Closer knows Phelps deal likely not the last one by Marlins before Deadline
By Jeremy Vernon
CINCINNATI -- The Marlins dealt reliever David Phelps to the Mariners on Thursday for four prospects, but they are by no means done moving bullpen pieces ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.
Closer AJ Ramos has been among the players other teams have looked into -- 8-10 teams, according to sources -- and Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Thursday the market for Ramos is similar to what it was for Phelps.
Ramos has heard the rumors, but said Friday he is just going to keep his head down and focus on what's in front of him.
"You see it and you try not to think about it too much, because it's not anything you can control," Ramos said. "I guess it's a good thing. It means you've been doing something right and other teams want you as well, but at the same time, I've been with this team my whole career, so it's kind of one of those things. It's good, but also it's a little bit bittersweet. ... But we don't know. We're talking about stuff that's not real right now. We're talking about made-up stuff so far right now. So right now, at this time, I'm still a Marlin, so I'm still focusing on that."
Ramos has a 2.81 ERA in 321 appearances with the Marlins since 2012. He said he sees what Miami is trying to do in building for the future, but he will bear no ill will toward the team if he gets traded.
"I don't try to play team president or team manager or owner," Ramos said. "I just work here. ... I just try to deal with what I can control and you've got to let those guys do what they do. I'm not going to criticize someone for something I don't really know much about.
If Ramos ends up leaving Miami, the Marlins' bullpen will become flush with opportunities for their other relievers. One of those players who could benefit is Brian Ellington, who was called up from Triple-A New Orleans on Friday to take Phelps' spot on the roster.
Ellington struggled with Miami earlier this season -- he allowed 10 earned runs over 11 2/3 innings (7.71 ERA) while walking 13 and striking out 18. He's determined to avoid a similar performance this go-round.
"It's funny, in 2015 and 2016 after I pitched well in different parts both those years, I thought I had it figured out," Ellington said. "But this game's real humble real quick. ... There was just some things that weren't really setting myself up for success that I was doing early. Now here, at this point in the season, I just want to do whatever I can to help the team."
Marlins manager Don Mattingly pointed to Ellington as well as right-hander Junichi Tazawa as two players who could take advantage of the innings left behind in Phelps' absence.
"He's a guy that can take the ball pretty much every day," Mattingly said of Ellington. "He's been a guy that's thrown 45 [pitches] and felt good the next day. So we'll see what he can do. This is really a true opportunity for him at this point."
Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.