MIAMI -- The clock is ticking and the Marlins are frantically working the phones, striving to add a controllable starting pitcher before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill is making and receiving calls non-stop.
The Marlins held off the Nationals, 3-0, on Tuesday night, and Hill was on the phone until he left the ballpark at around 1 a.m. ET. When he woke up on Wednesday morning, he fielded his first trade-related call at 8:47 a.m.
Miami's mission is well-defined: Add a starting pitcher, preferably one with controllable service-time years.
"These guys in this room know we believe in them and believe in the talent in this room," Hill said Wednesday morning. "Whether we're able to make a deal or not, I think they know we have their back. We're supportive of what they're trying to do. We're going to do what's best to try to upgrade. But we're not going to be foolish. We're not going to be short-sighted. I think we understand where we're at as an organization, but we also understand where we're trying to go."
Winners of six straight and nine of 10 entering Wednesday, the Marlins are clearly buyers on the eve of the Trade Deadline.
"We'll see what happens these next two days," Hill said. "But there's been a lot going on. You try to work through it and see if what you're trying to do makes sense, not just in the near term, but in the long term."
The directive from Miami's front office is to foremost find a proven starter. If possible, it won't be a rental, which may rule out Boston's Jon Lester, viewed as a few-months option.
"Not ideal for what we're trying to do," Hill said. "It's something that we've entertained and have dipped our toe in the water. It all depends on the cost to acquire a rental and if it sidetracks what we're trying to do in the long term."
Miami made it back to .500 (53-53) by beating the Nationals on Tuesday night, and the front office is striving to send a message.
With the flurry of calls, the Marlins may be making more than one move. Second base is in play, but not as high a priority, largely because Jordany Valdespin and Donovan Solano are doing a nice job handling the position.
"When we signed Valdespin, we knew of his ability," Hill said. "We had seen him from the other dugout with the Mets and knew of his athleticism and his flair. We were hopeful that was an internal fix for us, and to this point, the combination with Solano and Valdespin has been a solid producer for us. At this point, our main focus at the Deadline is to try and upgrade our pitching."
"One thing we wanted to make clear is we're not trying to take off our Major League club, not key components," Hill said. "We're trying to add. To reshuffle or rob Peter to pay Paul doesn't really accomplish what we're trying to do."
If need be, the club is willing to take on salary.
"I would say we're looking at everything," Hill said. "Money deals, prospects deals, we're looking at everything."