deep into September.

Much of their success is attributed to the culture the organization created and manager Mike Redmond never let disappear.

"When we started Spring Training, we had goals of what we were trying to accomplish in terms of building the culture in that clubhouse and the mentality of every player looking out for one another and taking care of one another, and doing what needs to be done for us to get better," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We never put a goal on how many games we wanted to win. We just wanted to be better than we were last year."

The Marlins did more than anyone expected. And they did so without their ace for most of the season and their MVP-candidate right fielder down the stretch. How they picked up for themselves and grew together is why there is so much optimism moving forward.

The Marlins were able to stay relevant when Fernandez went down, because Henderson Alvarez stepped up and pitched like an ace. One could always see the talent in Alvarez, who no-hit the Tigers in the 2013 season finale. But he didn't find consistency until 2014, when he rose to the occasion and joined Stanton as a National League All-Star.

Miami was also able to play meaningful games late because Stanton was a steady rock in the middle of the order, belting 37 homers and driving in 105 runs before he was hit in the face by a Mike Fiers fastball on Sept. 11 at Milwaukee.

"Through all the adversity that we faced, there was never anyone who felt sorry for anyone," Hill said. "We knew that things happen in this game, and it's a game of adjustments and the next man has to step up."

Fernandez's injury, for instance, prompted the front office to bolster the bullpen. They did so by acquiring right-hander Bryan Morris from the Pirates for a competitive-balance Draft pick in early June.

"When things happen as they always do, it's our job and Red and the coaches' jobs to make adjustments and find a way," Hill said. "I think it's a credit to Red and his staff on what they've had to maneuver around this season."

Record: 77-85, fourth place in National League East

Defining moment: For all the big home runs and crucial runs he drove in, the lasting image of the season became Stanton going down against the Brewers. At the time, the club was positioned to make a late push. The Marlins were 4 1/2 games out in the Wild Card standings and three games behind the Braves for second place in the NL East. Along with removing Stanton from the lineup, the injury had a huge emotional impact on the team.

What went right: Plenty. Until his injury, Stanton was an NL MVP frontrunner. The trio of Stanton in right field, Christian Yelich in left, and Marcell Ozuna in center statistically ranked among the best outfields in the Major Leagues. ... Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made steady progress and showed signs of becoming a future All-Star. ... The addition of Jarred Cosart, acquired from the Astros on July 31, added a solid middle-of-the-rotation right-hander. Closer Steve Cishek had another strong season, and Alvarez pitched as an ace after Fernandez went down. Tom Koehler won the No. 5 starter spot in Spring Training and didn't miss a start all season.

What went wrong: The club can't help but wonder what could have been if Fernandez stayed healthy. Miami got just eight starts from their 22-year-old ace. Stanton's injury was another devastating blow and one that was too much overcome. The other jarring injury came at Pittsburgh in early August when reliever Dan Jennings was struck in the side of the head by a line drive, causing a concussion and serving as another reminder of how risky the game can be. ... Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and first baseman Garrett Jones had inconsistent seasons offensively and defensively. ... Rafael Furcal was expected to be the Opening Day second baseman, but hamstring and groin ailments limited the former All-Star to nine games. … A crucial 3-1 loss on July 31 to the Reds featured a controversial overturned play at the plate.

Biggest surprise: Casey McGehee spent 2013 in Japan, and it was uncertain if he would get another big league chance. The Marlins gave it to him and the veteran delivered, becoming one of the most productive NL third basemen in the first half. McGehee was moved to the cleanup spot early in the season and offered protection for Stanton. While he only hit four home runs, McGehee repeatedly came up with clutch hits, and he was a difference-maker with men on base (76 RBIs).

Hitter of the Year: Stanton, no surprise here. He matched a career high with 37 homers and won the Marlins' first homer crown, and he set a personal mark with 105 RBIs. Stanton was in position to threaten to break Gary Sheffield's single-season homer mark of 42 in 1996. Now with 154 career blasts, Stanton has matched Dan Uggla's team record.

Pitcher of the Year: Alvarez doesn't wow you with strikeouts, but he amazes with the crispness of his stuff and his competitiveness. The right-hander opened the season as the No. 3 starter, and he took on the role of ace after Fernandez went down, making his first All-Star team. Alvarez has the ability to pitch at the top of the rotation and become a perennial star.

Rookie of the Year: No single Miami rookie made a significant long-term impact. Many had chances, like top prospect Andrew Heaney, who made a handful of starts and relief appearances. So did right-hander Anthony DeSclafani. Catcher J.T. Realmuto showed promise in limited action. The most interesting rookie was first baseman Justin Bour, who got a look on an everyday basis in the final 10 days of the season. Bour was a standout at Triple-A New Orleans, belting 18 homers. The lefty-hitting first baseman demonstrated a solid approach, and he could compete for a starting job in Spring Training.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

With superstars returning, '15 looks bright in Miami

Fernandez to lead rotation; Stanton to round out top-notch outfield

With superstars returning, '15 looks bright in Miami

MIAMI -- "Wait till next year" is far from an empty saying for the Marlins as they set their sights on 2015. From upper management down to the players, there is legitimate optimism that the club is on the cusp of contending.

If not for some serious injuries that helped derail their hopes this year, the Marlins may have shocked the baseball world and competed in October. Those hopes were dashed when Giancarlo Stanton was struck on the face by a pitch on Sept. 11, forcing the slugger to join ace Jose Fernandez (Tommy John surgery in May) on the sidelines.

More

As an organization, management isn't planning on wasting much time lamenting about what might have been in 2014. Instead, Miami is focused on regrouping and building toward a better tomorrow. All indications are that the club plans on hitting the offseason running, formulating a plan and identifying areas to address.

At the top of the list will be approaching Stanton about a multiyear contract. The two-time All-Star is coming off an MVP-caliber season, and he is entering his second year of arbitration. With or without a long-term deal, Miami has made it clear it intends on keeping Stanton, who in the short term will continue his recovery from facial fractures sustained when he was hit by a pitch in Milwaukee.

Establishing payroll parameters also must be addressed. It may be just under $60 million, but that figure could sway either way. In the coming weeks, the front office will catch its breath and figure out which direction to go by the free agency and the trade period that begins after the World Series.

"We'll get our baseball operations group together, and we'll take a step back and really dig into everything about this team and what we need to do to take that next step forward," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We'll be open, we'll be objective of what shortcomings we've had this year and areas where we think we need to improve and put a plan in place and then do our best to execute that plan."

Arbitration-eligible: OF Stanton, RHP Steve Cishek, LHP Mike Dunn, 3B Casey McGehee, RHP Henderson Alvarez, RHP Nathan Eovaldi.

Donovan Solano is a borderline Super 2 candidate, but the team doesn't believe he will qualify for arbitration.

Free agents: OF Reed Johnson, INF Rafael Furcal, RHP Kevin Gregg, RHP Brad Penny.

Club option: C Jeff Mathis ($1.5 million 2015).

Rotation: Once Fernandez returns, the rotation immediately will be elevated. How best to bridge the gap will consume the organization's attention in the meantime. As is, the starting five should be pretty impressive. Alvarez, fresh off an All-Star season, assumed the role of ace after Fernandez went down. For now, Alvarez projects as the team's No. 1, with Jarred Cosart factoring into the top of the rotation. Eovaldi had his second-half struggles, but he's coming off a career-high in innings. The hope is the experiences of this year will help in Eovaldi's development. Tom Koehler once again will be a frontrunner to secure a spot. Lefties Brad Hand, Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino, the organization's Pitcher of the Year, will be competing for jobs. Rookie Anthony DeSclafani is a right-hander who gained big league experience in 2014.

Bullpen: An impressive stable of power arms projects to return. Closer Cishek and lefty Dunn are both entering their second year of arbitration. Right-handers A.J. Ramos, Bryan Morris and Chris Hatcher all stepped up to secure setup roles. Carter Capps is the hardest thrower of the group, and that's saying something. There are a handful of candidates who throw 98 mph. Capps topped off at 101 mph. If Capps stays healthy, he may wind up as a late-innings candidate. Lefty Dan Jennings made strides in '14, and right-hander Sam Dyson runs his fastball up to 98 mph.

Catcher: It wasn't an entirely smooth transition back to the National League for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The 29-year-old had his struggles at the plate and defensively. Having a full season in Miami's organization should be beneficial as the veteran looks to bounce back. A switch-hitter, he is a threat to knock the ball out of the park. The belief is that Mathis will have his option picked up. If so, he would be entering his third year with the club. J.T. Realmuto, the organization's Player of the Year, comes off a championship season at Double-A Jacksonville, and he's gained some MLB experience.

First base: Garrett Jones is signed for 2015, but the team may seek other options. The veteran labored at the plate and in the field. He showed flashes of power, but lacked consistency. Down the stretch, Justin Bour, also a left-handed hitter with pop, gained experience at first. If Jones is not back, Bour could be a candidate to take over. If the team got creative, McGehee or possibly Christian Yelich could be switched to first base. Those options may be on the table, but most likely won't happen. Jeff Baker is signed for next year, and he is a right-handed-hitting backup option.

Second base: Furcal's hamstring injuries limited him to nine games and put second base in flux for most of the season. Solano, Derek Dietrich, Ed Lucas, Baker, Jordany Valdespin and Enrique Hernandez saw time at second. The front office is expected to explore outside options. An ideal candidate would be someone with speed to lead off. Solano or Hernandez could be frontrunners if Miami stays with candidates already on the roster.

Shortstop: The strides Adeiny Hechavarria made at the plate and in the field reinforces the team's belief that it has a special talent at a premium position. The Marlins feel Hechavarria is an All-Star and Gold Glove-caliber player. Hernandez may wind up as the utility backup.

Third base: After spending 2013 in Japan, McGehee's return to the big leagues was successful, as he spent much of the season batting cleanup behind Stanton. Arbitration-eligible, McGehee projects to return. An All-Star candidate in the first half, the veteran had a dip in production down the stretch. But he had a knack for the clutch hit, and he projects to secure third base in 2015.

Outfield: You'd be hard pressed to find three more productive starters in any outfield in the National League. The trio of Stanton (right field), Marcell Ozuna (center) and Yelich (left) was highly productive. First and foremost, the club wants Stanton to get healthy. The same holds true for Ozuna, who sustained a high right ankle sprain with a week remaining in the season this year. Locking up Yelich and Ozuna to multiyear contracts could also be in the works in the coming weeks.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Stanton wins first NL homer crown in Marlins history

Despite missing last 17 games of season, slugger paced league with 37

Stanton wins first NL homer crown in Marlins history

WASHINGTON -- Missing the final 17 games did not cost Giancarlo Stanton a chance to become the first player in Marlins history to win the National League home run crown.

Stanton's 37 homers held up by a sizable margin, as he ended up pacing the league. Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, who homered on Sunday, finished second with 32.

More

If not for being struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11, who knows how much better Stanton's numbers could have been.

"All of us were crushed when his season ended, not just because of the impact he had on our lineup," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "But the kind of year he was having. To see a guy so driven, so focused. He was really having a breakout year. We all wanted to see where he would finish up. It didn't end the way any of us anticipated."

Stanton matched his season high previously set in 2012. The two-time All-Star was hopeful of playing in all 162 games. If he had, he may have eclipsed Gary Sheffield's franchise record of 42 home runs in 1996.

The 24-year-old sensation also has 154 career homers, which matches Dan Uggla for the all-time franchise lead.

Along with leading the NL in home runs, Stanton paced the league with his .555 slugging percentage.

"[Stanton] is a special player," Redmond said. "He's a huge part of our team. I think we all realized how big a part, especially over the last few weeks without him. He had a tremendous year. I saw a lot of growth in him, not only as a player, but as a guy in the clubhouse. I think he really enjoyed himself.

"To be playing meaningful games into September, we really saw the best out of him. That was fun."

Before suffering multiple facial fractures, Stanton was considered a frontrunner for the NL Most Valuable Player Award.

In the eyes of the Marlins, he still is deserving. But Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates have increased their chances, especially since their respective teams are headed to the postseason.

Miami has never had an MVP. In 2009, Hanley Ramirez was second to Albert Pujols.

"I still feel like [Stanton] should win that," Redmond said. "I know I'm his manager, but for me, he's the MVP."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Voting underway to decide Hank Aaron Awards

Help decide this season's top offensive performer in each league

Voting underway to decide Hank Aaron Awards

Voting is underway through Sunday exclusively at MLB.com to help decide the 16th annual winners of the Hank Aaron Award, given by "The Hammer" himself during the upcoming 110th World Series to the outstanding offensive performer in each league.

American League nominees include Nelson Cruz of Baltimore, David Ortiz of Boston, Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox, Michael Brantley of Cleveland, Victor Martinez of Detroit, Jose Altuve of Houston, Alex Gordon of Kansas City, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Trevor Plouffe of Minnesota, Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees, Josh Donaldson of Oakland, Robinson Cano of Seattle, Evan Longoria of Tampa Bay, Adrian Beltre of Texas and Jose Bautista of Toronto.

More

National League candidates include Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona, Justin Upton of Atlanta, Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs, Devin Mesoraco of Cincinnati, Justin Morneau of Colorado, Adrian Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Giancarlo Stanton of Miami, Jonathan Lucroy of Milwaukee, Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets, Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh, Matt Carpenter of St. Louis, Seth Smith of San Diego, Hunter Pence of San Francisco and Anthony Rendon of Washington.

Goldschmidt is going after his second straight Hank Aaron Award, having been the NL choice last year for the first time. Miguel Cabrera was the AL recipient each of the past two years, but V-Mart's nomination by Detroit means an end to that streak.

"As one of the game's most talented and respected players ever, it is appropriate that Major League Baseball recognizes the top offensive performers in each league with an award named in honor of Hank Aaron," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "Each of the nominees should be applauded for their outstanding seasons, which will make selecting just one winner in each league a difficult task for Hank, our Hall of Fame panel and our participating fans."

"I am honored to have my name on the award given by Major League Baseball to the top offensive performers in the game," Aaron said. "Each of the nominees is talented and deserving, which makes me grateful to have the assistance of my fellow Hall of Famers and the fans to help select the winners."

For the fifth consecutive year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by MLB and has recognized the top offensive threat in each league since it was established in 1999.

The panel includes some of the greatest offensive players of all-time -- Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, Frank Thomas and Robin Yount. These Hall of Famers -- who combined for 16,956 hits, 8,844 RBIs and 2,109 home runs -- have been personally selected by Aaron to lend their expertise to select the best offensive performer in each league.

Do you go with a masher, like Stanton or Cruz? Or do you recognize a guy like Altuve, who led the Majors in batting average and led the AL in stolen bases? Home run kings often fare well in this process, but Chris Davis (53 homers) was trumped last year by Cabrera. And what about Trout, often referred to as the game's best player?

Past winners of the Hank Aaron Award include Cabrera and Goldschmidt (2013); Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012); Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011); Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Alex Rodriguez and Pujols (2003); Rodriguez and Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

The award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record. At that time, it was the first major award introduced by MLB in more than 25 years.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

This time, Marlins on wrong side of last-day history

Zimmermann hurls no-no; Alvarez on losing end a year after his feat

This time, Marlins on wrong side of last-day history

WASHINGTON -- Fate came full circle for Henderson Alvarez and the Marlins on Sunday afternoon. This time, Alvarez was on the losing end of a season-finale no-hitter.

Jordan Zimmermann etched his place in MLB history by tossing a final game no-hitter in Washington's 1-0 victory over the Marlins in front of 35,085 fans at Nationals Park.

More

The final out was not an easy one, as Zimmermann's 104th pitch was lined by Christian Yelich into the gap in left-center, but Steven Souza Jr., made a no-hit-saving, diving catch, prompting the Nationals to rejoice in their first no-hitter since moving to Washington in 2005.

"We lined out a bunch today," Yelich said. "Stuff like that happens. That was my fourth time facing him today, so I had a pretty good idea of what he was doing and what kind of stuff he had. I put a good swing on the ball, and the guy made a heckuva a play.

"In the heat of the moment, and that on the line, that might be one of the best plays I've ever seen, ever. Hats off for him for making that play. Hats off to Zimmermann for pitching a great game."

It's the third time the Marlins have been no-hit, with the last being Roy Halladay's perfect game for the Phillies on May 29, 2010. That game also was a 1-0 affair. Ramon Martinez of the Dodgers no-hit the Marlins on July 14, 1995.

Miami capped its season by dropping three of four at Washington and finishes at 77-85, in fourth place in the National League East. The Nationals, meanwhile, ride a high into the postseason.

"There isn't a whole lot to say -- the guy pitched great," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "Then the guy makes a great play out there in left. That probably caps up the season they've had as they head to the playoffs."

Last year, on the last day of the season, Alvarez no-hit the Tigers. Miami won that game 1-0 in unconventional fashion. The winning run scored on a wild pitch in the ninth inning with Alvarez standing on deck.

"Things just happen from one year to the other," Alvarez said. "Basically, he was just pitching in the bottom of the zone. It was just Zimmermann's day -- excellent day for him."

On Sunday, Zimmermann struck out 10 and walked just one, Justin Bour with two outs in the fifth inning. Alvarez, meanwhile, scattered 11 hits and gave up one run in seven innings.

Alvarez retired the first four batters he faced before Ian Desmond connected on a one-out homer in the second inning. The blast to left center was his 24th of the season, and it was the only run Zimmermann would need.

Zimmermann's defense came up big early and late.

Yelich led the game off with a 10-pitch at-bat that ended with a screaming liner to right that was run down by Bryce Harper.

"We hit some balls hard today, but they just found some people," Yelich said. "That's what you need to have a no-hitter happen. He's a great pitcher, with great stuff. You combine that with getting some balls hit at some people, and it has a chance to be a special day. Credit him for making those pitches at the end. That's tough to do, and he did it."

Donovan Solano followed with a sharp grounder that was snared at short by Desmond for the second out.

In the fifth inning, the Marlins laced three line drives, all at Washington defenders. Garrett Jones opened the inning with a sharp liner that was right at Tyler Moore first. Reed Johnson ripped a liner to third that was gloved by Kevin Frandsen. J.T. Realmuto lined to left to end the inning.

Miami's second baserunner came in the seventh inning, when with two outs, Jones struck out. But the pitch got past catcher Wilson Ramos. A wild pitch was charged to Zimmermann, allowing Jones to take first.

Ramos, however, made a heads-up play behind the plate. On a ball to Johnson, the Washington catcher picked Jones off first base.

"[Zimmermann] was working quickly," Johnson said. "Defense is on their toes all the time. He was pounding the strike zone. He did everything he needed to do to throw a no-hitter."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Marlins extend manager Redmond through 2017

Marlins extend manager Redmond through 2017

WASHINGTON -- The Marlins are striving for franchise stability, and a major step was made in that direction on Sunday when the organization announced it has extended manager Mike Redmond's contract through 2017. The 43-year-old former big league catcher would have been entering his final season of the contract he signed when he took over after the 2012 campaign.

The extension was signed before the Marlins faced the Nationals in their season finale on Sunday at Nationals Park. Redmond, a backup catcher on the Marlins' 2003 World Series title team, met with owner Jeffrey Loria.

More

"Jeffrey sat down with Mike and expressed to him that his leadership has really helped get this team in the right direction," Marlins president David Samson said. "There was really a unanimous feeling amongst the entire front office.

"Mike Redmond is the perfect leader for this team. Watching our growth, it's just been such a spectacular season. The feeling we have is this team is going in the right direction. This is a great step towards continuing that growth, and continuing as we build towards being one of 10 and making the playoffs, and hopefully winning a third ring for this organization."

The Marlins wrapped up a 77-85 season on Sunday, suffering a 1-0 loss to the Nationals in a game Jordan Zimmermann tossed a no-hitter.

Still, the Marlins made a dramatic improvement in one year, and the club clearly believes it will contend in 2015.

Redmond was hired under difficult circumstances, taking over a rebuilt team loaded with rookies and young veterans in 2013. The club finished 62-100.

"Last year, it all started," Redmond said. "We lost 100 games, and we did it together as a team, with a lot of these young guys. We sat down as a group, as an organization and figured out how we could get better and improve the ballclub. We were able to do that by 15 games in one year, which is not easy to do. We've got a lot of great talent in that room. We learned how to win and how to compete."

This year, the club made tremendous strides, staying mathematically in the National League Wild Card race until nine games remained.

"I realize the guys in that [clubhouse] get a lot of credit for the success of our season," Redmond said. "The coaching staff has helped me out a lot. I'm just excited to continue this process of building this team and this organization in the direction we know is the right one, and to see us making the playoffs. That's what I came here for, to turn this around, and get us back to the playoffs. We want to be where [the Nationals] are headed."

Miami stayed competitive in a season in which its ace, Jose Fernandez, underwent Tommy John surgery in May. And on Sept. 11, NL Most Valuable Player Award candidate Giancarlo Stanton was struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee, causing multiple facial fractures.

Through adversity, Redmond kept the club moving forward.

"We're appreciative to Mike," Samson said. "We've known him for a long time. When we brought him in two years ago, we knew we were bringing him into a situation where he was going to grow with the team. We've watched that happen. The team and Mike have grown in lock-step, and we're continuing that path."

The team also announced the entire coaching staff will be back. That includes bench coach Rob Leary, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, hitting coach Frank Menechino, infield/first base coach Perry Hill, outfield/third base coach Brett Butler, bullpen coach Reid Cornelius, bullpen coordinator Jeff Urgelles and Major League administrative coach Pat Shine.

"You talk about continuity and you talk about stability, that's something Jeffrey really wants for this franchise," Samson said. "It's a really good day for the Marlins. It's the perfect way to start this offseason."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Alvarez views thrilling no-hitter from different perspective

Marlins starter tossed no-no nearly one year before being on opposite end

Alvarez views thrilling no-hitter from different perspective

WASHINGTON -- History sometimes repeats itself, and entering Sunday, Marlins manager Mike Redmond was thinking Henderson Alvarez might again have a memorable final day of the season.

Redmond was certainly right. Alvarez found himself part of history, but this time, it was in reverse. It was Jordan Zimmermann being mobbed by his teammates after no-hitting the Marlins in Washington's 1-0 victory in front of 35,085 at Nationals Park.

More

On a day that could have been about playing out the string, baseball showed how quickly fate can turn. Zimmermann struck out 10 and walked one, Justin Bour with two outs in the fifth inning, in a masterpiece that lasted two hours and one minute.

"I had a vision -- it was of Henderson doing it again," Redmond said. "Not against us."

The twist is simply too poetic, or maybe it falls into the category: "That's baseball."

What are the odds? On Sept. 29, 2013, Alvarez no-hit the Tigers at Marlins Park in the season finale. The final score was, coincidentally, 1-0. On Sunday, he was on the mound in a defeat that will go down in Nationals' lore.

"You don't normally see too many no-hitters as it is," Miami reliever Mike Dunn said. "And then in the final game, to have it two years in a row. ... We were lucky enough to be on the other side of it last year.

"We lost, 1-0, but it's always fun to see something like that happen. You just always hope you're on the other end of it."

Alvarez didn't have no-hit stuff on Sunday. He scattered 11 hits, but he was effective enough to allow just a second-inning Ian Desmond home run.

"Things just happen from one year to the other," Alvarez said. "It was just his day, excellent day for him."

The Marlins had their hard shots, but each time, the ball found a Nationals' glove.

There were several standout defensive plays, but none more dramatic than Steven Souza Jr.'s diving catch in the gap in left-center to rob Christian Yelich with two outs in the ninth inning.

"We hit some balls hard, but I've seen a few no-hitters, and that's kind of the way they roll," Redmond said. "But you give him credit. He mixed his pitches, kept us off balance and shut us down."

Literally the final out of the game was Miami's most impressive hit. If Souza doesn't make that play, Yelich may wind up on third, representing the tying run.

"I was just running," Yelich said. "I thought it was going to be in the gap, and then I heard the crowd go crazy. That's when I knew it was bad news for the Fish right here.

"That's baseball for you. A year ago, we were on the other side of the clubhouse, celebrating Henderson's no-hitter. It's funny how that works, I guess."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Stanton could begin contract talks soon into offseason

Marlins may open discussions with NL MVP candidate by Novemeber

Stanton could begin contract talks soon into offseason

WASHINGTON -- Before Spring Training, Giancarlo Stanton made it clear to the Marlins that he didn't want to talk about a contract extension during the season. With the offseason beginning on Monday, early discussions could begin in a matter of weeks.

First, Stanton is planning to go on vacation. The front office, meanwhile, will be finishing up business for this season and then put a plan in place for 2015. A realistic timeline for serious negotiations could be around the general manager meetings in Arizona in November.

More

"We stay in touch with our players all offseason," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said on Sunday. "We've said we'd respect his wishes during the season and we wouldn't discuss it. But now we're into the offseason. That is our plan, to talk with him about extending him beyond his arbitration years."

Stanton, a two-time All-Star, enjoyed a potential National League Most Valuable Player Award season, leading the NL in home runs with 37. He is second in the league in RBIs with 105.

But the 24-year-old had has season abruptly cut short after he was struck on the face with a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11.

Stanton made $6.5 million in his first season of arbitration. The Marlins have made it clear they plan on retaining Stanton in 2015 with or without a long-term deal.

Stanton is represented by Joel Wolfe of the Wasserman Media Group.

"We have to hear from them and what their goals are, and what they hope to accomplish," Hill said. "We have some ideas we'll streamline and tighten up as have those meetings. And hopefully we're on the same page and can get something done."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Marlins hire two pro scouts to 'beef up' department

Marlins hire two pro scouts to 'beef up' department

WASHINGTON -- The Marlins have made two additions to their scouting department, hiring David Keller and Dominic Viola to work on their pro staff.

Keller, formerly with the Red Sox, will be the assistant director of pro scouting, working closely with Jeff McAvoy, the director of pro scouting. Dominic Viola, previously with the Reds, was named a special assignment scout.

More

"They're two new additions," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We're continually trying to beef up the department."

The Marlins have made a couple of other changes in their scouting department. Pro scout Brendan Hass has been informed that he is not being renewed, and Tommy Thompson is being switched to an advisory role in player development.

A year ago on the final day of the season, the organization promoted Hill to president of baseball operations and Dan Jennings to general manager. The aim was to gain as many experienced professional evaluators as possible. Miami last year hired McAvoy, Mike Berger (assisant general manager) and Craig Weissmann (vice president of player personnel).

The additions played big roles in two midseason trades. In June, Miami acquired reliever Bryan Morris from the Pirates for a Competitive Balance pick. And on July 31, right-hander Jarred Cosart and infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez were obtained from Houston for Jake Marisnick and Colin Moran.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Eovaldi closes year with seven strong in loss

Righty strikes out five, gives up two runs, but Stras quiets Miami bats

Eovaldi closes year with seven strong in loss

WASHINGTON -- It was the same pitching matchup as six days ago, and unfortunately for the Marlins and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on Saturday, the results were agonizingly similar.

Eovaldi was impressive, giving up two runs in seven innings, but paired against Stephen Strasburg, it wasn't enough. Strasburg scattered two hits and struck out seven in six innings, as Washington beat Miami, 5-1, at Nationals Park.

More

"I thought Eovaldi pitched great," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "It was nice to see him finish up on a good note. Once again, we didn't score him any runs. He pitched well enough to win that ballgame. We just couldn't get anything going against Strasburg. He was tough today."

Making the outing even more frustrating is the fact Eovaldi completed his season one-third of an inning shy of a personal goal. The seven innings in his 33rd start gives the 24-year-old 199 2/3 innings on the season.

"It's frustrating," Eovaldi said. "[Reaching 200 innings] was one of my goals at the beginning of the season. To come up one out away makes me look back at those outings I had before where I struggled to get through the fifth. It is encouraging for next year to continue to work hard and come in ready to go."

Mark Buehrle is the last Marlin to reach 200 innings, logging 202 1/3 in 2012.

The Nationals have now taken two of three in the four-game set to close out the regular season. In the first game of Friday's doubleheader, Doug Fister threw a three-hit shutout in a 4-0 Washington win.

Although Miami slapped out a season-high in runs (15) and hits (22) in Game 2 on Friday, on Saturday, the offense was quieted again.

"Today is as good as he has been all month," Washington manager Matt Williams said about Strasburg. "Really good fastball -- 96, 97 [mph]. Changeup and curveball to go with it. He threw it where he wanted it to. Just the same as he has been that last four or five starts."

The Marlins were limited to two hits entering the ninth inning, when they slapped out two more singles and scored an unearned run off Drew Storen.

Washington broke the game open in the eighth inning when Asdrubal Cabrera lined a three-run double off Carter Capps.

The upside was a second straight encouraging start by Eovaldi, who mixed up his breaking pitches to offset his 97-mph fastball. The adjustments he's been working on paid off in the fifth inning, when he doubled-up curveballs on the outside corner to strike out Bryce Harper with the bases loaded.

The 24-year-old finishes up at 6-14, including dropping eight straight decisions since beating the Reds on Aug. 8. But against the team with the best record in the National League, Eovaldi ended up with two quality starts. He allowed two runs in six innings in the 2-1 loss on Sunday at Marlins Park.

"My curveball felt good today," Eovaldi said. "These last two starts, we made some mechanical adjustments, mixing up the pitches, throwing to both sides of the plate."

Strasburg also victimized Miami in that game six days ago. At Miami, the right-hander threw seven shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out five.

It was more of the same on Saturday. Off Strasburg, Miami managed a third-inning double by Jeff Mathis and a fourth-inning single to right center by Casey McGehee.

The Marlins got a generous call on McGehee's hit, because his drive to the gap was run down by right fielder Jayson Werth. Battling the sun, the ball popped out of Werth's glove. Initially, it was ruled an error. But after the inning, it was changed to a single.

"It was a tough day for us," Redmond said. "Offensively, we didn't get anything going, really. Just a couple of hits. Probably one hit was a little bit of a gift out there -- that play on Werth. They scored it an error, and then changed it when the guy didn't score."

Strasburg also factored into his team's first run. In the second inning, Strasburg was credited with an RBI as he dropped a sacrifice bunt that scored Harper, who had singled, from third.

The Nationals tacked on another run in the fifth inning on Adam LaRoche's RBI groundout to short. Denard Span, who singled with one out, scored from third.

"It was a playoff atmosphere, really," Eovaldi said. "They had a packed house. They had Strasburg out there on the mound. It was a lot of fun competing against him. It's definitely what we're competing for next year."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Samson aims to end playoff drought, re-sign Stanton

Miami team president says club is confident in core of young talent

Samson aims to end playoff drought, re-sign Stanton

WASHINGTON -- The Royals clinching a playoff spot on Friday night moved the Marlins up on an unenviable list of MLB teams enduring the longest postseason droughts.

Miami has gone 11 seasons without a playoff appearance, which is too long according to team president David Samson. To reach the next level, the organization is focused on retaining All-Star Giancarlo Stanton and its core of young talent.

More

"It's been 11 years since we've made the playoffs, and that's too long," Samson said. "We all feel that. We want to be one of 10 [teams that earn playoff spots], and we just have to make sure we have the right personnel. We look around, and you talk about the best young outfield in baseball. That's very inviting to me."

The Royals will be going to the postseason for the first time since 1985. Kansas City's success means the Blue Jays (1993) now have the longest playoff lapse. The Mariners last made it in 2001. Toronto and Seattle are the only teams that have longer playoff droughts than Miami.

Since the Marlins won the 2003 World Series, they've had four winning seasons. Despite winding down a fifth straight losing season, the Marlins have plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The team made great strides in a year it lost the services of Jose Fernandez (Tommy John surgery) and Stanton (facial fractures).

The team's outfield of Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Stanton is among the best in the National League.

Stanton had an MVP-caliber season, belting a National League-leading 37 homers and driving in 105 runs. The slugger had his season cut short after being struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11.

Stanton is the superstar of the Miami franchise, and the team plans to discuss a contract extension with the 24-year-old in the offseason. Stanton is eligible for his second season of arbitration, but the Marlins are hopeful they can work out a multiyear deal.

"I'm very much looking forward to sitting down and talking to Giancarlo at the end of the season, which we promised to do and we want to do," Samson said. "Because having him as a Marlin long past his arbitration years is something that is important to us. That's something for the offseason."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Prospects drive rout as Marlins split doubleheader

Hernandez belts first career grand slam; Miami tied for second in East

Prospects drive rout as Marlins split doubleheader

WASHINGTON -- The Marlins are doing more than just playing out the string. They're presenting opportunity for a number of prospects, and they took advantage in Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader at Nationals Park.

J.T. Realmuto drove in four runs and Enrique Hernandez delivered his first career grand slam as Miami rolled to a 15-7 win over the Nationals, salvaging a split after being blanked, 4-0, in the first game.

More

Miami racked up season highs for runs and hits (22). The runs total was the most since the Marlins scored 16 against the Nationals on Sept. 1, 2010.

"That's how baseball works sometimes," said Realmuto, the organization's Minor League Player of the Year. "We've been struggling scoring runs for the better half of this month right now. Sometimes it all comes out in one game. It was nice to see that out of our lineup. We got on a roll early, and once you get going like that, you kind of start to feed off each other, which was nice."

Andrew Heaney, the team's top prospect, was unable to qualify for his first big league win, working four innings and allowing four runs. The 23-year-old made his first big league start since July 5, and he finished up his season with 29 1/3 innings after opening the year at Double-A Jacksonville and moving up to Triple-A New Orleans.

"I felt good," said Heaney, who also recorded his first Major League hit on an infield single. "I just threw some fastballs up in the zone that got hit hard. I wasn't very good throwing secondary stuff. Once the fourth inning rolled around, I was able to get in the zone a little easier and able to mix pitches. Before that, it was just kind of flat and up."

In the ninth inning, Hernandez broke the game open with his grand slam. Miami scored five times off Craig Stammen in the inning, its second five-run frame of the game.

The big offensive showing comes at a time when All-Star Giancarlo Stanton (facial fractures) and Marcell Ozuna (right ankle sprain) are out of the lineup.

Their absence is creating opportunities for young players like Realmuto and Justin Bour, who had a two-run double in the seventh.

"Obviously, I want everybody to hit the ball well, but it's exciting for me to see J.T., Bour and guys I got to play with at the Minor League level succeed," Heaney said. "That's always fun."

The Marlins are now 77-83, which ties them with the Mets and Braves for second place in the National League East.

"It's actually pretty exciting to think about where we were last year to this year," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "No. 1, to be able to talk about a Wild Card spot as long as we were able to do it late into September. Now, to be playing for second place from last year to this year, that's a testament to those guys in the room over there. They've given me everything they have."

A year ago, Miami finished 62-100, the worst record in the NL.

A.J. Ramos, who threw a perfect eighth inning, was awarded the victory. Ramos is now 7-0. The last time an NL reliever finished the season 7-0 or better was Rheal Cormier (8-0) in 2003.

The Nationals, who clinched home-field advantage through the NL Championship Series with their Game 1 win, received a couple of home runs. Steven Souza Jr. went deep off Heaney in the third inning, and in the seventh inning, Tyler Moore connected off Chris Hatcher.

The Marlins grabbed the lead in a five-run fifth, doing all their damage with two outs and no one on against Washington right-hander Taylor Hill, making his first big league start. Reed Johnson had an RBI double, and after Bour was intentionally walked to load the bases, Realmuto ripped a three-run triple down the third-base line.

Realmuto's first MLB triple ended Hill's day after 4 2/3 innings and 90 pitches. Ross Detwiler entered to face Adeiny Hechavarria, who capped a 12-pitch at-bat with an RBI double, giving Miami a 7-4 lead. Hechavarria finished with four hits.

In 1 2/3 innings of relief, Miami's Brad Penny gave up two runs, making it a one-run game.

When Miami scored in the first on Casey McGehee's single, it snapped Washington's string of 18 straight scoreless innings.

"I wasn't sharp like I wanted to be," Hill said. "That's part of it. I found myself behind a lot of hitters. It ended up hurting me toward the end of the game."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cosart struggles with location in Game 1 loss

Righty walks eight, gives up three runs (two earned) in five innings

Cosart struggles with location in Game 1 loss

WASHINGTON -- With Jarred Cosart on the mound, the Marlins have become accustomed to a couple of things: The 24-year-old typically commands the strike zone and keeps the ball in the park.

In Game 1 on Friday afternoon at Nationals Park, the right-hander struggled in both areas. Cosart walked a career-high eight, while Doug Fister tossed a three-hit shutout in Washington's 4-0 victory over Miami.

More

Antony Rendon belted a first-inning home run, but the way Fister was breezing along, he didn't need much run support to help the Nationals wrap up the top seed in the National League, giving them home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.

"I didn't give my team a chance to have a quick inning and try to get some hits together," Cosart said. "It's on my shoulders. Hopefully, put this one behind [us] and get going next year.

"It's hard to get anything going against a guy like Fister when he's that good, and I'm out there having 20-minute innings, and my guys have to sit behind me and not get in there and try to get things going. But he was on his game today."

All three Miami hits were by Donovan Solano, who had two singles and a two-out triple in the ninth inning. Fister, who struck out a season-high nine, received a defensive lift with two outs in the ninth when Asdrubal Cabrera robbed Casey McGehee of a potential RBI hit.

By that point, Fister enjoyed a four-run cushion.

"He was really good all day long," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He threw the ball where he wanted it to. He kept them off balance. [Starting with] the sixth inning, he threw a lot of curveballs. There were swings and misses and strikes taken. He was in command all day."

Cosart, a bright spot since being acquired from the Astros on July 31, had his shortest outing with Miami. He gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings, while allowing four hits and striking out three.

"Hey, I chalk it up to a bad day for [Cosart]," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He's been really good for us. Today, it just seemed like he was fighting that fastball. He didn't have a great breaking ball to back that up. He was probably the opposite of Fister, right? He was having trouble getting his fastball down. He couldn't throw that breaking ball for a strike. It is what it is."

The walks were what stood out. Just six times in club history has a Miami pitcher issued eight or more bases on balls. The franchise mark is nine, set by A.J Burnett on the night he no-hit the Padres (May 12, 2001). Al Leiter walked nine on May 27, 1996.

Cosart joins Anibal Sanchez (Sept. 28, 2009), Pat Rapp (July 9, 1994), and Jesus Sanchez (Aug. 25, 2001) with eight. Cosart's previous high was six, set on Sept. 9, 2013, while he was with the Astros.

In four of his five innings, he stranded two on base.

"It's embarrassing," Cosart said. "I didn't give my team a chance from the beginning, at all."

The Nationals struck for two runs in the first inning, and Fister didn't look back. With one out in the first, Rendon went deep to left. Cosart entered the game having allowed just eight home runs in 175 1/3 innings this year, including one in 59 innings with Miami.

Since joining the Marlins, Cosart walked just 14 heading into Friday. But in the first three innings alone, he walked six.

After Rendon's 21st homer of the season got things rolling, Adam LaRoche singled and moved to third on Ian Desmond's double. LaRoche ended up scoring on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's passed ball with Bryce Harper at the plate.

The walks caught up to Cosart in the fifth inning, when he walked two. An infield RBI single by Cabrera gave Washington a three-run advantage.

Of Cosart's 99 pitches, 51 were strikes.

"It's one we're talking about wanting to forget and get ready for next year," Cosart said. "We've had too much good over the last few weeks to let this one ruin the season. It's definitely going to eat at me for a while. I didn't have it out there. I couldn't find the plate. That's pretty much it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Fruits of '12 trade developing into core pieces for Miami

Deal brought Alvarez to Marlins, allowed club to trade for Cosart, Hernandez

Fruits of '12 trade developing into core pieces for Miami

WASHINGTON -- The fruits of one of the most controversial trades in recent history are starting to flourish for the Marlins. Two seasons later, several core pieces are now in place in Miami thanks to the 2012 deal with Toronto.

Either directly or indirectly from that trade two Novembers ago, the Marlins landed Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Mathis, Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez, Anthony DeSclafani, Justin Nicolino and Derek Dietrich.

More

In return, Miami moved a number of high-priced and popular players, such as Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck.

Because of the cost-cutting and breaking up the high-priced 2012 team after one season, the Marlins took a sizeable public relations hit. In terms of a baseball trade, however, now it is hard to argue with the results.

"I think now, when you look at that trade and the pieces that have come back, and what they are at the big league level and what they've turned into, it has ended up being a good baseball trade for both sides," Marlins general manager Dan Jennings said. "The problem was, at that time, the names we got in return were not household names like we gave up."

The actual trade was Reyes, Buehrle, Johnson, Bonifacio and Buck for Alvarez, Hechavarria, Mathis, Yunel Escobar, DeSclafani, Nicolino and Jake Marisnick.

Escobar was spun to the Rays for Dietrich.

In July, Marisnick and Colin Moran, the sixth overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, were dealt to the Astros for Cosart and Hernandez. So the Toronto trade helped land Cosart and Hernandez, who may become a regular in 2015.

Alvarez was an All-Star this season and a top-of-the-rotation talent. Mathis is a respected backup catcher. Hechavarria is a front-line shortstop, while Cosart is a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. DeSclafani will compete for a rotation or bullpen spot next year. And Nicolino was the Marlins' organizational pitcher of the year, coming off a championship at Double-A Jacksonville. Dietrich, who has dealt with injuries, was the Opening Day second baseman.

The Marlins understood the backlash in 2012, but they have built a strong foundation for 2015 with the pieces they've acquired.

"Everybody is entitled to their opinions, and we respect that," Jennings said. "But at the same time, we can't let outside opinions interfere with the decisions we make as an organization."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Cishek calls Jeter's final NY heroics 'remarkable'

Closer, Marlins teammates watched shortstop's last home game from plane

Cishek calls Jeter's final NY heroics 'remarkable'

WASHINGTON -- From 30,000 feet in the air, Steve Cishek and a number of his Marlins teammates couldn't help but root on Derek Jeter.

The Marlins were in flight to Washington on Thursday night when Jeter went out in grand style at Yankee Stadium. In his final home at-bat, the Yankees' captain slapped a walk-off single to right in the ninth inning against the Orioles.

More

"It was remarkable," said Cishek, the Marlins' closer.

Cishek is from Falmouth, Mass., and he grew up a Red Sox fan. But the moment was too much to ignore.

"I tweeted something last night," Cishek said. "It was literally the first time I threw my hands up and cheered for the Yankees. I grew up a Red Sox fan and everything. You really couldn't have scripted it any better. That's why sports are so great. You can't plan for something like that."

"No one is trying to give up a hit," Cishek said. "[Yankees closer David] Robertson is not trying to give up three runs so Jeter could walk off. You could just see it all unfolding. You see a tie ballgame. You see Jeter was coming up third. We were like, 'Watch, he's probably going to do something crazy.'

"Sure enough, the leadoff guy singles, advances on a bunt, and Jeter is up. You just knew something awesome was going to happen."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Marlins rally to cap winning season at Marlins Park

McGehee's go-ahead double nets Koehler's 10th win of 2014

Marlins rally to cap winning season at Marlins Park

MIAMI -- The Marlins have been lacking big innings ever since Giancarlo Stanton was struck in the face by an errant pitch on Sept. 11. Since their primary run producer went down, they'd won just four games entering Thursday's home finale against the Phillies.

But there's something about Marlins Park that has lent itself to exciting games this year, and Miami was able to cap off its first winning season at its home stadium with a come-from-behind 6-4 victory. It was Miami's 14th such victory at home this season. In all, the Marlins have recorded 29 come-from-behind victories and 11 walk-off wins.

More

"That's exactly what we were waiting on, and it hadn't come," manager Mike Redmond said. "We all knew it was bound to come if we just stayed with it. These guys played hard for nine innings-plus all year long. … It was a fun way to finish the year at home. Like I said, a come-from-behind win -- that's what this team's all about."

The Marlins broke through in the seventh inning when the first six batters reached base against Phillies reliever Jake Diekman. Adeiny Hechavarria and pinch-hitter Reed Johnson led off with back-to-back singles, then Christian Yelich laced a ball through the legs of third baseman Cody Asche, who was given an error on the play as Yelich made it all the way to second. Hechavarria was able to score.

Donovan Solano brought home Johnson six pitches later on a single to right field, and Casey McGehee drove in Yelich and Solano with a go-ahead double. McGehee was caught trying to steal third, so when Garrett Jones got to Diekman for a single, the Marlins couldn't add more insurance.

"He just said, 'That's the first time I got thrown out all year.' And I said, 'Man, if we lose that game you're in my office," said Redmond, who teasingly referred to McGehee as Rickey Henderson. "Casey, he's trying to make a play and I don't even know what to say. He'll probably say, 'I thought I was safe.'"

Added McGehee: "Hey, I've only been caught once this year and it was close. So, it wasn't like I was out by 40 feet or anything. He was shocked I was thrown out because I've been showing so much speed this year. He wanted to come out and challenge it. I told him I was out."

But Redmond didn't need to call McGehee into his office after all, as the two runs held to give starter Tom Koehler his first win since Aug. 17. Koehler lasted seven innings, struck out seven and gave up four earned runs on eight hits. He was able to even out his record and get his 10th win in his 32nd start of the season, joining fellow starter Henderson Alvarez (12) and reliever Mike Dunn (10) to give Miami three 10-game winners for the first time since 2004.

"Going into this year my goal was to make every start. I take a lot of pride in that, to be able to take the ball every five days," Koehler said. "Sometimes it's not going to be a good one. Sometimes it's going to be really good. … I think the biggest thing for me was that out of the 32 games I think there were only two starts that were less than five innings. To keep the team in the position to win the ballgame, that's my ultimate goal every time. I think I did a good job of doing that."

The Marlins had jumped on an early 2-1 lead in the first inning. With Yelich already on base via a leadoff single, Solano laced a liner to deep left field. Yelich raced around second and slid into third just before Domonic Brown got the ball in from the outfield. Solano reached second on the throw.

That set up perfectly for McGehee to lift a ball to deep center field for a sacrifice fly. And Jones, who was hitting cleanup for only the second time since April, drove Solano in on a single. Jones finished 3-for-4 with one RBI.

But for the second game in a row, hits by the pitcher played a huge role for Philadelphia. Up by one run in the sixth inning, Koehler should have gotten a quick first out with the pitcher leading off. But starter David Buchanan got the best of a 3-2 fastball and looped it into left field for a double. He came around to put the Phillies up by one run when Yelich overran a Chase Utley double that dropped a few feet fair of the third-base line.

A few batters later, Brown added some insurance with a single that scored Ben Revere and Utley, whose damage against the Marlins had been limited to one hit in the previous two games before Thursday.

"For whatever reason, we've had some tough times with these pitchers," Redmond said. "I don't know what it is but we seem, well, probably throughout the season, we've given up some big hits to some pitchers. We're gonna have to go back to the drawing board on that one for Spring Training next year. That started that rally, but he's still able to make pitches and get himself through and he got out of it, giving us a chance to win that ballgame. Ten wins for Tommy, I'm proud of him."

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Young Marlins stating their case for 2015

Young Marlins stating their case for 2015

MIAMI -- Throughout the final homestand of the year, the Marlins have gotten a good glimpse of the way their future could shape up. From top prospect Andrew Heaney throwing three scoreless innings of relief, to first baseman Justin Bour and outfielder Enrique Hernandez making a handful of incredible defensive plays, Miami should have plenty to consider when spring rolls in.

People like Hernandez and Bour have had chances to play due to the injuries to Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna. Not only have they shown their defensive prowess, but they've also had chances to impress with their bats.

More

"Part of what September is all about is giving some young guys the opportunity to go out there and play and try to show us what they can do," manager Mike Redmond said. "They're all trying to prove that they're good enough going forward to be part of this team and this organization."

Hitting was slow to come for Hernandez, who wasn't getting a lot of playing time and never got the chance to lock in at the plate. After being traded to the Marlins from the Astros along with Jarred Cosart at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, he went 0-for-7 in a week that saw him make just one start before he was sent down to Triple-A New Orleans. He was called up when rosters expanded but continued to play off the bench until Ozuna sprained his right ankle on Sunday.

When he made his first start in the field on Sept. 14, he broke out of his slump, driving an opposite-field homer at Citizens Bank Park to tie the game for his first hit as a Marlin. He ended up drawing a walk and scoring another of Miami's five runs that day.

Since then, he's made plenty of strides, hitting 6-for-21 and posting a .400 on-base percentage entering Thursday.

"This is all about taking advantage of the opportunities they give you," Hernandez said. "Sometimes, they're not gonna give you more than one. … Every second I play I'm trying to show them what I can do on the field so they'll include me in next year's plans."

And Bour has made a case for himself too. He's hit .313 in September and has driven in five runs and scored three times entering Thursday. Last weekend against the Nationals, he was actually the one accountable for three of the Marlins' five runs in the last three games of the series.

Even when he's not getting on base, he's made some impressive plays on the field. On Wednesday, he laid out at first to steal a hit from Chase Utley. He also started an inning-ending double play in the second, and in the ninth he charged a bunt fast enough to get Philadelphia's lead runner at third base.

"I'm really proud of myself on both sides of the ball," Bour said. "Like yesterday, I didn't get any hits but I was able to help the team defensively, so that's big for me. …That's the main goal, is to show people that you can play at this level. I'm trying to make the most of this opportunity and show them what I can do."

Once the Marlins' playoff hopes dwindled, Heaney got some time to show what he was capable of as well. The southpaw logged 4 2/3 innings over two games and only allowed two hits. The Nationals knocked in one of those on Sunday, in the midst of Heaney's scoreless three-inning performance that persuaded Redmond to tab Heaney for a start in Friday's doubleheader.

"I think I got fair opportunities," Heaney said. "I didn't feel slighted by any means. I think I threw well enough to get this opportunity, and I want to prove that I can be better."

So even though the Marlins had gone 2-5 in this homestand entering Thursday's home finale, there have been plenty of good moments for them to look back on.

"I'm optimistic," Redmond said about the club's future. "We've talked a lot as an organization about where we're headed and where we want to go. I think we're all on the same page and we're going to work this offseason. We like the group of guys that we have, and we feel like adding a couple of pieces will be huge."

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Defense lends a Hand, but Phils prevail

Lefty tosses seven strong with support from gems on the field

Defense lends a Hand, but Phils prevail

MIAMI -- The Marlins haven't been able to figure out Kyle Kendrick throughout the years. Wednesday night was no different, as Miami dropped a 2-1 duel to the Phillies with the roof open at Marlins Park.

Miami's inability to get the "big hit" for most of this homestand -- of four one-run games, the club has not emerged victorious once -- reared its head again, allowing Kendrick to lock down his 14th career win against the Marlins.

More

"I don't know how many games in a row this is, but we're having a tough time scoring," manager Mike Redmond said. "We had some guys in scoring position, and couldn't get a couple of add-on hits to score some runs. That's kind of the way it's been going since we lost [Giancarlo Stanton] and now without [Marcell] Ozuna in the lineup."

It wasn't until the eighth inning that the game was decided. Reliever Chris Hatcher was on the mound and gave up a quick leadoff single to Maikel Franco. The next batter tapped out to second baseman Donovan Solano, but Franco had run fast enough that Solano's only play was at first base. After a walk to Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd, who'd been tagged out at the plate and had lined into an unassisted double play earlier, hit a ball sharp enough to right to score Franco from second.

Although the Marlins were behind by just one run at that point, they were unable to overcome the deficit in either of their next two chances. That was how Wednesday went, as they left six men on base and hit 1-for-10 with RISP. Garrett Jones was left stranded at second when Enrique Hernandez struck out to end the game.

"I was struggling a little bit, and it feels good and it feels nice to have a nice day," said Hernandez, who recorded his first multi-hit game as a Marlin. "But at the end of the day, we're still trying to get as many wins as possible and we didn't get it done. In the ninth inning, I didn't get it done."

Marlins starter Brad Hand only gave up one run on six hits in seven innings. But half of those were by Kendrick, whose three hits set a career high. Kendrick even drove in the Phillies' first run in the seventh inning on a double into left-center field that was deflected by Hernandez, allowing Darin Ruf to score.

"I kept the ball down for the most part -- except to Kendrick," Hand said. "It's just one of those things I was just trying to make pitches to him and he put some good swings on the ball."

The Marlins took back the run in the bottom of the seventh. Jones led off with his first of two doubles. He didn't wait long to come around to score, as two batters later Hernandez drove him in on a double to right-center field. Mathis drew a walk to put two runners on with one out for pinch-hitter Reed Johnson, but Johnson grounded into an inning-ending double play.

One bright spot in the game was Miami's defense, which was almost flawless behind Hand as it saved him at least two runs and a hit.

Miami caught its first break in the second inning on a Ruf double. With Byrd on first, Ruf lined a ball to the left-field wall. Christian Yelich grabbed it on the carom and relayed it to Adeiny Hechavarria, who, from shallow left, threw a strike home. Jeff Mathis applied the tag and crew chief Larry Vanover ruled Byrd out.

In the fourth inning with runners in scoring position and one out, Byrd hit a sharp liner right at Casey McGehee at third base. McGehee was able to run back to third just in time to double off Franco for an inning-ending double play.

And to lead off the sixth inning, Chase Utley was the victim of another gem, this one courtesy of first baseman Justin Bour, who dove to his right to snag a sharp liner that would have been a hit.

"We played good defense and that's what we're going to need to do, because we're not scoring runs," Redmond said. "So we're going to have to pitch and play defense and give ourselves a chance and hopefully we'll get that big hit eventually."

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Replay confirms out call at third base in Miami

Replay confirms out call at third base in Miami

MIAMI -- The Phillies lost an instant replay challenge in the eighth inning of Wednesday night's 2-1 win at Marlins Park.

On a bunt from Maikel Franco, Carlos Ruiz was ruled out at third base on a throw from first baseman Justin Bour. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg thought Ruiz beat the throw and issued a challenge.

More

Replay officials needed 1 minute, 40 seconds to confirm the call on the field that Ruiz was out.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter or MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Marlins hand out team awards; Stanton named club's MVP

Marlins hand out team awards; Stanton named club's MVP

MIAMI -- The Marlins' 2014 campaign is a handful of days away from being over, but awards season is just now getting underway. The Miami chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America recognized several Marlins players for their contributions this year before Wednesday's game against the Phillies.

Most Valuable Player: Giancarlo Stanton

More

Stanton, a candidate for the National League's Most Valuable Player Award, already has one award locked away. He received the Marlins' MVP award for the third time in his career.

In a season that saw Miami lose its most important arm when Jose Fernandez had to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery in mid-May, Stanton provided the kind of leadership Miami needed with a career year. The All-Star hit 37 homers, which tied a career high set in 2012, and knocked in a career-high 105 RBIs before being struck in the face by a pitch on Sept. 11. He also drew 94 walks, stole 13 bases and scored 89 runs -- the latter stats were second only to Christian Yelich, who had 21 stolen bases and 91 runs scored entering play Wednesday.

Rookie of the Year: Sam Dyson

Called up to take the roster spot of Nathan Eovaldi when he went on paternity, Dyson pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief in his 2014 debut for the Marlins on June 17. With the game tied in the seventh and a runner on first, Dyson allowed a double and as a result allowed the inherited runner to score. But Garrett Jones later hit a three-run blast to give Dyson a lead and eventually, his first Major League win.

He was sent down briefly upon Eovaldi's return, but he rejoined the team on June 28. He's been part of the Marlins' relief corps that leads the Majors with a second-half ERA of 2.49.

"We just work off everybody's vibes," Dyson said. "Everybody's going out there to put up zeros, and when everybody else does, I feel like it makes it a little bit easier. … You try to keep with the pace with everybody else."

Dyson has pitched in 30 games (40 1/3 innings) and posted a 2.01 ERA while allowing eight inherited runners to score entering Wednesday.

Mr. Marlin and the Good Guy

Mike Dunn and Casey McGehee also took home some hardware. McGehee, who was among the NL leaders in hits heading into the All-Star break, and for some time also led the league in average with runners in scoring position, was the recipient of the Jeff Conine "Mr. Marlin" Award. It is given to the player whose commitment to the game is embodied in his integrity and unselfish play.

Dunn received the Charlie Hough "Good Guy" Award, which is given to the player who fosters a positive working partnership with the media. Dunn has appeared in a team-leading 74 games and at one point led the pitching staff with his 10 wins.

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Miami snaps skid behind Alvarez's dominance

Right-hander gives up just five hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings

Miami snaps skid behind Alvarez's dominance

MIAMI -- With his team mired in a slump, Henderson Alvarez showcased his All-Star form on Tuesday night. It was certainly welcomed by a scuffling Miami squad, eager to end its four-game losing streak.

Alvarez threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, setting the tone in the Marlins' 2-0 victory over the Phillies at Marlins Park. Runs were hard to come by off Cole Hamels, but Miami scratched out just enough to improve to 41-38 at home, the club's first winning record at home in the third year of the retractable-roof ballpark.

More

"[Alvarez has] become very consistent, and he's won ballgames," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "You do that by going out there and logging the innings and throwing strikes and keeping your team in it. He's definitely done that."

Mike Dunn logged the final out of the eighth inning, and Steve Cishek worked around two singles to seal Miami's 16th shutout. The save was Cishek's 38th save in 42 chances.

Ed Lucas had an RBI single, and Casey McGehee lifted a sacrifice fly to pick up a depleted offense, which is now without center fielder Marcell Ozuna, who is resting a high right ankle sprain.

The way both starters were breezing along, a little bit of support went a long way.

"Even when we've had our struggles, [Alvarez] is the guy we look at to be our stopper, for lack of a better term," McGehee said. "We feel like he's going to go out there and really shut down the other team, even if their best guy is going. When he's on, he's one of the best out there."

The Marlins also moved 4 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies, who are last in the National League East.

Alvarez is now at 180 innings, and he is scheduled to face the Nationals in the season finale on Sunday at Washington. A year ago on closing day, the right-hander no-hit the Tigers.

Alvarez was efficient, limiting Philadelphia to five hits and one walk before he exited after issuing a two-out walk to Carlos Ruiz in the eighth inning.

"I wanted to finish the game, but that at-bat with Ruiz, he fouled off a lot of pitches and got my pitches up, and Red took me out," Alvarez said. "I was thankful I was able to go close to finishing."

The Marlins strung together three straight one-out singles in the fourth inning to break through off Hamels. Jeff Baker got it rolling with a single to center, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia slapped a hit through the hole at short into left. Lucas' single to center, which was just out of shortstop Freddy Galvis' reach, drove home Baker.

The Phillies had runners in scoring position in the second and fifth innings, but Alvarez was able to escape each time. With runners on the corners in the second, Alvarez struck out Hamels to retire the side. And in the fifth, Hamels lined a two-out double to center, but Philadelphia was unable to capitalize. Alvarez got Ben Revere to tap to second.

"I'd say for the most part, [Alvarez has] given us a tough time this year," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's good with his live fastball. He's got some body action out there that has some deception to it. Overall, he's pitched good against us."

Alvarez was at 67 pitches through five innings.

Miami manufactured a run in the fifth inning with some nice situational hitting. Christian Yelich doubled to left over the head of Domonic Brown. Playing the percentages, Donovan Solano dropped a sacrifice bunt, and McGehee lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, adding an insurance run.

Taking the series opener was a relief after being swept in four-games by Washington.

"It's important that I have a strong end to the season," Alvarez said. "It's unfortunate we've come up short the last four games; we weren't able to win the close games. It was important to put a strong game out there and get the win."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

DeSclafani loses appeal, begins suspension

DeSclafani loses appeal, begins suspension

MIAMI -- Marlins right-hander Anthony DeSclafani will begin serving his three-game suspension for a hit-by-pitch of the Brewers' Carlos Gomez on Tuesday at Marlins Park after losing his appeal. He will be eligible to return on Friday, in time for the doubleheader against the Nationals in Washington. DeSclafani is a potential candidate to start one of those games.

MLB penalized DeSclafani for hitting Gomez the inning after Giancarlo Stanton was struck in the face by an errant Mike Fiers fastball on Sept. 11. Umpires ejected him and bench coach Rob Leary immediately.

More

Warnings had been issued to both teams after benches cleared in the fifth inning when Reed Johnson, who stepped in to take over Stanton's at-bat, was clipped on the hand by Fiers' next pitch. Johnson was ruled out on a swinging strikeout in his effort to turn to escape Fiers' pitch, and third baseman Casey McGehee, incensed by the situation, came out to argue. McGehee and manager Mike Redmond were both ejected in the incident.

DeSclafani has pitched in two games since he appealed the suspension, which was issued on Sept. 12. In 2 1/3 innings, he's struck out one batter and allowed two hits. In all, the 24-year-old has appeared in 11 games for Miami, including five starts, and has a 6.61 ERA.

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Marlins make most of challenging campaign

Marlins make most of challenging campaign

MIAMI -- A season filled with so much hope and optimism ultimately turned into a campaign that left the Marlins wondering what might have been if not for two crushing injuries.

Watching their ace, Jose Fernandez, a potential National League Cy Young Award candidate, go down in May crippled the rotation early. Still, the resilient squad kept things interesting until its NL MVP Award front-runner, Giancarlo Stanton, was struck in the face with a fastball. Now, with seven games to go, Miami is limping to the finish line instead sprinting toward the playoffs.

More

"It's a big blow," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Without question, it's a big blow when you don't have your top pitcher or your top hitter to finish a season."

Fernandez and Stanton aren't just two gifted players. They are two franchise-caliber players. When healthy, they're probably top-five finishers for the Cy Young and MVP awards.

Even without their two young superstars, the Marlins created a culture emphasizing that they could compete no matter the obstacles that stood in their way. In many ways they did.

They remained mathematically alive in the NL Wild Card race until Saturday, or with nine games remaining. They had a real chance to finish above .500 for the first time since 2009. But attrition to the roster finally caught up, and the team is 74-81 after being swept in a four-game set with the Nationals over the weekend.

"We've tried to build the deepest roster we possibly could and create a mindset in that clubhouse of no excuses, and next man up and next man up to do their job," Hill said. "In this game, you can't make assumptions. You can't speculate. Things happen. No matter what happens, you're going to be playing 162 games in a regular season. That opponent you're facing, they're not going to do you any favors."

Miami's resolve will be tested even more in the final seven games, because center fielder Marcell Ozuna is now out with a high right ankle sprain suffered in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Washington.

But the crucial blows were Stanton and Fernandez.

The way the season played out, the Marlins felt they could weather being without one of their stars. Surviving without both was just too much.

Stanton, who sustained multiple facial fractures after being hit by the pitch on Sept. 11 at Milwaukee, played in 145 games. He likely will be the Marlins' first NL home run champion. Stanton has 37, but will have to see if anyone makes a late push (the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo is second with 31). The two-time All-Star also knocked in 105 runs, and his slash line ended up at .288/.395/.555.

According to Fangraphs.com, Stanton's WAR is 6.0, and Fernandez had a WAR of 1.6.

Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery in mid-May, after just eight starts, in which he went 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings.

The Marlins are optimistic that Stanton will be his old self at the start of Spring Training. Fernandez, who will begin his throwing program on Oct. 1, should be back around the All-Star break.

"It's two instances where injuries happen," Hill said. "You deal with it. You know players have come back from those injuries. We're confident that both will be back better than ever, with the resolve to help this club win a championship."

A positive the club is taking out of the trying season is that it is continuing to build stronger overall organizational depth.

Fernandez's absence helped lead to the organization acquiring right-hander Jarred Cosart from the Astros in July. In that deal, Enrique Hernandez was obtained. He's now getting playing time in center field and right field with Ozuna and Stanton both out.

"When injuries happen, it's always an opportunity for someone to step up and fill in and do their part to help the club," Hill said. "I think we all recognize in this sport you don't do it alone. It takes not just a 25-man roster. It takes a 40-man roster. It takes a strong Minor League system to win a championship. Things happen, and you have to deal with it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Marlins have eyes on Cuban prospect Tomas

Miami sends two executives to slugger's workout

Marlins have eyes on Cuban prospect Tomas

MIAMI -- The regular season may officially end on Sept. 28, but the Marlins' front office already is spanning the globe in search for possible talent to infuse into the organization. On Sunday, two Miami executives were in the Dominican Republic to attend the workout of coveted Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas.

Pretty much all 30 MLB teams are expected to watch Tomas, whose salary demands are expected to be very high, perhaps as much as the seven-year, $72.5 million deal Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo signed in late August with the Red Sox.

More

Tomas' workout is taking place in Boca Chica at the academy of the San Francisco Giants. To be on hand from the Marlins will be director of international operations Albert Gonzalez and vice president of player personnel Craig Weissmann.

Regarded as the next Cuban superstar, Tomas reportedly is drawing heavy interest from the Giants, Phillies, Padres, Rangers and Tigers.

Tomas is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound slugger, who profiles as a corner outfielder. In his final season playing in Cuba, the 23-year-old batted .286 with 15 home runs, 60 RBIs and 45 runs scored.

Reports are he is close to being big league ready, but may first need some time in Triple-A before making the leap.

Castillo's $72.5 million contract is a record-setting number for an amateur free-agent.

Tomas played for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and he defected this year.

Because of his age, and overall talent, the young slugger is likely to sign for a number closer to what Castillo signed for and for more than Jose Abreu (six years, $68 million) signed for with the White Sox.

In an article by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez recently, Tomas said: "I have expectations of myself and what I want to do in my career. [The workout] will be a new experience, but I'm ready for it. I've played in Cuba, around the world and in the World Baseball Classic against tough competition. This is a new challenge, but I look forward to that."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Fan surprises himself by catching foul ball

|
Fan surprises himself by catching foul ball

Most fans don't bring their gloves to the stadium and even fewer fans have a popcorn bucket handy when a foul ball heads into the seats and in their general direction. This means that the majority of folks around the stadiums are merely armed with their bare hands and their own athletic prowess when trying to corral foul balls. 

Continue Reading on Cut4

Cosart, defense falter in seventh, eliminating Marlins

Three-run frame proves decisive after righty got out of jams early on

Cosart, defense falter in seventh, eliminating Marlins

MIAMI -- The Marlins initially got the call on home-plate collision rule 7.13 in the decisive seventh inning on Saturday night, but they were unable to execute the necessary big outs. Against a surging team like the Nationals, any missed opportunity has become extremely costly.

Ryan Zimmerman and Asdrubal Cabrera each delivered RBI triples in a three-run seventh inning that rallied Washington to a 3-2 victory that officially eliminated Miami from National League Wild Card contention.

More

The Marlins lost by the 3-2 score for the second straight night. This time, the one-run loss came in an agonizing manner. Against closer Drew Storen, the Marlins had first and third after one-out singles by Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour. But the game ended when Garrett Jones bounced into a 4-6-3 double play.

"We're just not scoring a lot of runs," manager Mike Redmond said. "Every misplay ... we're getting a couple of runs and having to hang on. Sometimes that's tough against a team like that."

Marlins right-hander Jarred Cosart had been clinging to a two-run lead, but in the seventh inning, the Nationals were able to break through on their way to taking the first three games in the series. Cosart worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits.

The injury-depleted Marlins are striving to finish strong, but they've now fallen to fourth place in the National League East. The loss also put an end to any postseason aspirations.

"I'm proud of these guys. We've battled," Redmond said. "We've battled through a lot of adversity. These guys, they've given me everything they've had, every single day. We've gone through a lot."

The Marlins fell to 74-80, but they've certainly caught the attention of the first-place Nationals, who improved to 90-64.

"A really good win against a pitcher [Cosart] that's been very, very good," Zimmerman said. "One of the best pitchers in the big leagues for the past couple of months."

The seventh inning got going with a single by Ian Desmond and an RBI triple by Zimmerman, which Reed Johnson gambled on by making a diving attempt in right field. Wilson Ramos tapped to Casey McGehee at third, who threw home to Jeff Mathis, who tagged Zimmerman out. A crew-chief review was used to determine if Mathis either didn't provide a lane or apply the tag in time. The call was confirmed after a review of one minute and 54 seconds.

The Nationals tied it on Cabrera's triple to right field on a 1-2 pitch.

"I wasn't very good today, for the whole game," Cosart said. "I threw [Cabrera] too many breaking balls, and hung one. I hung it, and he put it down the line into the corner and they ran for days. Just a bad pitch, bad execution."

Cosart was lifted for Mike Dunn, who retired pinch-hitter Bryce Harper on a grounder to second. But Washington claimed the lead on Denard Span's two-out RBI single with the count full.

"I really thought that he would get through that inning and keep the game, 2-1," Redmond said. "[Cabrera] hooked that ball right down the line. I couldn't tell if it was right down the line or right inside the line. I guess that's how it is kind of going for us."

The Marlins grabbed the lead in the first inning on Bour's two-out RBI single, which scored Donovan Solano from second.

Miami tacked on a second run the unconventional way with two outs in the fourth inning. Johnson rounded the bases on a double to deep center field, and courtesy of two errors, he was able to go all the way home.

Span was charged with an error in center when he overshot the cutoff man, and the ball dribbled into the infield. First baseman Adam LaRoche had a chance to scoop the ball up, but it skipped past him. Johnson took off for third, as Jordan Zimmermann retrieved the ball. Thinking he had a play on Johnson, the Washington pitcher threw to third baseman Anthony Rendon, but the throw was off the mark, skipping to the side wall before caroming up toward the outfield. Johnson raced home without a throw.

"I knew I overthrew the first cutoff guy, but I thought the ball was going to get caught," Span said. "I turned my head and all of a sudden I heard the crowd roaring. I was like, 'What the heck is going on?' Next thing you know, he was rounding third."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Improved Eovaldi not enough to halt Miami's slide

Righty strong, but offense held in check as Ozuna hurts ankle

Improved Eovaldi not enough to halt Miami's slide

MIAMI -- It wasn't a victory, but it certainly was a positive step forward for Nathan Eovaldi. The hard-throwing right-hander demonstrated a more consistent delivery, executed more effective secondary pitches and minimized damage on Sunday afternoon.

What Eovaldi wasn't able to do was reverse the Marlins' downward trend, as the Nationals, behind Stephen Strasburg, claimed a 2-1 victory at Marlins Park. It was a painful afternoon overall for Miami as center fielder Marcell Ozuna injured his right ankle and was assisted off the field in the seventh inning.

More

Already without MVP-candidate Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins also face the strong likelihood of not having Ozuna in the final week.

"It's tough on the team, especially losing Stanton, and Ozuna is probably going to be out a couple of games," Eovaldi said. "I don't know how bad it is. It's tough. You want to finish the season strong and with everybody healthy. It will be another challenge for us."

For the first time in the history of the rivalry, the Marlins were swept in a four-game series, dating back to when the Nationals were the Montreal Expos.

Strasburg threw seven scoreless innings, allowing three of Miami's four hits.

The Marlins are now 3-8 since Stanton was hit in the face with a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11. Overall, the club is 74-81, meaning one more loss will mark their fifth straight losing season.

"We're trying to win all these games," manager Mike Redmond said. "That's what it's all about. We don't go into each game going, 'Man, I just want to feel good about this one.' We're trying to win and finish off on a good note, no doubt. Losing Ozuna doesn't make it any easier, especially when we have to play these guys four more times."

Miami is off on Monday after a span of playing 17 straight games. They take on the Phillies at home beginning on Tuesday and finish up the season with four games at Washington.

The Marlins lost three straight, one-run games to the Nationals.

"We won some close ones," Washington manager Matt Williams said. "Our pitching was good. We did enough to win, which is good."

The day turned even more agonizing in the seventh inning when Ozuna went down. The 23-year-old hit one to left field, and when the ball wasn't fielded cleanly by Kevin Frandsen, Ozuna advanced to second. As he reached the bag, he slowed down and his right ankle rolled on second base, causing him to stumble off the bag and onto the ground.

Ozuna was credited with a double, but was tagged out by Asdrubal Cabrera. Assisted by trainer Sean Cunningham and Redmond, Ozuna hobbled off the field and to the training room.

The Marlins announced Ozuna has a right ankle sprain, and the X-ray came back negative. The double was just the third hit Strasburg allowed over his seven innings.

The game changed in Washington's favor with two runs in the fifth inning when Nate Schierholtz and Anthony Rendon each delivered RBIs that gave the Nationals a lead Strasburg didn't surrender.

Opening the fifth, Jose Lobaton dropped a double to left on a ball that Christian Yelich nearly made a diving grab on. Schierholtz laced an RBI triple to the gap in right-center, and Rendon, with the count full, poked a run-scoring double to left.

In the ninth inning, the Marlins avoided the shutout when Reed Johnson delivered a pinch-hit double and scored on Donovan Solano's sacrifice fly off Rafael Soriano.

Between starts, Eovaldi worked with pitching coach Chuck Hernandez on refining his delivery. The early result on Sunday was an improved slider. He was able to strike out Cabrera swinging in the first inning on a crisp slider.

The breaking pitch also caught Lobaton looking in the second inning. Bryce Harper swung through a two-strike slider in the third inning.

In the fourth inning, Eovaldi received a big boost by his defense. Adam LaRoche singled to open the inning, and Frandsen ripped a liner to right for what appeared to be extra bases. Without hesitation, LaRoche sprinted to second, and he was rounding the base as right fielder Enrique Hernandez made a terrific leaping grab near the line. LaRoche was easily doubled up at first.

"It was nice to bounce back," Eovaldi said. "I still had that rough inning in the fifth. I was able to bounce back. I was able to move the ball to both sides of the plate, and use my offspeed pitches."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Marlins stayed in playoff hunt longer than expected

Marlins stayed in playoff hunt longer than expected

MIAMI -- Live by the one-run game, get eliminated by the one-run game. The Marlins found themselves in that predicament on Saturday night.

By falling 3-2 to the Nationals, Miami has now been officially eliminated from the National League Wild Card race. Nine days after All-Star Giancarlo Stanton had his season cut short by a pitch to the face in Milwaukee, the injury-depleted Marlins were mathematically locked out of the postseason.

More

"We've had some tough days," manager Mike Redmond said. "Losing G there in Milwaukee was a big blow. That was a big blow to our team, our lineup, everybody. These guys, I give them credit. They keep battling, they keep fighting. It's been a fun year. We've really improved."

The irony of Saturday night is Miami bowed out of the race with a one-run loss. The club has been so successful in tight games, posting a 35-26 overall record in one-run affairs.

The Marlins certainly stuck around longer than most expected.

Officially, the letter "E" went by their side on Sept. 20, with eight games remaining. Despite being 74-80, the Marlins are vastly improved from a year ago.

In 2013, the Marlins finished 62-100, and their elimination date was officially on Sept. 3, when they sat with a 52-85 mark, 25 games off the pace.

"You've seen with a lot of our guys, how much better they've gotten in a year," Redmond said. "It's a great clubhouse. These guys support each other. They pick each other up. We've got to keep fighting and try to win as many of these games as we can over these next [eight] games."

Coming out of Spring Training, many predicted the Marlins to finish last in the National League East. They still have a chance to finish with a .500 record, but they will have to get hot in the final week.

If a better-than-.500 record isn't in the cards, getting as close as they can to 80 wins is Miami's objective.

"We have a lot of excitement for next year and starting out on the right foot and staying steady for the season," right-hander Jarred Cosart said. "The division is only going to get better. We've seen that with the pitching and hitting the Mets are running out there. They're only going to get better. And these guys [the Nationals] are not losing anybody. The Braves are right there. It's going to be a battle again. It's a long season."

The Marlins made tremendous strides, despite being without their ace, Jose Fernandez, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May. Earlier this month, they lost the services of Stanton, their NL MVP Award candidate who sustained multiple facial fractures after being hit by a pitch on Sept. 11.

"There is a lot of excitement for next year," Cosart said. "Just knowing that we were close with obviously some key pieces missing and some bad breaks here and there. But it's going to be exciting to have everybody and get everything rolling. For the most part, we've played good baseball. It's about continuing that for 162 games from the start."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Bour could be Marlins' latest Rule 5 hidden gem

After years in Cubs' farm system, first baseman showing what he can do at big league level

Bour could be Marlins' latest Rule 5 hidden gem

MIAMI -- A surplus of prospects in the Cubs' system allowed the Marlins to nab Justin Bour in the Triple-A Phase of the Rule 5 Draft last December. Now, the 26-year-old first baseman is being given a chance to show whether he fits into Miami's plans for the future.

A left-handed hitter with power, Bour connected on his first big league homer on Friday in Miami's 3-2 loss to Washington at Marlins Park.

More

At Triple-A New Orleans this season, Bour belted 18 homers and drove in 72 runs in 103 games.

Adding Bour to their organization was a low-risk, potentially high-reward pickup for the Marlins. A 25th-round pick by the Cubs in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Bour envisioned making his mark in the Majors in Chicago. Instead, it is coming in Miami.

"I believed that I was going to make it with the Cubs," Bour said. "But this has been a blessing in disguise, getting picked up by the Marlins and being given the opportunity. I'm continuing to take it all in stride."

Garrett Jones has been the Marlins' primary first baseman this season. But with Giancarlo Stanton out, Jones is seeing some time in right field. That is giving Bour a chance to start at first against right-handed pitching.

Occasionally a team will find a gem in the Rule 5 Draft. The Marlins in 2005 struck it big in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 Draft, selecting Dan Uggla from the D-backs' system.

Uggla and Stanton share the franchise home run record at 154.

"I remember in our meetings seeing some video of him," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "All I knew was he was a power hitter -- a big, strong first baseman and a guy who had a ton of power."

Unlike the MLB phase, players taken in the Triple-A Phase didn't have to make the Opening Day roster. Bour was able to spend most of the season at New Orleans while getting some big league at-bats as early as June. He was a September callup, giving Miami a chance to help evaluate him for next year.

"It's big for me to showcase what I have and how I can play at this level," Bour said. "Just enjoy every opportunity I get, whether it is pinch-hitting or playing at first."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less